Monthly Archives: December 2014

Wearing Vintage

Opium advert

Opium advert

A disclaimer here, I’ve always worn vintage clothes.  I did stop after the age of forty, but in my twenties I never wore anything more recent than the fifties-why?  Contemporary stuff was much less chic. So my take on old perfume tends to follow the same pattern, if it works why not wear it? Perfumes are not antiques, you can use them.  The question is where and how?  Some old perfumes have become cliches and everyone knows what you are wearing or thinks that they do- which can be worse Continue reading

Forbidden Fur

When i have a little Girl by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Hilary Knight

When i have a little Girl by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Hilary Knight

You don’t see too many fur coats on the streets in New York these days.  I have to say I’m glad having always been happier with fur on the original animal than on humans, but I’m not quite of the same mind on the subject of animalic notes in perfume.

They seem to be making something of a comeback in the world of niche and natural perfumes and I’m happy about this development.  Some of the newer animalic ingredients are not cruel- ones derived from goat hair for instance or sea shells, or are botanicals like angelica, cumin or helichrysum which smell furry or musky but are actually plant derived. Continue reading

A Warm Island in Winter: Bois des Iles

Vogue Cover from the 20s

Vogue Cover from the 20s

Chanels are challenging perfumes for me.  Not many people share my  prejudice, Chanel is one of the top selling brands in the world, but if I had to choose a Chanel I would take their cologne and Bois des Iles.  It’s not as though a whole lot of thought would have to go into this selection.  You are either one of those people who love No5 or you aren’t, you have to be a lady to wear No19, by which I mean a woman who knows how to say no gracefully. (If you can never say no I suspect No19 will not suit you)

Bois des Iles is far more easy going though.  Being one of those people who in Henry James’ phrase try to take things easy rather than hard, I appreciate this quality. Continue reading

Sandalwood Sisterhood

narniaOf course, it was obvious all along, but I never saw it.  Call it one of those annoying instances when your subconscious mind realized something from the get-go but chose not to share it with your waking consciousness.  Very irritating, very sneaky, very left brain of it, but then, as it is the left brain, very typical as well.

The apercu in this case is that the great classic  Chanel Bois des Iles is of course, a do-over of Caron’s Nuit de Noel.

Oh yeah! Right?  You always knew that. We always knew it, but critical opinion had a way of making us think that the two things were poles apart and probably at opposite ends of the good taste spectrum – well, not so much. Continue reading

All in the Execution Afterall?

L'Heure Bleue Advert

L’Heure Bleue Advert

As I was going through the usual blizzard of new releases this season, something struck me: no one perfects perfume anymore.  I know perfectly well that there are art directors at Amouage and Guerlain and Chanel and so on, but because the business model of perfumes has become the model of planned obselescense, with buyers most interested in the novelties (little suspecting that the novelties are often oldelties) you get a paradox, an ocean of novelty, mostly already passe. Continue reading

Perfumes for a Nutcracker

The NYC Ballet Nutcracker

The NYC Ballet Nutcracker

Or a sugar plum fairy for that matter; you can take your pick. The ballet’s been a Christmas tradition in the greater NYC area for ages, and it’s hard to run into young girls who haven’t been dragged to the The Nutcracker along with reluctant fathers and brothers.

The Hub was kinder than most of the former and subsidized a trip tothe theater. I remember taking my daughter and my pint sized nephew to  see the ballet in Stamford one year.  Nephew complete with miniature necktie and daughter in a frilly skirt. She was three.  Surprisingly they both had a good time and came away clutching small nutcrackers in their sticky fingers. Continue reading

Christmas in New York

New York at Christmas from Essential NY

New York at Christmas from Essential NY

People who follow the goings on at Guerlain may have noticed the discontinuation of their Voyage Olfactif Series, the one that included Tokyo, Moscow, London, New York and Shanghai.  Presumably they did not sell too well and that probably explains their demise. I did like the idea which seemed to be a light edt concentration very wearable in daytime. They had a clever concept too which was to combine a distinctive smell of each city with an indigenous food fragrance.  Tokyo- which I own- smells of cherry blossoms and green tea with a little cypress wood thrown in- no wasabi here. London smells of hard candies and rhubarb, Moscow is sweet with plums and jasmine.  One of the series was Christmas themed though:New York.  Continue reading

Paperwhite Pollution

Pperwhites in bloom  from farmingtongardensblog

Pperwhites in bloom
from farmingtongardensblog

You’ve probably done this too, perpetrated the scent of paperwhites on your near and dear because you saw one of the adorable little kits at the home center with the dehydrated peat moss disk hiding underneath a plastic pot, or else you bought the little white gravel packet and glass vase hoping to observe the snaking progress of paperwhite roots around the stones.  This dear readers is how paperwhite pollution starts, but this particular air quality issue does not end there. Continue reading

Christmas Perfumes

Roses in frost

Roses in frost

It’s one of the very first things that I do every December: change perfume.  Christmas is one of the best times for perfume, there are so many smells on the air anyhow that perfume only raises the resonance of the season  a little.

That however is the easy part, the hard part is deciding what you  feel is worthy of wearing for a month or so.  That’s not so simple.  I suppose I could do the sensible thing and simply wait for Spring to change my perfume, but I like to have something that is Christmasy on my wrist, and so get into this difficulty right on schedule every December 1st. Continue reading