Monday, April 7, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion : Spring and Summer Weddings (part 1, Guests)

Without a doubt, as the weather gets better and better, we are entering wedding season again. Couples do tend to choose to hold their wedding either in spring or summer, perhaps due to the fact that the weather matches their high sprits, allows for wonderful outdoor parties, eliminates worries about blue-soled Loubutins getting ruined in rain or snow and ensures the strapless wedding gowns that have been the height of wedding fashion for the last five years or so can actually be worn without fear of catching a cold. (Lovely as the aforementioned strapless gowns might be, I’ll have to add that the most magnificent wedding dress I have personally seen was a winter gown, with matching white fur stole and hat) In my native Greece, summer weddings mean a collective private moan from the entire guest list as they realize holidays will have to be cut short in order to return to the city for the occasion, just so they can boil in the sweltering environ of a fully candlelit orthodox church while it is 45 degrees Celsius outside. Silk dresses get ruined with sweat stains. Men curse the inventor of the tie. Hats wilt. Everyone pretends to be delighted. But enough about Greece; thankfully, in most other parts of the world temperatures do not tend to reach inferno-like scales once May comes around. Thankfully, in most other parts of the world, spring and summer weddings are actually very pleasant affairs and what’s more, they are also a chance to wear that beautiful frock that’s simply too formal for any other occasion. Perhaps that hat too. Or maybe a parasol? But the burning question for this month’s PFTO is, of course, what perfume to wear with said frock! Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume do their best to provide potential wedding guests with some guidelines and suggestions this month, while in next month’s feature we tackle the much more difficult question of what the bride and groom should wear. Don’t forget, these are suggestions for spring and summer. Hopefully come winter we’ll tackle cool weather weddings as well.

Your goal as the guest is to smell as delightful as you no doubt look. In my opinion, you will do well choosing a perfume for yourself if you keep the following guidelines in mind: Think happy and exuberant – you want your perfume to match the feel and atmosphere of the occasion and this is a happy event. If overly happy scents are not really you, go for something classy, chic and understated – the occasion definitely calls for that type of scent too. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, do not upstage the bride and groom; Don’t call attention to yourself and distract other guests from the main event with a loud, overly seductive or otherwise controversial scent. I personally have consciously refrained from choosing niche or hard to find perfumes and have instead gone for rather ubiquitous, main-stream scents, for the simple reason that this is a post that can serve as a reference not only for regulars, but also for the passing reader that has landed on this page through a search engine looking for this particular topic. I wanted the suggestions to be accessible to all, die-hard perfumistas or otherwise. Now, on to the suggestions, broken down in sections for the ladies, gents and unisex!

· For the Ladies:

Eternity by Calvin Klein:
According to Osmoz, Klein designed this perfume, meant to symbolize fidelity, as a tribute to his marriage. And truly, what an excellent choice of a main note for such a scent: Carnation, a symbol of passionate love and of course, Fragrance Bouquet’s favorite. Don’t let the mention of carnation scare you though, this is indeed a very light, summery rendition of the magnificent floral note (perhaps the only light, summery rendition I know of as a matter of fact) and it will definitely be more than suitable for warm weather. Lightly spicy yet at the same time utterly clean, as well as happy and romantic in feel, this is as perfectly proper and feminine as you can come as a guest.

Infusion d’Iris by Prada:
I’ll admit, I’ve grown extremely bored with all the iris releases this past year. Yet, even though I’ve become exceedingly tired with this trend and I am subsequently starting to dismiss every new perfume that features the note as a main theme, Prada’s Infusion d’Iris remains a shining gem to me. This might not be a happy and exuberant scent, but it is easily part of the second category mentioned earlier: classy and understated. Soft, buttery Iris, with just enough bite to keep things interesting, Infusion d’Iris is ethereal and spring-like. It lasts forever (just like the mariage should) but is discreet (just as the guest should be). As an added bonus, everyone whom you kiss or dance with will want to linger just a little bit longer in your arms. This is the biggest crowd pleaser I’ve come across this year. Absolutely lovely.

Burberry Brit by Burberry:
Now we’re talking really happy. You know I love Burberry fragrances (although as a side note, I have to say that I found the new Beat quite disappointing) and this is no exception. For a fruity-floral that’s nowhere near generic, one has to look no further than Brit. The notes tend to do a lovely, curious dance on the skin, with pear and lime playing peek-a-boo with peony and almond, in a “now you smell me – now you don’t” fashion. It is a fascinating perfume, ultra cheerful and sensuous to boot, with its gourmand undertones. Pick this one if you are looking forward to the after-party already.

No. 19 by Chanel:
Smelling No. 19 right after Infusion d’Iris feels almost like a lesson... Both fragrances put the focus on the iris, yet they couldn’t be more different. While Prada’s iris is gentle and giving, like an embrace, No. 19 is austere, reserved and magnificently dry. As the floral notes bloom on the skin, the effect becomes slightly sweeter and becomes a signature to chic and fabulous. This green floral will provide much needed freshness and solace when worn in very warm weather, and is thus highly recommended for weddings that take place in July and August.

· For the Gents:
Eau Sauvage by Dior:
No man can go wrong with Eau Sauvage, which is ironic, because the man who wears Eau Sauvage smells like the man who is always appropriate, always a gentleman, never out of place, always, always, enviously perfect. (Unless the situation calls for him to be naughty rather than perfect, but again, that would be appropriate of him considering the situation, wouldn’t it?) And you’ve got to admit, that man is very rare, if he indeed exists at all. No matter, perfume is not only about enhancement, it is also about illusion, and Eau Sauvage will provide that illusion of unsurpassable elegance every time, without fail. This is a masterpiece.

Allure Homme by Chanel:
This fabulous male fragrance is one of a rare breed of scents that manage to make a big impact without being overbearing. Despite its strong character and longevity, this is not, as you might think, a sillage monster. Quite the contrary: Allure Homme is only felt when one comes close enough to talk to you at a crowded party, or leans in for an embrace. And that makes its impact all the more meaningful, because Allure Homme is very sensual indeed. Having said that, it is also a scent that goes great with a suit and polished appearance, making it appropriate in more ways than one. In my eyes, this is a scent that makes a well-groomed man sparkle.

Versace Man Eau Fraiche by Versace:
First of all, how gorgeous is this bottle? I can only describe the opening of this fragrance as an ode to rosemary, for it is a note rendered fabulously in this scent indeed. Along with citrus and starfruit, this makes for a powerfully refreshing recipe. As the top notes fade, we are left with the most delightful blend of woods, the star of which is cedar. Beautiful, fresh but not loud and vulgar, this is another contender for warmer weather weddings.

Aqua di Gio by Armani:
I’ve loved this from the first time I smelled it! A marine fragrance for men, very unlike all other marine scents you know. It is at once mouthwatering and fresh as well as zingy, musky and subtly sexy. When the going gets tough in the summer heat, this is the fragrance that can keep a semblance of freshness about your body. Highly recommended for the summer months.

· Unisex:

Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermes:
This scent is absolute perfection... Even if I was writing a full review of it, I am not sure I would want to break it down to individual notes... It just sings, nay, murmurs, much like the wind passing through the grasses and scented leaves of calamus along the riverbank. It is a peculiar scent, but once you love it, you love it intensely. I have actually started physically craving for this one when I need comfort. But why is it good for a spring or summer wedding you ask? Because it is ever so refreshing, because its soft flowery undertones are like a happy smile full of contentment similar to that of a cat sitting in a sunbeam and because its musky finish is heavenly and will carry well to the celebration after the ceremony.

Images: Greek-Orthodox wedding crowns,
Wedding “thank you” card, flickr
Wedding rings,
Versace Man Eau Fraiche,
Sweet Flag,


Jenavira13 said...

Divina you and I have the same taste in men's scents; hehe. Infusion d'Iris really is perfect, you know what goes perfectly with it? Bvlgari pour homme Soir, they share some similar notes, and have that wonderful elegance. Also Versace Man Eau Fraiche is the men's version of Light Blue to my nose.

Divina said...

Omg, Jen! I can't believe this! I was going to WRITE that Versace Man Eau Fraiche is the male counterpart of Light Blue!!! I can't believe this! You my scent twin or something? :) *does a little dance with you* I've got the insane (and rather uncool) urge to high-five you! *giggles*

Divina said...

PS: No idea why that sentence didn't make the post after all :P Probably cause it ended up being a huge post and I forgot a number of things I was going to write.. bleh :) But I am happy with it anyway.

Jenavira13 said...

hehe, there really is something wonderfully great about having a moment of agreement when it comes down to a fragrance. High-five you!

TMH256 said...

You girls are so cute!! Divina, I so admire your expertise when it comes to men's fragrance. I really should pay more attention to them! And you are so right! We have extremely similar views on weddings and what is appropriate for them. After all, we both chose a gorgeous floral, an iris and a green scent and Versace Man Eau Fraiche!! Amazing really. I also appreciate how you geared this piece so people of all interests and sensibilities can gain from it. I have a hard time shedding my "perfumista" status to recommend mainstream fragrances so kudos to you!! Have a fabulous day!!


Italian girl said...

Hi Divina and All,
Weddings, love them!!! I married before the huge strapless wedding dress trend, I dont think my church would even allow bare shoulders.. it is amazing that so many brides like them.. I think that they are kind of BORING, not to offend anyone. The sleeves were what made the dress in some cases... Anyway, I love the suggestions you gave and the ones that For the love of perfume gave, as well for perfume ideas....

Awhhhh. I was sad to hear you did not like Beat by Burberry.. I really like it when I first smelled it.. Of course, I did not have it on myself--so of course, I may not be too happy with it when I try it on.. You know my chemistry crushes many a good scent.. Sicily and Calyx just to mention two.. so,I would not be surprised to find that I kill The Beat..

Perfumeshrine said...

Slight correction: it's LOUboutins, not Lubutins.
The blue soles are supposedly so in order to provide the blue in "something borrowed, something blue" (nice touch, huh?)

I absolutely love how you capture the exact feelings of a guest in a wedding in Greece from May-onwards, LOL!!!!(although May is bad luck!! that only leaves September for a warm-weather wedding with any sane temperatures)

I have to say that Eternity is rather loud to my perception, though. I don't think of it as light (Oeillet Sauvage, now that's light). It's quite a sillage beast! (not that that's bad, only that it is sure to get noticed).
There is an interesting story behind the name: it was inspired by the eternity ring of Duchess of Windsor, Calvin bought in an auction for his wife. However it was "eternity" for the Edward and the Dutchess, but not for the Kleins who seperated....

Un Jardin sur le Nil is an excellent choice for any social encounter during the warm months (as is Eau Sauvage and Infusion d'Iris): I agree 100%.

PS. Was it Kouyas's bride (Vatidou) that you liked the wedding gown of? ;-)

Divina said...

Tamara darling, I was blown away with your piece too! You really outdid yourself. So entertaining and informative. One of my favorites ever! Kiss you!

Divina said...

Hi Giulia dearest! I've not considered getting married (yet) so I have not paid attention to too many gowns, I have to admit. My mother always jokes that the ONLY windows I don't stop for when shopping are wedding ateliers. Your comment was very intriguing and thought provoking "The sleeves were what made the dress in some cases...". Wish I could go through wedding gown pictures with you and discuss. I love fashion design and you have piqued my curiosity with this comment.

Divina said...

Hey Helg, thanks for the spelling correction. I've had the fever and flu all weekend so I am actually surprised there was only one error that caught your eye. It is corrected now.

I knew about the 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue' reason...but I didn't know about the Kleins' marriage outcome. How interesting. As for Eternity.. I must have been lucky. It has been divine and not loud at all on all the women I've had the pleasure of smelling it.

And lastly, about the winter wedding gown with the fur stole and hat... It was a frosty evening in the beautiful city of Haarlem that I encountered this vision of a dress. The window was decorated with fake snow, dark ominous background and sparkling branches. It was the wedding dress for the most beautiful of fairytale Ice Queens. I fell in love. It made me want to get married just to wear it.

Divina said...

PS: I am totally curious about the Vatidou dress now, even though I have no idea what the woman even looks like, never heard of her. (I DO know Kouyas though, lol) So if you can find a piccie on the net for me, I'd totally appreciate a link. Am itching to see it. (I searched but the terms "Kouyas Vatidou wedding" came up with no results. Perhaps you can do better since you have greek characters installed on your browser?) TIA!

PinstripedZebra said...

Brr.. Weddings *grin* not a favourite subject of mine, but I have to admit divina, you have a gift! To desribe a wedding like you do and the suggestions you make do appeal, even to me. Another almost lyrical post, just fun to read!

I was captured by the Versace bottle, stunning and strangely appealing.


Italian Girl said...

Hi Divina, my wedding gown was Eve of Milady and you should go go her website to see current styles (probably no sleeves at all these days) ..But, you must be very young to not remember the ornate sleeves of the 80's and 90's.. i wish i could send you a picture of my wedding dress, the beading is quite intricate on the entire sleeve to the fingers..Once a upon a time the sleeve extended to the full length of the middle finger-- if the bride chose to go gloveless.
Another designer, a Greek by the way, Demetrios, had spectacular sleeves with Alencon lace,etc.. I wish I had all of the hundreds of brides dresses photos I had torn out of my Brides magazines.. My mother-in law is a seamstress at a very nice bridal store in Chicago and so had access to numerous brochures, etc.
Anyway, I am sure your Mother could see you get married in a white sheet, as long as the MAN had a heart made of GOlD.

I can almost smell the Giorgio perfume now.