Creed has a great story, albeit a story that's perhaps more myth than truth. I've read many pieces arguing that Creed doesn't have a centuries-long history, that the company really only goes back to the 1960s or 70s. In the end, it's difficult to know which narrative is real and which one is no more solid than a mist of scented air.
That said, here's some of the publicity copy regarding the Creed dynasty, taken directly from the brand's website:
Over-the-top? Yes. Charming? That too. And the bottles are embossed with gilded insignias that only seem to underscore the brand's high stature in the world of perfumes. And, although Creed is no longer my favorite brand, spraying those perfumes certainly made me feel like royalty when I first began wearing them.
I can't remember which scent my father selected for my mother's birthday, but I bought a bottle of Creed's Spring Flowers as my first bottle. Here's the coy publicity copy for Spring Flowers (can you guess the celebrity?):
Celebrate the exuberance of new romance with CREED Spring Flower, a fresh, floral fragrance of pure femininity from the House of CREED. CREED made Spring Flower as the signature scent of a silver screen legend, fashion icon and renowned humanitarian. The scent was released to the public many years later.
Again, I have no idea if Audrey Hepburn ever wore Spring Flowers. It's a perfume that many experts find insignificant or generic; I never said my taste in perfume was particularly refined or esoteric. All I can say is that for the first three years of my job as a tenure-track professor this was the only perfume I wore. It made me feel like a beautiful, elegant grown-up, even if the opening notes are a girly picture of peaches and apples and melon. I now realize that it was the price of Creed that made me feel more like an adult, while the scent inside the pink bottle remained the aroma of a very young girl.
Would I still like Spring Flowers today? I'm not sure. But, now that I think about it, maybe I should pay another visit to the Creed counter, just to re-sniff a couple of scents...
I knew immediately that the poem to pair with Spring Flowers is a marvelous piece in quatrains, Geraldine Connolly's "The Summer I Was Sixteen." This is a poem about young girls practicing the gestures, the bodies of women. When I teach this poem to first-year students, many of whom were sixteen-years-old only a year or two before, I like them to focus on the moments in the poem where we feel the small threats of danger. As any horror movie tells us, adolescence and that movement into adulthood is a perilous time, especially for females. There is sweetness in this poem, but it is the kind that can drown bees. The young girls are kept safe from the outside world, but only through the perforated protection of a chain link fence.
If there's one reason I've stopped wearing Spring Flowers it is that perfume lacks the drowned bees and the chain link fence of the poem. The scent is all sweet without even the smallest threat of danger. Every delicious thing needs a drop of darkness.
The Summer I Was Sixteen
by Geraldine Connolly
The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.
Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,
danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl".
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled
cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,
shared on benches beneath summer shadows.
Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille
blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,
mouthing the old words, then loosened
thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine
across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance
through the chain link at an improbable world.