Shocking by Elsa Schiaparelli
Bottle Design: Léonore Fini
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Shocking is a popular perfume by Elsa Schiaparelli for women and was released in 1937. The scent is floral-animal. The longevity is above-average. It is still in production.

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Perfumer

Jean Carles

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesAldehydes, Bergamot, Tarragon
Heart Notes Heart NotesHoney, Jasmine, Narcissus, Rose, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base NotesAmber, Carnation, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Civet

Ratings

Scent

8.4 (112 Ratings)

Longevity

8.9 (96 Ratings)

Sillage

8.0 (95 Ratings)

Bottle

7.7 (111 Ratings)
Submitted by DonVanVliet, last update on 13.04.2019
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Reviews

9.0 7.0 8.0 8.5/10
Serenissima

0 Reviews
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Serenissima
Serenissima
Greatly helpful Review    16
two great rivals of their time
They didn't like each other: Coco Chanel vs. Elsa Schiapparelli - the great war of fashion designers!
That's how the Yellow Press would head today.
And yet it is true: both women - each a successful "career woman" in their own right, were not green to each other.
It certainly sounds nice when Coco Chanel invited the competitor Elsa Schiaparelli to dinner. But since the chair was painted with fresh white paint before, which ruined Elsa's evening gown, this is really less nice - actually a very nasty prank!
All I'm saying is, "Women!"

Both lived in the Paris of the 20s and 30s. And you would think the city and the clientele would have been big enough to ensure both success and livelihood.
Especially because their creations did not or only rarely correspond to the taste of the customers of the others.
Here: Coco Chanel with her elegant, glamorous and classic designs; often quite amusing, like her own, almost boyish appearance.
And there: Elsa Schiapparelli, who dressed some Hollywood stars (e.g. Marlene Dietrich). Their fashion, on the other hand, was avangardistic, often exaggeratedly eccentric, unusual and yet fresh.

Contrary also the origin:
Coco - Gabrielle Bonheur Chasnel - from illegitimate birth, grew up in an orphanage.
The Roman Elsa Schiaparelli, on the other hand, spent her childhood in a Renaissance palace in a circle of intellectual families.
She married a Swiss count later; but the two separated again quite quickly.

Later she was forced to earn her living with her sweater models. Especially the famous little black one with a big white ribbon at the collar (knitted in the same way as the rest of the sweater) is of great interest.
For the first time in 1935 she presented her own collection in her new salon opposite the Parisian Ritz.
(In this hotel Coco Chanel was a permanent guest; initially because she had made her villa available free of charge to the family of her then lover Igor Stravinsky, whose upkeep she also paid for.)
Even then her creations were Elsa Schiaparellis explosions of fantasy and colour.
Now that she was friends with Salvador Dalì and Jean Cocteau, this is not surprising.
Even today her models can be admired in every exhibition; mostly in arts and crafts museums.

And so it is inevitable that in 1937, at the height of their fame, the perfume "Shocking" will delight women, not only in Europe. That scent was a true globetrotter.
Elsa likes in itself heavy and persistent scents that spectacular she does not repel - quite the opposite.
Therefore the bottle has the shape of a naked bust; the neck of the bottle is embraced by a centimeter and a gilded brooch with pink and white flowers represents its "headgear": just "Shocking"!

My memory of "Shocking" goes back to the beginning of the 70s: back then, a little more than a teenager, I started to be interested in more than the usual young girlish scents.
My mother had surprised me - more or less by chance - with known scents; now I wanted to discover them myself.
And I remember that I first liked "Shocking" at that time the packaging; at Woolworth in the "big shopping mall", on one of the corresponding tables, for, believe it or not, 19.95 DM!
at that time That an almost elf-like dainty young girl was completely overtaxed with this force of scent didn't interest me at all at that time.
We pronounced the name as it is written, but "Shocking": we knew and knew that and shocked: that's what we wanted!

"Shocking" is now really neither created for young girls nor for shy women!
The prelude by the radiant force of the aldehydes, paired with bergamot and - amazing, but really true! - Tarragon, arouses the interest.
A classic floral chord of rose, jasmine, narcissus (and I think I also perceive gardenia) joins and is completed by a creamy honey note and the ever-present glow of ylang-ylang.
Already so far it is not a fragrance composition for respectable "higher daughters"!
The warm and sensual notes of amber, civet and musk form a strong, slightly animalistic basis.
Patchouli and vetiver oil counteract this with fruitiness and a certain tingling sensation.
All this is rounded off by a strong nuance of carnation and equally aromatic sandalwood.
Shocking" really uses everything that would associate "Lieschen Müller" with a scandalous scent.
This is what makes this fragrance composition so unique, almost pompous - simply "shocking"!

After all here still another word about Sillage and durability to lose, is really superfluous.
Here, too, the highest expectations are met. Elsa Schiaparelli doesn't do half things here either.
(However, I can only speak of the vintage version of which I recently got some drops!)

Again and again I like to look at the first advertising poster: the lettering "Shocking" de Schiaparelli - elegantly and swinging spread over the page.
Here a girl dances, only with a red turban, a red ribbon around her neck and of course a red cloth around her hips, a wild round dance with a smiling little devil.
(And how the little guy grins!) Also the girl's lipstick is red, as is the ribbon that connects her to the little devil!
The "Shocking" bottle is cheekily peeping out of the cloth at the back, where it is tied.
This entertaining and cheerful poster would surely attract a lot of attention even today.
Even if here not some half-naked too thin "star of the day" is shown.

That my memory of "Shocking", of course refreshed by appropriate reading and these few drops of scent, is still so alive after almost fifty years, speaks for the tremendous impression that this force of scent nevertheless left on me young woman.
By the way, I soon switched to a "more age-appropriate" fragrance (I think it was "Blue Grass" by Elizabeth Arden).
As I recall, much to my mother's relief. Even then, she thought I was causing too much fuss.
It's a good thing she doesn't have to see me again today All we have to do is say "Shocking"!!!
9 Replies
8.0 9.0 9.5/10
ScentFan

325 Reviews
ScentFan
ScentFan
Very helpful Review    5
Vintage Naughtiness
The above-posted image of Can-Can dancers with their legs flung high couldn't be more descriptive of this scent. Even without seeing that, one whiff and it's clear why they named it Shocking. The honey and civet, amber, musk and bergamot in particular combine to create a scent normally only encountered between sheets in the bedroom WHILE making love. Fair enough. Men and woman are usually very different in this respect. Testosterone is the culprit in both cases. Men carry around 300-1000 ng/dl of it in their bloodstreams at all times. The female range? 15-70 ng/dl (explains a lot, huh?). However, once a month when females of our species ovulate, our testosterone level peaks, compelling us to seek fertilization of the precious egg. A good design, if you ask me. No doubt it's those few days for which Shocking was designed because any guy smelling this on a woman knows immediately that his services are required. Nothing wrong with a little help for mother nature. I have the 1937 vintage and in addition to being effective, it's captivatingly beautiful, due to subtly mesmerizing florals wafting up through the sultry stank. I'm wearing it. Too bad hubby's out of town.
4 Replies
Sorceress

211 Reviews
Sorceress
Sorceress
Helpful Review    3
Animalistic Perfume From Days Gone By
I recently came across a vintage sample of Shocking Schiaparelli by Elsa Schiaparelli, a fragrance developed in 1937. I have no idea what year my sample vial is from, but it is older. Here are my thoughts on Shocking.
Initially, I believed this to be a beautiful perfume. After wearing it for hours, I still believe it would be considered beautiful by some, but others would have a problem with a fragrance such as this. Let me explain. It’s thick, rich and grand without a doubt. Civet comes to the forefront with a heavy dose of musk.
Skanky? Yes. Shocking? Nah. Just in the sense of smelling of well, not necessarily sexy, but sexed. And there is a difference in those words. Some use the word “naughty” in their description, but that just sounds so tame to me. Shocking is an animalistic perfume that serves its purpose for certain occasions and those personalities that can pull it off.
It’s strong, a little goes a long way. I can only imagine how too much would clear a room. This is a perfume that needs to only be dabbed. It’s not an office perfume.
Shocking continues on a linear road for me, never really riding any waves or changing mid-course. I can see its’ appeal for vintage lovers and it’s a definite try for history perfume buffs. I’m happy for the opportunity to have sampled this perfume.
1 Replies
10.0 9.0/10
Digindirt

47 Reviews
Digindirt
Digindirt
Helpful Review    6
Power and Elegance
Strong just the way I like it, tested from a vintage mini I obtained in a swap. Gorgeous right from the beginning. I believe it's the warm honey that is making me love this but it could also be the soft jasmine. I don't really smell spice but this fragrance is warm and floral, not fruity to my nose. The Amber and Sandalwood makes it all buttery smooth but this fragrance has a bite to it. This fragrance should be worn by a "lady" with the confidence to show the world who's the boss!
8.0/10
Coutureguru

223 Reviews
Coutureguru
Coutureguru
Very helpful Review    10
Timeless
For a fragrance released in 1937, Elsa Shiaparelli's Shocking is surprisingly 'nouveau' to my nose, but definitely brings with it all of that 'Golden Years' charm and grace.
One could imagine the Baroness in The Sound of Music wearing this ... it's beauty is regal!

The use of a heavy Civet note often dates a fragrance (Patou's Joy and Desprez' Bal a Versailles immediately spring to mind) and if not carefully used illicits the response of "ugh, cat pee" from many a nose. Civet is, however, used very successfully in combination with my favorite floral note Tuberose ... imho at least :). I can't see it's exclusion, for example, from something like Versace's Blonde doing that fragrance any favors.
In Shocking, the Civet is beautifully toned by the addition of Honey creating a gorgeous platform for the florals to intermingle and project. If I had to describe Shocking in a single word it would be 'smooth'. The Aldehydes sparkle all the way through this beauty, doing their job of lifting and invigorating. It's a prime example of the art of superlative blending! None of the notes here gets a chance at being in the spotlight ... rather they all swirl together creating the effect of a piece of olfactory silk, rippling in the breeze. This is definitely something that all parfumistas should have in their collections ... even just a 1ml sample to refer to every now and then. Not for the meek and mild ... if your preference leans toward lighter frags avoid this one completely. This fragrance demands confidence from it's wearer and will reward with heaps of attention!

Shocking is undeniably glamorous ... as at home in the glittering salons of pre WW2 Vienna as it would be at an Oscar's Ball in 2012.
5 Replies
10.0 10.0 10.0 9.0/10
LadyRogue

166 Reviews
LadyRogue
LadyRogue
Helpful Review    5
Heavy Lover
It's Shocking how much I adore this perfume! It's like a lover that your mother warns you of "he's trouble!". Of course the more trouble she makes him out to be, the more you feel attracted to him. This perfume has that daring and so-over-the-top wonderful effect too.
It's a civet in a honey bomb! Now, don't walk away and be fooled by "too sweet" "too animalistic". No, no, no! It's all part of this perfumes plan to shock you! And when you dare to come closer, you'll fall for it! I guarantee that if you get acquainted with this smell, you won't listen anymore to your mother telling you it's Shocking. No, you'll be too busy enjoying the reward of the florals that hide deep within its powdery embrace. However! This perfume is not for everyone! It's a strong character and needs a woman that won't be afraid of it. Are you ready to be Shocked? ; )

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