Entering The Red Door Again
Going back again to the 80's perfume era, which is something I love doing, it's impossible not to stop and revisit Elizabeth Arden's Red Door. Even if I don't have a personal memory attached to it, I think many people do, and that's why I think many older fragrances are so significant. They might not be trendy anymore, but they mean something to many people, and that meaning depends on each person and each nose. Anyway, to me, smelling today Red Door (I think I had smelled it only a couple times before) is an interesting experience because it's something you don't smell on anyone these days, and therefore, it's almost a novelty again, even if it comes with so many of the elements that are typical of the American fragrances of that time.
I got what I think is the latest version, for a very low price. On the back of the box it says: “Elegant new look, same classic scent.” And so I decided to trust the statement, even though I think it has been changed. Or at least the first time I smelled it, it seemed richer to me. I loved the original bottle, and to be honest, the new one looks less charismatic. But still, it's good that some classics are still around, isn't it? By the way, it's also easy and cheap to buy an even older Arden fragrance called Blue Grass, which is a cute floral aldehyde, but I'll leave that for another time.
Red Door is famously an homage to the doors of the Elizabeth Arden beauty salons. This homage was composed by perfumer Carlos Benaim and launched in 1989, twenty three years after the passing of Elizabeth Arden. It's a very intense, opulent and thick scent, a floral-patchouli where honey created the twist that defines its signature and personality, blurring the otherwise classic chypre structure. There is a semi-aldehydic entrance to this floral explosion, where white blossoms dominate and tuberose is not devoid of guilt here, for it might be responsible for such loudness. But there's also a lipstick sensation, a greasy rose, thick and oily. Indeed, red lipstick was a symbol of feminism for Arden and something that women started arming themselves with in order to fight for their rights. Being related to the iconic beauty salons, and paying tribute to a woman who spread the use of red lipstick, it's logical that Red Door has that cosmetic and makeup smell element to it.
But yes, Red Door seems like a weapon. It's THAT strong. I've been told I wear very strong perfumes, but Red Door is too much for me, or at least in the first hour. Well, who can blame it? It had to compete with the bombastic Poison, after all. But Red Door changes: after the overwhelming, stuffy, choking first stage, it then settles and harmonizes better. But of course, that honey-patchouli combo is always a tough accord to deal with. This reminds me of the same combo used in Giorgio Beverly Hills For Men. In fact the floral part also recalls Giorgio Beverly Hills For Her, so this might have been (and it would make sense if it were) inspired by these two powerhouses and American bestsellers of the shoulder pad decade.
Summer must be the least appropriate time of the year to try Red Door, so I think I will save this bottle for the winter, when I think it can reveal all of its glamour and opulence in a totally different way. For the moment, I think it's not something I would wear, but who knows, it might be heaven on a cold winter evening.
Miguel Matos Editor, Writer, Translator
Miguel has been a Fragrantica editor and columnist since 2013, and his work has been recognized by the Fragrance Foundation and the Perfumed Plume Awards several times, as well as by the Art and Olfaction Awards in 2019. He has a list of olfactory art exhibitions, including Making the Body Think, in Los Angeles, at the Institute for Art and Olfaction. He wrote the book "The Perfumed Zodiac" (in Portuguese) and launched his own line of fragrances, Miguel Matos Olfactory Art. His perfumer portfolio includes fragrances made for Bruno Acampora, Calaj, Der Duft, Horai Studio, Nishane and Sarah Baker.
Write your comment: Entering The Red Door Again
Fragrance Reviews: 1099533
Perfume lovers: 653783
Online right now: 2318
Eau de Fraicheur by alphairone
Viking by Martin__
Ivory Route by Chesco
Cloud by Loving Awareness
Eden by melanie mother or foxes
Cuir Noir by catgotnose
Shadha by Gemsense
Beau De Jour Eau de Parfum by Dvntex_
Legesi Femme by Noelanii
Mimosa Gold by christianne1
Prada Candy by Lumoava
Telegrama by NDStars
Olympéa by anitacska
Majestic Aoud by Ilikechypresiguess
Elevator Music by liuyangmeizi
Fragrantica in your language:
| Deutsch | Español | Français | Italiano | Русский | Polski | Português | Ελληνικά | 汉语 | Nederlands | Srpski | Română | العربية | Українська | Монгол | עברית | Luxois Watches | Beauty Almanac |
Fragrantica® Inc, San Diego, CA United States