Tuesday, April 28, 2009

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Gérald Ghislain

Regular Fragrance Bouquet readers probably already know of my admiration for the Histoires de Parfums line of fragrances, as they have been reviewed with love and attention and also featured in one of the latest fragrance-Top 10 articles. If you too have been following the line with interest, you will love this interview of Histoires de Parfums' Gérald Ghislain, conducted by Lucie, the press contact for the brand on the official Histoires de Parfums blog.

Lucie conducts a marvelously in-depth interview with Gérald Ghislain, asking him literally every question that has been playing on my mind ever since I got introduced to the line, such as the choice of name for the line and most importantly, the reasons behind the choice of the characters representing each beautiful perfume. Even better, she doesn't stop there, but proceeds with asking the devillishly handsome Gérald a number of personal trivia questions which he goes on to answer with a sense of humor, candor and intelligence that delights. To read the interview, please click here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mille et Une Histoire by Hubert Maes : Perfume Review

I was delighted to be the one to introduce Histoire Charnelle with a review back in November of 2007 and now I find myself once again in the felicitous position to be the one to introduce to you the newest gem by Hubert Maes. I know how much you Fragrance Bouquet readers love reading about little-known, fascinating perfume finds, and this one won’t disappoint: It is beautiful.

Its name -as evocative as Hubert Maes’ prior three releases- is Mille et Une Histoire (A Thousand and One Stories) and is inspired by the collection of Oriental (in the original meaning of the word - that is, Arabian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Middle Eastern) folk stories and tales known as A Thousand and One Nights. With it, Maes this time alludes to the multifaceted nature of woman, referencing the thousand characteristics of the female being in appreciation. Compassionate, dynamic, charitable, ambitious, powerful and tender… The list goes on and on, a never-ending story which celebrates all that it is to be a woman.

Like Histoire Charnelle before it, Mille et Une Histoire projects an air of refinement and continental affluence. The perfumed veil rising from the skin instantly denotes smart femininity and unfailingly bespeaks its sophistication - undoubtedly due to the associations that accompany its rather vintage character: There is an unmistakable feel of old-world charm in Mille et Une Histoire, one that says “This is perfume as perfume used to be”. In a world where most new perfume releases cater monotonously to a very specific target group, I salute this for daring to be different in the bravest manner.

After a bright citrusy twist, a beautiful ionone backdrop of violet unfolds, buttery and smooth, with green accents and a surprisingly intense salty feel. Top notes of peach add a delightfully light fruitiness that is most ephemeral: they fizzle out within the first five minutes of application. What is long-lasting however is the beautifully aromatic, subtly smoky scent of black cardamom and the lovely, spicy, reminiscent of ground pepper quality that was a signature in Histoire Charnelle as well. In the heart of the fragrance we find the carnal sensuality of ylang-ylang, lapping lustfully at the rest of the notes. The powerful floral is used with utmost consideration and diplomacy, perfectly allowing its exotic character to shine and reach its full potential, but never allowing it to overtake the composition. It is complemented beautifully by high quality cedar essential oil, which adds continuity to the fragrance, taking up the smoky trail where pepper and cardamom left off. The drydown is a nuzzle-my-own-skin worthy (the inside of my elbow where I test fragrance is getting a lot of love as I wear this!) mélange of smoky cedar, creamy, subtly sweet sandalwood and non-sweet, beautiful vanilla absolute all traced with the oily, fragrantly balsamic fingertips of the everlasting ylang-ylang and kissed by the irreverent saltiness that has been surrounding the skin from the opening.

The end result is a gorgeous dichotomy between sensuality and restraint, that moment of hesitation before unbuttoning one more button of a chiffon blouse, and finally giving in… For lovers of classic perfumery, this is an absolute must-try. A gem.

Images: www.sxc.hu, Hubert Maes logo – property of Hubert Maes Creations, and image of ylang-ylang via www.rareflora.com

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fifi Finalist Facebook Gift Bag Give-Away!

As any perfume-lover worth his/her salt knows, the biggest annual industry event is of course the FiFi Awards & Celebration®, attended by nearly 1000 industry executives and hosted by the The Fragrance Foundation.

This very morning, April 24th, at the 2009 FIFI FINALIST BREAKFAST, those nominated for a FIFI in their category will be told if they have made it into the TOP 5 and on May 27, 2009, at The FIFI Awards Gala, The Fragrance Foundation will announce the Best Fragrances of the Year and other supporting categories.

This year The Fragrance Foundation is inviting fragrance enthusiasts to take part in the Fifi Awards celebration by offering a Facebook Gift Bag Give-Away! Simply log-on to Facebook and then follow this link in order to become a fan of the FIFI Awards on Facebook and your name will be submitted to win the best fragrances of 2009!

You can start becoming a Facebook fan of the FIFI AWARDS right away. However you must be fans of the FIFI AWARDS PAGE before 4 PM EST April 29, 2009 in order to be eligible for the Top 10 Sampler and by 4 PM EST May 1, 2009 in order to be eligible for the Grand Prize give-away. Current fans are automatically eligible.

Friday, April 29, 2009:

Two FIFI Awards Facebook friends will be randomly selected to win:
A FIFI TOP 10 SAMPLER GIFT BAG – with almost 100 perfumes represented!

Friday, May 1, 2009:

One FIFI Facebook friend will be randomly selected to win:

GRAND PRIZE: Full size bottles of TOP 5 NOMINEES.
Retail Value: $700-1000

Lastly, here are the Official Rules & Regulations:

• To enter you must become a fan of the FIFI Awards Page
• Winners will be announced via Facebook.
• You may enter only once.
• Winners will be selected in a random drawing.
• Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age and over.
• Alternatively, those not wishing to join Facebook can submit their name for consideration by sending their name, address, and age to:
Facebook Give-Away
c/o The Fragrance Foundation
545 Fifth Avenue, Suite 900
New York, NY 10017
• No purchase is necessary
• Odds of winning will depend on the number of entries received
• Any applicable taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner
• Void where prohibited
• The Fragrance Foundation reserves the right to cancel, suspend, modify, or terminate the give-away in the event of any technical malfunction, including any unauthorized tampering or anything beyond the control of The Fragrance Foundation

Images: The image accompanying this post is property of The Fragrance Foundation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Le Labo arrives in Holland and I Sniff, Sniff, Sniff

Few things can get me as excited as receiving news that a perfume line which thus far I'd only been able to read about longingly, has finally made it here and is available for sniffing! Le Labo can now be found here, at the fabulous brand new boutique of Skins Amsterdam (basically just next door from the old boutique at Runstraat 11, but bigger, better, fancier). Determined to not give myself olfactory fatigue and deciding there’s no rush to explore everything extensively at once since it is now so close by, I decided to focus on the perfumes I have been most curious about: Iris 39, Labdanum 18 and Ambrette 9. Yes, the road, the good intentions and all that: You can guess what I did next, can’t you? Yes, once inside the shop I actually sprayed the whole collection on blotters. I couldn’t help myself. Could you? Anyway. I was underwhelmed. “Is dat alles?” (Is this all there is?) as the Dutch song goes. I distracted myself with shiny make-up, potions, lotions and miracle-promising pots of this and that to give my nose a break and returned to the Le Labo counter to focus again on the three I originally came to sample, which -to give credit to the official note listing- were the ones that interested me most in the first round of sampling anyway. Ambrette 9 is lovely, powdery and baby soft and I would probably buy a bottle if I could actually smell it a little better. I don’t know if I am anosmic to some of the aromachemicals in the blend or what, but this is one of the very few (the second actually) perfumes to date that I struggle to smell. Yes, I can smell it when I first spray it on. Then I lose it and have to snort really, really close to find it again. There, close-up and personal I rediscover its sweet, soft appeal and I am left longing for more intensity. On me, this is definitely a skin-scent with absolutely no projection. I have to chase after it, always longing for that which I cannot have. It makes me sad and ever so slightly angry. Moving on, Iris 39 is my favorite of the whole lineup. It starts out with unmistakable buttery iris root but soon becomes spicy and intensely animalic. YUM. Super sexy in a buttoned-up, two-piece-and-killer-heels manner, this is a beauty and totally up my street. I really need to explore this further, to see if it is full-bottle-worthy. Finally, Labdanum 18 is beautiful and gorgeous…BUT. It is nothing new. I sprayed this on my skin, sniffed and was able to name its twin instantaneously. I turned to the SA helping me and said: “This is gorgeous but it’s exactly the same as Musc Ravageur by Frederique Malle." She gave me the most stupendously surprised look: “You have a great nose! It was created by the same nose as Musc Ravageur! You recognized his signature.” I smiled politely and nodded, while thinking “What signature? This is the exact same composition! I could hardly fail to recognize that!”. Well, to be perfectly fair, it is not the exact same composition. Labdanum 18 is softer, rounder, cuddlier. I can’t really wear Musc Ravageur (even though I like it a lot), but I would gladly wear Labdanum 18. This however, does not change the fact that the two are twins indeed, with the formula just tweaked enough to be smoother, better blended. With the exception of Iris, I am not sure I am ready to part with my money just yet. But stay tuned, as I look forward to exploring this line more in the near future. And I am keeping my hopes up for the Vanilla Paris exclusive.

PS: I want that Olfactionary, also sold at Skins. Can’t afford it. Bummer.

DKNYMEN Fragrance Event at Bloomingdale's

Who said all the cool beauty and fragrance events are for women? DKNYMEN Fragrance, Bloomingdale's and Details Magazine are inviting all the boys for a Men's Night Out!

In just two days, on April the 23rd the Bloomingdale's on NY's 59th Street is hosting the fun-filled event from 6 till 8:00pm. Guests will be able to enjoy a beer tasting by Heartland Brewery, try their luck on the roulette wheel and have fun with some Nintendo Wii gameplay. Guests that make a purchase of $65 or more from the DKNYMEN Fragrance Collection will receive a DKNYMEN messenger bag and a set of portable MP3 speakers.

When: Thursday, April 23rd, 2009, 6:00PM-8:00PM

Where: Bloomingdale's 59th Street, Metro 59, 1000 Third Avenue

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Spring Florals: The One & D&G Femine Reviews

I’ve held a grudge against the perfume division of Dolce&Gabbana’s glitzy empire ever since my beloved By Woman was discontinued. With their designs, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have always challenged our preconceived notions about fashion, blurring the borders between what is vulgar and chic, over-the-top and demure. Their clothes have always been distinguished by a raw, unapologetic sexiness, where corsets rule supreme, party dresses become weapons of seduction and whips are never unlikely props. By Woman was the essence of all that, bottled and ready to use. From the scent itself to the bottle, this perfume was nothing less than the signature of the amazing house. Nothing that came before or after has managed to even come close to capturing the essence of Dolce & Gabbana’s designs or the feel of their advertizing campaigns. So I ignored most everything petulantly after a little sniff, ever looking for that sense of lost glamour and kittenish sex-appeal.

But it turns out that right there under my nose, were not one, but two excellent florals that I’ve been snubbing: The One and D&G Feminine. No, they will not engage the mind in provocative fantasies reminiscent of any Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, nor do they embody the spirit of the brand. And no, when it comes to majestic florals, these ain’t the precocious, grand canvases painted by Lutens, nor are they exceptional harvest blooms. But what they are is something equally worthy of a space in a scent wardrobe: They are perfectly wearable, very well crafted spring florals that give a sense of rejoicing in good weather and have the ability to lift the wearer’s sprits with their cheerfulness. Aside from being utterly wearable florals for spring, their other most outstanding feature is their sense of effortless, charming prettiness, which seems to serve to underscore the femininity of the wearer.

The One: Released in 2006, this has quickly become a bestseller here in Europe. It is a musky floral, which puts lily on center stage. I have a difficult relationship with lily in perfume (and admittedly there are many varieties, many of which completely scentless): it can either go very right or very wrong. The One manages to get it right for me. The opening is slightly green, featuring beautifully sweet, jammy citrus top notes. Peach aldehydes lend a smooth creamy texture to the transition from the sparkling top to the floral heart. If there is any jasmine in the blend, I cannot smell it; my nose instead focuses on the beautiful combination of lily and lily of the valley, tinged with accents of green. Lush and juicy, the heart notes evoke not just the flowers, but also the scent of thick, sappy flower stems cut at a florist’s. There is an aqueous freshness there, a glossy coolness that unfailingly brings the ritual of cutting stems and preparing them for a vase filled with cold water to my mind every time I wear this. The drydown is honeyed and warm, giving me the same sense of flower honey over musks that Boudoir does, despite the fact that the two smell very different. Despite the warmth, The One retains a clean, sometimes even sudsy profile from start to finish. Its slightly soapy nature means feminine appeal is combined with a completely untarnished image. As such, this is an excellent daytime scent that is safe enough for the office but playful enough to make one feel sexy in a sundress for a stroll in the park. I adore the 6ml EdP roll-on pen, which is lightweight enough to carry in a purse or clutch for touchups!

D&G Feminine: It is strange indeed that the youth orientated D&G Feminine would turn out to be the raunchy alternative to The One’s sanitized femininity. Feminine can come across as innocent at first, but it doesn’t take long before its sexually charged character shows through. Seemingly devoid (to my nose at least) of discernible top notes, Feminine throws the wearer into its deep floral heart with a giggle. It is an extravagant spring bouquet of white and mauve hues, combining fragrant wisteria, purple lilac, hyacinths, heliotrope and mimosa. The indolic character of the hyacinths and the lilac make this otherwise very romantic bouquet roar with pure animal lust. Despite their bad rep as passion-killers, as we well know powdery notes can also be very sensual, and this is exactly the role they assume here: soft, powdery mimosa and gentle, almondy heliotrope place the indolic notes well within the context of the boudoir. This one lasts and lasts on me, in fact I can often trace a faint whiff of it the next morning after having worn it the night before. It gets muskier and deeper in the drydown and the floral bouquet becomes all the more abstract, but its character remains intact for many, many hours. Gorgeous for a night out, ideally worn with a backless dress. Mmm…

Images: Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign, Flickr by Scott Robinson and Mrs. Gemstone

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Parfum de Cannabis by Laurent Cosmetics : Perfume Review

“It is not very popular with the Dutch.” The proprietor of the small perfumery in the heart of Amsterdam tells me. “But it is hugely successful with foreigners! Americans, Germans, you name it. They want a piece of Amsterdam. It’s a memento.” I am not very surprised. The bottle and box are not much too look at, not to mention the fact that the price is surprisingly high, but whether we like it or not, cannabis does stand for Amsterdam and that makes the perfume a curio, something funny, intriguing. It has the air of something forbidden, yet it is legal to take it home after the trip is over. Who cares what it smells like? No wonder it sells well. The elderly gentleman managing the shop had hit the nail on the head: It is a piece of Amsterdam. But he seemed genuinely convinced of its value. “Take a sample; I am sure you will love it. Just try it. You won’t be disappointed.” In fact my disappointment starts at the register, where he actually makes me pay for the sample! But no matter, I want to smell this and there is no tester in the shop. I leave with my wallet one euro lighter, with a sample I suspect will smell rather poisonous.

Back home my suspicions are confirmed. Parfum de Cannabis is all over the place: It starts as a gentle floral, but quickly intensifies, showing both fruity (exotic, like pineapple and papaya) and gourmand (candied apple, sugar, cotton candy, vanilla) aspects. In the background there is a mildly spicy accent I can’t quite identify, although I’d swear I’ve smelled it before. The grand awfulness of the scent is further underscored by the atrocious synthetic smell that prevails from the moment it is first sprayed on. This does not smell like a perfume in fact, but something entirely chemical, used to mask and sanitize other, far more offensive scents, like a public restroom spray in fact. Living in a country where a simple walk down the center of the capital will undoubtedly be peppered by the “fragrant” clouds of smoked weed on any given day or night of the year, I am intensely familiar with the awful smell, and can’t imagine why any perfume would like to use it as a note, however I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. Well, to add insult to injury, there is not even the slightest whiff of the promised cannabis, but you already suspected that, didn’t you? Yeah, me too, but hope dies last.

Bottom line is, don’t fall for this little memento if you visit Amsterdam. It is overpriced and not worth it at any level. However, do pay a visit to the little perfumery as Parfum de Cannabis is not all it sells. In fact, the tiny little space of Parfumerie Laurent is full of discontinued as well as vintage perfumes. The space is small and the stock is big, so as things get bought more things regularly appear. Here you can find forgotten perfumes by Charles Jourdan, Courréges, Faconnable, Gigli, Jean Couturier, Marbert, Fragonard and all manner of other once well known names that can’t be found easily elsewhere. The address is Gravenstraat 26 in the center of Amsterdam, close to the Dam Square.

Images: www.sxc.hu and Flickr by Meepocity

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eau de Sisley 1, 2 & 3 by Sisley : Perfume Reviews

While most brands seem to be churning out perfumes at a pace that is hard to keep up with and even harder to take seriously (does this sort of strategy actually work I wonder? Do big-brand perfumes manage to make the marketing money back without ever being allowed to reach a sort of mythical, romantic status?), Sisley has been setting and following its own pace for decades, releasing a new perfume about every…16 years. All three of them have been stellar. Now, in just half of the time that it has so far taken the company to release a new scent, they have produced not just one, but three brand new perfumes. The fragrances in the trio, a collection of fresh eaux de toilette are simply named Eau de Sisley 1, 2 & 3. But neither the simplicity of the names nor the sudden, so far unprecedented for the brand faster-paced concurrent releases are indicative of a compromise in the quality of the end products. Sisley remains stellar in the perfume department: all three are simply wonderful!

Eau de Sisley 1: This should be evoking a “sunkissed summer dress, brimming with the mystery of a summer garden.", but thanks to the darker character of the aromatic, bitter, evergreen scent of juniper berries, 1 has the most masculine opening of the three. The opening is most evocative of the perfect gentleman’s fresh cologne (think Eau Sauvage, which it resembles in the opening, not in terms of scent but of character). Once the dark, sophisticated bitterness of the top notes flies off, 1’s masculinity gives way to a completely unisex composition. The sun shines through almost blindingly with delicious notes of citrus fruits. Sweet juicy lemons form the golden yellow canvas that is accented with the sexy warmth of grapefruit and the sparkling aroma of lime and tangerine. The lemon scent becomes tarter as time goes by, but the scent itself becomes ever calmer and smoother. The main impression changes from sunny yellow to a field of green. In fact, the scent becomes greener and greener with the passing of time. The slightly astringent feel of green tea blends seamlessly with a green accord that smells like freshly cut young grass with all its lovely milky, deep aspects and hay simultaneously. There is a slight floralcy, a delicate sweet scent of jasmine but it remains subtle enough to be a mere suggestion, mostly functioning as a lovely sweet impression. The drydown is a smoother, less floral and rather muskier interpretation of the lovely green accord.

Eau de Sisley 2: The most romantic of the trio, 2 begins with a subtle, creamy and slightly soapy aldehydic floral cord of bergamot and honeysuckle. In fact, the opening is truly reminiscent of Yves Rocher’s Chevrefeuille, albeit far more intense and infinitesimally chicer in character. While 1 is spring and summer in fields of green with no urban constructions in sight, Eau de Sisley 2 is a wonderful demonstration of spring city-chic. Spring, a season in which clothes can be airy and sensually light, but still allows for longer sleeves and tailoring, unlike the more unforgiving summer season. The spicy yet smooth hints of cardamom lend to this air of sophistication and the honeysuckle underscores the romanticism of the scent. The heart is unabashedly floral, with fruity hints. Water lily and cyclamen aldehyde with its fresh, cucumber-lily of the valley green scent lend a watery, aqueous overtone to the heart notes, over the subtler undertone of dewy rose. The overall feel is slightly sharp and bracing, while there is a smoother, creamy undercurrent very evocative of expensive moisturizing cosmetics. The transition from the aqueous floral notes to the woody base notes is eased by lovely vetiver which combined with slightly smoky cedar make the drydown darker. In all honesty, this is my least favorite of the three, even though it is still beautiful. The problem is that I keep hankering after the magnificent opening with its chic honeysuckle romanticism, so I tend to resist the sharp turn it takes as time goes by. I am generally not a fan of watery notes (although there are few exceptions), but this is not the problem in the case of 2, since they are subtle and fitting. My problem is the fruity sharpness in the blend. I would have been in love had it retained its 70’s floral romanticism. However, restrained application will serve lovers of floral-aldehydic perfumes well: if you allow the creaminess of this scent to shine through, you’ll have a refined winner in your hands.

Eau de Sisley 3: My absolute favorite of the three! Oh, this is beautiful! I did not get a basil note in 2 where it is actually listed as an official note, but I get a huge blast of basil in 3. Rustling the leaves of the bushy basil releases a most fragrant, slightly camphoraceous aroma in the air, with extremely subtle hints of licorice and clove. This fabulous experience is magnificently replicated in the opening of 3, joined with spices and sparkling bergamot. While 1 and 2 both manage to successfully impart the sense of a sunny day, 3 is to me the slightly cooler summer dusk, that particular window in the long days of summer when the sun is setting but the sky is still white instead of flooded with colors of orange and mauve. Osmanthus lovers rejoice, because this is a particularly lovely, uniquely soft rendition as offered in the heart notes. The fruity aspects of the blossom are wonderfully complemented by smoooooth, creamy apricot and peach. The fruitiness of the scent is gently hugged by the milky green scent of crushed fig leaves, possibly the most genius addition of a note in this scent as it projects it to perfection. Surprisingly (I don’t know if it is just me, but this is strange), I get more lemony accents with the passing of time, instead of indentifying them in the opening. The drydown retains traces of the lemony freshness still in fact, but rounds them up with the sweetness of vanilla and a glorious musk scent that is rendered earthy with hints of vetiver. Absolutely perfect.

Chypre lovers looking for a summer scent will love Eau de Sisley 1, while lovers of Patricia de Nicolai’s Eau Turquoise and Vie de Château will love Eau de Sisley 3. I'd classify both 1 and 3 as unisex, eaux fraîches type of scents, while 2 is decidedly feminine.

In terms of longevity and intensity, 2 is not only the most intense but also the most long-lasting – no need for reapplication here. It is followed by 3, which albeit not as intense, develops beautifully and has the perfect projection (in my opinion) for a summer scent. 1 tends to stay closer to the skin and will need reapplication often throughout the day. Considering its dazzling freshness, I don’t necessarily consider this a shortcoming: its scent dictates it should be worn as a fresh, cooling cologne as need arises during hot weather. The bottles however ARE expensive, so that makes it rather uneconomical, if not downright off-putting.

Lastly, I'd like to close this post with a smile, a thank you to Sisley, for paying homage to their chypre roots and remaining green in a decidedly pink, fruity-floral world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fragrance Bouquet Loves… Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer by Chanel

Okay, so I got a problem. I knew about my shoe problem. I knew about my perfume problem. But I never really thought I had a huge ‘thing’ for make-up, even as I ordered a custom-made, self-designed Plexiglas make-up cabinet a couple of years ago. I didn’t quite know where exactly to store my burgeoning make-up collection. Still I never viewed this as a problem. As I was getting ready to write this review of Chanel’s most fabulous lipgloss today however, I decided to take out the lipgloss drawer and count ‘em up. …54. Fifty four?? Fifty four. O-Kaaaaaay. Okay fine. So I have a problem. Now I understand why none of them actually gets finished before it goes bad. But listen, there is an upside to my problem. Extensive concurrent testing (HAH!, yes, I’ll call it testing) has enabled me to pick the best of the freakin’ crop with extreme accuracy! If I had to give up every single one but one brand (not that I ever would, mind), I now know which one I would keep: Chanel.

Chanel has performed a miracle in the lipgloss department. It makes the shiniest, most amazing, long-lasting, and did I mention SHINIEST lipgloss in the world. It’s name? Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer. Seriously, this stuff is so good, opening the packet should by all rights be accompanied by the sound of cherubs singing. So let’s take a look at what makes this stuff better than everything else on the market right now. First of all, it’s incredibly long lasting. Now, I have to admit I personally am one of these people that manage to keep most lipsticks on my lips for hours and hours and can even eat without disturbing my painted canvas, so I am sure results will differ for those that unconsciously lick/bite their lips. However, we all know that most lipglosses tend to lose their gloss, shine and radiance as time goes by, even if we’re careful with them. Not so with this one. It refuses to ‘gather’ in places, cake or coagulate, its color stays vibrant and it retains its shine. Too, the gel formula is perfectly juicy, lending a wet look to the lips, without ever running, or migrating upwards, downwards or sideways (yuck!). In short, it stays PUT and allows for perfect application even on the edges of the lips. I cannot in good conscience tell you that it is not-tacky, because I’ve never actually met a lipgloss that wasn’t sticky. Let’s face it: Once that wind blows, no matter what lipgloss you are wearing, you’re gonna have to manually remove your hair from your lips, period. But Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer does feel very comfortable and emollient and unlike other high-gloss formulas will not have your lips sticking together, forming that icky little “thread” every time you open your mouth to speak. The texture is fluid enough to glide on, but the gel is also stable enough to allow for building “layers” on the lips until the desired plumpness and shine is achieved. In fact, I would choose this lipgloss for plumpness any day over actual plumping-effect glosses (such as the one by LipFusion). But what is the absolutely best feature of Chanel’s Glossimer, is its ability to shine like no other. Chanel uses the most finely-milled and most densely-packed glittering mica I’ve ever encountered in a lipgloss. The result is never grainy and the shine is unbelievable.

Chanel currently makes 38 shades (3 of them are limited edition) but regrettably, not every stand sells all of the shades. Too, there are some in the collection that are shinier than the others. I personally tend to go for the shiniest ones, meaning the ones that have the most glitter. Again, I have to assert that the mica is so finely milled, that the result is as beautiful and elegant as anything you would expect from Chanel. At no point should you worry that you’ll be going around with lips studded with large chunks of carnival glitter! The result is completely even. My favorite colors are Paillettes (No. 93) and Galatic (No. 98). Paillettes is an ultra-glittery soft pink which is very similar to Volage (No. 25) with the difference that Volage does not have much glitter, so I always tend to go for Paillettes. Paillettes contains both blue-toned and gold-toned mica, making it perfectly flattering to both blue-undertone and yellow-undertone skins. It is the perfect soft-pink gloss to use with a more dramatic eye-look (I tend to avoid real nudes with dramatic eyes, preferring instead subtle pinks, as they are fresher, more youthful and sexier). Galactic looks white in the tube, but reads as an ultra-glittery colorless lipgloss on bare lips. This colorless wonder is the perfect solution for injecting shine over every other lip-product in your arsenal. I prefer to use it over a lipstain (like the one from Body Shop) but it also looks great over any lipstick or lip-liner which has been used to fill in the lips.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger by Prada : Perfume Review

Prada’s newest, Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger is a limited edition fragrance, the first one of what will be a series of yearly limited edition scents falling under the Ephemeral Infusion Collection family. Each year, a new Infusion scent will be launched to the market and will be available for just 4 months. This bit of news leaves me ambivalent. On the one hand the idea is not only very attractive (not to mention it gets the pesky collector bug I’ve lodged inside my heart buzzing), it is also very exciting: A brand new Prada scent to look forward to and to ponder about each year! On the other hand, I find the idea of limited editions rather unappealing in general and tend to look upon them unfavorably. We all know the pain of losing a favorite fragrance due to discontinuation and limited editions are nothing but a fair warning before the pain arrives. I suppose it makes marketing sense: Create a good amount of marketing buzz to get people curious, then have the SAs warn them the scent will be taken out of the market fairly soon, so the customer has an extra incentive (or better said, an actual push) to buy right there and then. But as a fragrance lover, I can’t help but be aware of the pain this can bring to actual fragrance devotees. The better solution? Release the limited editions for four months as planned, and then instead of withdrawing the scent completely, have it offered in Prada boutiques only. It still ‘forces’ the client to buy it as soon as possible, but at least it does not preclude lovers of the scent from ever finding it again. It gives hope if you will, while retaining every bit of the exclusivity. (Are you listening, Prada?)

Now, enough with my limited edition rant and on to the scent itself. Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger is meant to be a descendant of both the original Infusion d’Iris and Prada’s exclusive, boutique-only Fleur d’Oranger and I am happy to say the promise is met on both counts. I can immediately smell the connection with Infusion d’Iris which makes it an excellent flanker in my book. It is as if there is an invisible yet very much tangible thread connecting the two, even though Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger does not sport a trace of iris. (Or at least none discernible to my nose…) Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger makes use of both neroli essential oil (derived by the steam distillation of the bitter orange blossom) and orange blossom absolute (the product of the organic solvent extraction). Neroli is bitter, bracing, fresh, aromatic and utterly summery in nature, while the absolute is much more flowery, erotic, round, narcotic, heady and indolic in nature. A good example of the former would be the recently reviewed Mi Fa (in conjunction with gourmand notes, but still very recognizable) and an excellent example of the latter would be the aforementioned Prada exclusive Fleur d’Oranger. In Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger the absolute and the essential oil interweave in the most beautiful manner. Most of the time they merge, creating a beautiful smooth and round absolute base with a bracing essential oil top, but even more pleasurable are their eclipses, the peek-a-boo games they play with the wearer, when only one of the two is offered to the nose for inspection as the other is withdrawn to the background. Understandably, I am left mesmerized the whole time I am wearing this, since a different aspect of the beautiful perfume becomes salient as the scent wafts around me with each movement. The same soapy, aldehydic smoothness of the original Infusion d’Iris forms the surprisingly strong, pastel-colored backdrop of this perfume, while other white florals (jasmine, tuberose) are but supporting murmurs to the marvelous song of the orange blossom. The tuberose in particular becomes stronger in the drydown, but there is no question that it is the orange blossom that is this year’s limited edition diva.

Images: The beautiful painting (it translates the deafening silence and sense of anticipation of the hottest, midday hours in the summer perfectly in my eyes!), is by Tim Solliday. More of this artist's work can be viewed on the official website here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Patchouli Sample Pack Winner

Ok, so I was planning a review of the new Prada Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger today, but seriously guys, you will have to forgive me! The weather is amazing! Those of you that live in rainy countries will understand: This is such a rare phenomenon, I'll just have to get my photosynthesis fix while I can! The review will be posted in the weekend instead! For now, here are the results of the patchouli sample pack draw: ChantillyLace is the winner! ChantillyLace, please mail me your details and I'll get the packet shipped to you :) Thank you all for participating and see you in the weekend with a review of the newest Prada!