How to pick the right perfume for mum this Mother’s Day

Whether she’s a “spontaneously elegant woman” or subscribes to “feminine rock-chic”, there’s a fancy, expensive designer perfume for every mum. 

I don’t know about people who stay strong in the face of Mother’s Day marketing hype. It’s a bit weirdly zen to me; borderline sociopathic, maybe. We all know the day is just a trick to make us spend money on things we don’t need at the arse end of the retail year, but also – mums. Who among us is brave enough to risk offending Mum? To say you couldn’t be bothered stopping in at Postie Plus for a pair of gift-wrapped slipper socks on the way to Sunday lunch, which she made by the way? Not many, if any.

Wine, chocolates, that blue Kowtow t-shirt that’s exactly like the grey one I already have (my kids better be reading this) – the options are good and plentiful if you know your mum well. Which you do because chances are, you were literally inside her for the better part of a year that she will never get back, so no excuses.

But what does your mum really need? Five minutes to herself? Somebody else making dinner for a change? Respect for her undervalued role in a deeply patriarchal society? Those are all off the table, of course. So let’s get to her next most pressing need – designer perfume.

Buying fragrance for another person is deeply personal and hella risky. Mums are so different and there are so many choices to be made. Is your mum a prismatic jasmine top note lady? Or is she suffering from a bit of an addictive amber depth in her white blossom core? Apparently, these are not just random words stuck together to look like English but real ‘parfum’ questions that must be answered in order to match the right scent to the right mother.

Come with me now as I help you decide who your mum really is and what your mum really needs in a bottle that will cost the same as a one-way ticket to Phuket. I’ll do this by using nothing but that most trustworthy of guides – the official marketing blurbs.

Guerlain: La Petite Robe Noir Black Perfecto

Draped in leather, the rose is glorified and each of its facets given full expression. Grasse rose water and rose essence beautify a delicate absolute of rose centifolia at the heart of the composition. Leather and studs lend the finishing touch to this feminine, rock-chic style.”

Who doesn’t want to drape their roses in leather? I can’t believe Guerlain stole my girl band name, I’m not sure about the grassy waters and I’m absolutely sure half of this description is total bullshit. But if your mum likes getting on the house chardy and dancing on the table with her mates when Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ comes on, then go for it. Or if your mum is Hannah Tamaki. 

Gucci: Guilty Pour Femme

“Created for a woman who is completely free.”

What? Who’s this bitch that’s managed to be a mum and be completely free? Find out who she is and make her give up her secret for the good of motherkind.

The name for this perfume means it is right for any mum: guilty, the ultimate eau de parentfum. Every time a mum wears it she can remind herself how much her kids miss her when she’s at work, how much their brains are shrivelled when she stays at home, and how they have too much screen time and won’t eat mung beans and avocado mousse like Briony’s kids, which is definitely her fault for not giving up cheese during pregnancy and that time she ate their Kinder Surprise but blamed it on the chocolate burglar. She’ll waft in a persistent cloud of regret and anxiety, 24/7 – a scent for every mama.

Is she “guilty”, “draped in leather”, or in touch with her “pink side”?

Armani: Si Fiori

“Understated yet bold, the new EAU DE PARFUM SI FIORI offers a floral and balanced fragrance for the spontaneously elegant woman.”

Whoa, no need to shout at me, Armani. I get it, your perfume is ah-MAZING. But riddle me this, reader: what (or who) is a spontaneously elegant woman? Is it like when you just suddenly, without warning, wear matching bra and undies? Is it like spontaneous combustion, but instead of turning into a pile of ash you make a wet fart noise and ta-da, you become that scary Vogue editor with the fringe that’s always perfectly straight? Do you get a cashmere sweater grafted onto you surgically but also very spontaneously? Whatever, sign me up. I’ve always wanted a perfectly straight fringe.

Emporio Armani: In Love With You

“An uncommon women’s perfume is a contemporary and passionate blend of raw materials…..the simplicity creates a deep sensuality, rounded forms and curves recall feminine hips, unveiling the density of fine art. Forming the union between the feminine and masculine bottles, rings on the round metal cap adds to the pair’s understated elegance. Underneath it, double rings join together and interlock like interlacing bodies, a symbol of connection and of unconditional love. Benefits: An audacious intensity of a liquorous black cherry on top.

For those still reading, OMG! Phew! Intense! I think Emporio Armani has hired E.L. James to do their copywriting. If your mommy dearest is totally into highbrow but confusing porn, we’ve definitely found her cheeky fragrance. 

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Lancome: La Vie Est Belle en Rose

“La Vie Est Belle en Rose invites you to look at things differently, to regard life through the power of positive emotions. Like a filter of optimism on life, an invitation to always see the brighter side of life, its pink side, and to cultivate happiness through all its forms. The First Addictive Peony.”

Ok. What I’m getting here is that La Vie Est Belle en Rose is good for that nun from The Sound of Music, Suzy Cato, and the Briscoes lady. If your mum says things like ‘we could all get along if we really tried’ or that racist Uncle Derek has ‘a good heart really’ (or if she’s clearly on some kind of doctor prescribed Addictive Peony already) this is her scent. 

Karen Walker: Runaway Azure

“Karen Walker’s latest fragrance seeks out an escape to an exotic, chartered atoll where the sea is a perfect shade of aquamarine and the air is warm and rich, redolent with luscious kumquat, sun ripened driftwood and jungle vanilla.”

If your mama dropped hints about going on a tropical holiday for the last twenty years but for some reason your family always ended up at Waterworld in Hamilton, she needs this perfume. Badly.


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