If I Could Have Only 10 Perfumes…

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My collection has never been very large (at least by the standards of most perfume lovers) but I still have a lot of trouble playing the ‘pick only ten perfumes’ game- a favorite masochistic mental exercise of the fragrance community.
The game is presented in different forms- 10 perfumes for a deserted island, 10 perfumes to save from your burning house, 10 perfumes to wear exclusively for the rest of your life.

Anyone who collects has an idea why this is so difficult- and it’s really tempting to turn to logical shortcuts to make the list-making easier.  Which of my perfumes are the most expensive? The most irreplaceable? Which ones do I own in rare vintages? Which are discontinued and gone?

I went through my collection a few days ago with the goal of culling the perfumes that no longer *sparked joy* when I held them (Thanks Marie Kondo). And I came out with only a 5 mL decant of Montale’s Patchouli Leaves ready to be let go of (it’s a cruder, more brutish version of Chanel’s Coromandel, which I prefer- but both are excellent chocolate patchoulis, with the Montale feeling more resinous).  Even if I didn’t make significant inroads into diminishing my perfume collection, I reconfirmed for myself my love of and attachment to what I do have. Continue reading “If I Could Have Only 10 Perfumes…”

There is no T in Feminism

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The last few Fashion Weeks, the political became… fashionable?  Mostly as exemplified by an army of models in slogan tees.  At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri sent women out dresses in a uniform of navy and midnight colors, French military-style leather berets, and t-shirts stating ‘WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS” (caps the decision of the t-shirt designer, not my own). Parable Gurung created a line of tees with slogans like “The future is female” and “Nevertheless she persisted” (I love you Elizabeth Warren) among them. Continue reading “There is no T in Feminism”

A Handful of Spring Perfumes Sneaking Into My Icy Winter Heart

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I’m generally feel most myself in thick and wintery fragrances- scents that wrap you up in a musky blanket or a whirl of fireplace smoke.  But we always miss out when we try to play exactly to type- and most often delightful things come to surprise you from unexpected directions…

That’s probably why my collection of bottles is neither here nor there- it covers a lot of bases, with little overlap in genre or category- no easily articulated cohesion beyond that indefinable something that makes them feel like me and like mine.
And that has a certain logic to it, but when you trust to fragrance love and the vicissitudes of perfume fate your collection comes together a little spuriously.  You end with more of some type of fragrance, a few of another, and none of a third. The classical spring fragrance- the fresh floral- has historically been poorly represented in my cabinet.
(Which is not entirely fair: A bottle of vintage Diorissimo holds the ‘fresh spring floral’ banner; beautiful, proud, and tragically alone. She could use a little company).

But I don’t sample much anymore, even if I do keep up a massive list (classic) of fragrances I’d like to try.  My acquisitive feelings about perfume have subsided and I feel very content with my collection as it is. But I’m lucky enough to have a few friends who look out for me and send things over, and when I travel I do try to stop by local fragrance shops: in sort, samples do somehow find their way to me.

A few of them have sort of caught me unawares, winnowed their way into my affections, particularly during this particularly cold-snappy March, when I’m most in need of a hint of spring.  So maybe I was a bit vulnerable, but isn’t so much of love finding the right thing at the right time?

That was a long-winded way of introducing these four- four underrated and little discussed fragrances this side of quirky and that side of beautiful, and sure to please you whether it’s the snows or cherry blossoms falling. Continue reading “A Handful of Spring Perfumes Sneaking Into My Icy Winter Heart”

A Fragrant Wishlist

It’s a quiet evening and the school week is winding down for me (bless no-class Fridays)- I’m here in my room with the heat on and a cat, listening to ASMR and playing on Pinterest.  I’m wearing pajama bottoms, a giant T shirt some guy in Boston gave me when I got caught in the rain a few summers ago, and a leather jacket (because the heat is not enough).
Perfume: Botrytis by Ginestet, a delicious sweet autumn apple wine.

And then I started thinking about perfume and decided to do a list of the fragrances I have tried and sampled and want more of, whether that’s another sample or a healthy-sized decant.  And then I went on Facebook Fragrance Friends and discovered (GASP) that my fragrance wish list document is missing.  Let me just say that this document was the pinnacle of my perfume evolution. It’s been mutating since I first got interested in collecting- as I bought and loved or tried and discarded.  Horror of horrors, it had disappeared without a trace.
Thankfully, I had backed up perfumes that had captured my interest on Fragrantica. Whew. Crisis averted. Continue reading “A Fragrant Wishlist”

Fashion Documentaries

It’s Fashion Week around here and I’m feeling in the spirit (despite the fact that I’m running a fever and it’s also memorize your twenty amino acids week [hoped I would make it through this BS/my BS without having to do that, but Biochemistry said “Oh no, huehehehe])
Anyway…

There are trends, which I could talk about.  But maybe later.  Because if I get started ranting about dancewear as a trend (DANCE ISN’T A TREND, IT’S A WAY OF LIFE) it will never end.  (And can someone please tell me what the point is of dancewear being a trend if people still try very hard not to make eye contact with me if I walk to a ballroom performance in a rhinestoned-meshy-purply Latin dress, a full face of stage makeup, and Converse? I need a little leeway here!)

Addendum to my advice regarding not getting harassed on the street: It’s amazing what wearing an obnoxious and scandalous costume and a whole lot of makeup can do for a person. Or you can always take this route.

I told you I would get sidetracked.

On to the main event: My favorite (and therefore objectively the best) fashion documentaries!
(So maybe I lied when I said I would stop posting about clothes for a while.)
(Also really abusing the parentheses this post)

In no particular order:

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  1. Vogue: The September Issue
    Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, and Hamish Bowles are great characters, and this is essentially a film starring Grace’s hair, Hamish’s accent, and Anna’s… well, everything.  It’s very interesting to see how a Vogue issue (particularly the gargantuan September issue) gets put together. Lots of guest appearances by fashion people and lots of guest appearances by fashion people’s crotchets and issues (celebrities, they’re just like us!)
    An aside: Grace Coddington draws pictures of cats and she just released a perfume in a cat-inspired bottle.  And the fragrance is passable!9cc4339cea0866bdb2bd448e2932081f
  2. Valentino: The Last Emperor
    Do it for the pugs. Do it for Martha Stewart.  And you know, Valentino too.  He’s a funny little piece of peach pie, I like him. And his pugs.  Again with the amusing dropping of the famous names and faces.  And the unveiling of their little persnickets.  Martha Stewart goes off investigating the kitchens when she’s invited to Valentino’s house party- LOVE.  Less about the brand, this is more of an investigation of Valentino as a person.
    Quote: “Apres moi, le deluge” (Yep, I still refuse to use proper French accents)bill-cunningham1
  3. Bill Cunningham New York
    Bill Cunningham died on June 25th this year.  This movie captures a sense of his abundantly cheerful good nature and sense of joy at capturing the looks and combinations he saw on the street.  He lived very simply, with his eternal blue smock and smile.  Did he live and breathe fashion? Maybe. But I think it would be more accurate to say that he lived and breathed the spirit of New York City.
    A bit maudlin? Maybe so, but watch the movie and you too will want to ooze love all over Bill.film4-2-4f8fff2497a5a97f
  4. Dior et Moi/ Dior and I
    Back in 2012 Raf Simons was announced as the new artistic director of an already well established fashion house- Maison Dior (he has since resigned).  Dior et Moi tells the story of the mad dash to his first haute couture show.  While ostensibly a film about the struggles Raf Simons overcomes to unite his generally minimalist aesthetic with the ornate and ‘designed’ look of haute couture and Dior’s haute couture history, the film is much more about the timeless foundations of Dior’s look and brand: the part that stays concrete and unperturbed beneath the fluid exchange of artistic directors (Sorry, Raf).  This would be the house’s atelier of seamstresses, many of whom have been working there for decades.  Their pride in their craft and sense of community is beautiful to watch, but the most perfect moments come when they let it slip that they think Raf needs to step off, because he’s a babe in the woods and it’s time to let the real pros handle things.

Meh: Vidal Sassoon, L’Amour Fou, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Must Travel, Lagerfeld Confidential, Vogue: The Editor’s Eye

Remaining to see: Iris, Advanced Style, Just for Kicks, McQueen and I, The True Cost.

In BOLD are movies I have since watched. In RED are ones that are joining the favorites list.

Paris Packed Perfumes

Hello hello hello (bonjour)!
I’ve been in Paris the last week so I haven’t posted at all- I haven’t been here ever before and I feel in some ways as if my heart has finally found where it belongs, so I’m completely unapologetic.

…Even if my heart felt exactly the same way in Venice last year.

I’ve made a lot of observations of the city and am hoping I can boil that down (or flesh that out) into one or two (or 10 or so) lists for your perusal.  In the meantime, I’m going to stick with something that takes little mental energy on my part, because my days have been long and my nights short. Continue reading “Paris Packed Perfumes”

Decants and Minis (Part One)

When I was talking about my full bottle perfume wardrobe (God, isn’t that such a lovely phrase?) I believe I made it clear that my preference these days is decidedly for purchasing decants or relatively small mL volumes of the perfumes I want to have on hand.
I’ve too many fragrances at this point to wear any single perfume with any great regularity and I don’t want to fall into the trap of having a volume of perfume beyond my life expectancy…
Add to that that decants are more easily storable and travel well, and it’s a bit of a no-brainer. I make exceptions for vintages and limited editions, where the possibility of replenishing one’s stash is slimmer.

Part One of my decant list contains my choices from the Dior and Chanel private collections, both of which I find to be consistently well done.  And no, I have not tried the entirety of both lines (and there are scents from both that I want but have not yet acquired- stories for another day). Continue reading “Decants and Minis (Part One)”