The Party Perfume

Girl and Champagne Glass from PInterest.com

Girl and Champagne Glass from PInterest.com

This depends on the age of the party.  If the party is young the scent is likely to be something like Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel (which is a local favorite and probably a strong seasonal seller for them) and the slightly more upscale Philosophy Pink Frosted Animal Cracker (also a sellout at our local Ulta).  If you are a teenager these days you like to smell of cookies and desserts. What should they wear?  Alarms to let parents know when to pick them up!! This is what parties are about:Food.

If you are in your twenties I suspect the smell of pot is the smell of a party.  This explains the wide dissemination of Hemp based products and of indie favs like Kinski or Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s more straightforward Rocky Mountain High or I Love You Mary Jane.  Basically, you don’t have to be the ersatz lawyer from Suits to be looking around for your next buzz. What do they wear?  The ominous ambery wood of Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black which goes well with weed I’d guess. If you want to party you want to smoke…er vape I mean. This is what the party is about: giggling and noshing and you know. 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

Mothers, Daughters, and Perfume

Mary_Cassatt_Young_Mother_Sewing Everyone has one of these stories, either concerning what you remember your Mother wearing, or else what your Mimaw wore, but either way, their choices influence yours.  It’s inevitable.  Some mothers never wear perfume, and their daughters react against the austerity; others had mothers who over-spritzed, and a lifetime of no scent can be the result.

However the nicest tradition perhaps, is the generational carry over of a perfume: the mother who always wore Joy, and so the daughter does as well, for instance.  It’s lovely, but seldom seems to happen.  People often want to distance themselves from what their mothers wore, more than they want to reprise them. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when remembering does take on some importance. Continue reading

What Becomes a Legend? What Does a Legend Become?

I have been reading about Wallis Warfield Simpson, aka the Duchess of Windsor.  She has become the strangest mosaic of pariah and icon that I can think of.  The resulting likeness, assembled over decades, resembles a Chuck Close portrait with an unsettling chiaroscuro; enigmatic, despite being composed of photographs, documentary evidence after all.

Less plausible as a queen than Camilla Parker Bowles (does anyone think of the one time Mrs. Parker Bowles as Mrs. Windsor, by-the-by?) and the transferee of enormous sums from the Brit royal family to herself (in one three weeks period,  jewels totalling 110,000  pre-war British pounds ) and the occupier of a position on the International Best Dressed list.

By any estimate, one of the most successful gold diggers in history. Continue reading

Joy in the Morning, M. Kerleo in the Afternoon

M. Kerleo’s career was spent behind a curtain, choreographing some of the finest prestidigitation of French perfumery.  He was the man in the booth at Jean Patou for some thirty two years and in that time he not only kept Joy at its ebullient best, but also created the enigmatic 1000, the satiny Sublime, and what many consider among the best masculines ever created, Patou Pour Homme.

These are only the best known of his works.  He also orchestrated a revival of the most famous Patou scents for the Ma Collection series in the 1980′s including the green floral Caline, and the much praised gourmand/chypre Que Sais Je.  He did Ma Liberte in 1987, and Eau de Patou, Voyageur, also Patou Forever.  He composed a number of scents for Lacoste, including Land, and the first perfume for Yohji Yamamoto, simply called Yohji. He won the Prix des Parfumeurs in 1965, and the Prix Francois Coty in 2001. He is still the honorary president of the Society of French Perfumers, and the founder of the museum of historically significant perfumes, the Osmotheque in Versailles. It’s quite some record, you must admit. Continue reading

(Rose 13) – Roses, Take a Bow!

Since there have been a dozen rose posts, this might a good time to take a breather,  go back, and re-cap.

For all the complaining that perfume consumers do about the industry these days, one thing is inescapably true: there’s more variety.  Once upon a distant time, Perfumer’s Workshop produced Tea Rose and Houbigant sold A Rose is a Rose.

That was about it in 1976.  Now you have entire lines devoted to the flower in all its variations.  Les Parfums de Rosine is one such house, and besides its twenty or so perfumes, there’s a slew of mainstream releases popular with the public such as Stella, or Valentino’s Rockin’ Rose.

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(Rose 8) – Parisian Roses: Voulez Vous Couchez Avec Moi?

Parisian fashion loves to impose structure and absurdity on beauty in about equal parts.  Don’t ask me why.

Oh well, go ahead. Ask me why.

Maybe it’s the French love of logic that requires the structure, and possibly the fondness they have for the offbeat that imposes the absurdity, cf Frenchie Bulldogs, the whole concept of the Jolie Laide, and Jerry Lewis.

The cumulative effect is at once mannered and a little strange, and so it is with that most Parisian of florals, the rose bouquet.  To be French the bouquets must be extravagant in their rosiness, but to be chic, they must impose just a little peculiarity on their inhalers.  Continue reading

(Rose 6) – The Reddest Red Ever

Is certainly blood, in whatever form, followed by certain flowers. While living in Vermont, I once grew a hybrid tea called Precious Platinum that, despite the name, was anything but silver.  Platinum was a saturated scarlet, so intensely red that a local boy stopped by the garden one day and successfully petitioned for a rose to take to his girl with whom he’d had a fight.

I never heard if they made it up, but he couldn’t have found a redder rose if he’d trekked from one end of the state to the other.  That rose, that particular rose, was the epitome of redness.

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Fixing a Hole

Back when Guts and I were first married, I got to have one of the things I wanted most: a garden.  We had a ramshackle old house in a small Vermont town, and although the house was really no bargain, and the lot sloped off to a river bank fully forty feet below, we got two wonderful benefits: a view down to a fast moving creek, and remarkably fertile soil because some of the preceding owners had kept chickens.

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