Angel is the first perfume of the fashion house Thierry Mugler and appeared in 1992. Although it was not an instant hit, it became so popular and a bestseller few years later that it can be perceived as a symbol of an era. The lession perfume house never learned – considering that nowadays perfume has only a few months, a year top to prove themselves on the market, while in Angel’s case, Clarins and Thierry Mugler invested for years in its promotion before it became a commercial success. To say it was worth their time is an understatement. Angel was (and is) highly polarizing perfume, you either love it or hate it. Those who love it, adore it and have it always. Those who hate it cannot escape it as it is everywhere. Wherever they turn, someone smells on Angel. It also doesn’t help them that the perfume has an incredible performance and its aura and sillage outlive the person wearing it. Pardon my dark humor, but I believe I am entitled to be as I love Angel.
In order to understand Angel and its success, we must understand the time it came from. Mass expansion and explosion of stars and starlets on TV shows, movie screen, pop music were like glitter bomb all over America. The world was living Andy Warhol’s philosophy that everyone is entitled to 5 minutes of fame. Everyone wanted their bit of stardust. And Angel, in an olfactory sense, provided that.
Angel was the go-to perfume for every girl and woman who wanted to be the diva on Saturday night. Supermodels were in fashion and Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbel and Cindy Crawford were role models of beauty and attractiveness. Every nightclub smelled of Angel and Smirnoff vodka. Women had no time to waste, they had to be noticed by midnight, just like Cinderella and Angel with its combination of fruit, sweets and patchouli guaranteed that to them. But it wasn’t only the ladies who fell for Angel’s pop aesthetics. With ladies who smelled like fruit punch, men turned info fruit flies buzzing from fruit to fruit and hoping to land on one. After a wild night that erased the trail of ordinary, prosaic inertness of everyday life, the scent trail of Angel remained as well as few things you couldn’t get rid of: smudged mascara and a stranger in your bed from the night before. Angel headache was inevitable (haters will agree) one way or another. But it is worth it, those who love it will say.
Perfume composition of Thierry Mugler’s Angel is one of the most unusual ever, not only because it has a mega dose of ethyl maltol – that famous cotton candy note now everpresent in female commercial perfumes. No, Angel has everything, crammed to the point it will burst, but it all works. The fruit note of black currant (neocaspiren) was inspired by the sweet, dark liqueur Crème de cassis from Burgundy and it was the pride and joy of Givaudan. It became the foundation of the fruit part of the perfume contrasted with the floral notes of jasmine (hedione) and woody, masculine patchouli that harmonized and calmed the sweet, opulent top and middle notes of the perfume. When a person wearing Angel passes you by you have the need to paraphrase Superman comic: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? and ask yourself: Is it gourmand? Sweet? Floral? Oriental? The answer to all those questions is a sound YES, because Angel is all of those things. Angel managed to keep them all together for a perversely long time. It’s a witch spin – once you enter you never leave.
Angel made it, justifiably, to the FiFi Hall of Fame list in 2007. It inspired hundreds, if not thousands of perfume creations and began an entire genre in the perfume industry. Many popular perfumes today can be called Angel’ children. Among them are Lolita Lempicka, Victor&Rolf Flowerbomb, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Prada Candy, Lancome La Vie est Belle and many others. Caramel, cotton candy and sweet fruit dominate today’s perfume scene and millions of people swear by gourmand perfumes but not many know they wouldn’t even exist if there wasn’t Thierry Mugler. Even though he retired from the fashion and perfume world, what he did with Angel transcend time and perfume lovers should thank him because Angel did what Chanel no 5 and Shalimar did at the beginning. Diorissimo in the middle and YSL Opium at the end of XX century: opened up an entirely new world of olfactory experiences. Thank you for that![Fragrance notes] top notes: bergamot, tangerine, black currant; middle notes: caramel, chocolate, jasmine; base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, musk, vanilla. [Fragrance group] oriental vanilla. [Fragrance profile] 90% extrovert, 10% introvert, 30% rational, 70% emotional
Perfume creators are Olivier Cresp and Yves de Chiris.