Scents & Sensibility
One of the best thing about spring and early summer
is the smells. Honeysuckle, lavender, gardenia ... mmm.
Besides encouraging my obsession for flowers, the scents of
the season have kick-started a bit of a love affair with
women's fragrances for me. In the past, I was always a one
bottle babe. I thought of perfume as part of my identity like
skin tone or eye color. As in "I'm fair, brown-eyed and I wear L'Air du
Temps". But these days I'm not so conventional. Or better yet, not so
boring. A woman has more than one point of view, more than one
mood. Mademoiselle cannot live on Chanel No. 5 alone! Fortunately,
there are a bevy of talented perfumers available to muse our muzzles.
Fresh, floral, earthy or exotic -whatever your essence - there's a scent
to describe your internal allure and intoxicate your senses.
Bottle up and be amazing.
The fabrication of fragrances dates back to ancient Egypt.
This Etruscan vessel is a perfume vase. Designers take note.
In addition to my standard Coco by Chanel, I acquired three
new fragrances this year. Calypso Figue by Christiane Celle,
Brigitte by Tocca and Sole 149 by Pucci - a birthday gift
from a girlfriend. Beyond the scents themselves, I like that I
can change them up and layer them according to my
mood or my adventures for the day.
Four classics from the first half of the twentieth century
that are still popular, still chic. Chanel No. 5 (1921),
Arpège (1927), Acqua di Parma (1930) & Fracas (1948).
I’m intrigued by the ads for Balenciaga’s new fragrance.
It speaks to a cultivated and sophisticated aesthetic
that appreciates the contrast of textures, eras and styles.
It’s described as a muted scent of soft violet with a
Speaking of advertising, how does one sell a smell?
Clearly, it’s all about the power of the image. If I
wear perfume ABC by company XYZ, I will be
beautiful/sexy/desirable, etc. Below are some memorable
ads from recent years and the impressions they left upon me.
L’EAU AMBRÉE by Prada
- warm, sensual and modern -
ETERNITY by Calvin Klein
- men will fall in love with you -
FLOWER BOMB by Viktor & Rolf
- feminine but powerful -
JUICY COUTURE PERFUME by Juicy Couture
- for the social deb with a wild side -
He creates fragrances based on moments and experiences. I’m dying
to try In the Library, Russian Caravan Tea and Fire From Heaven.
His concept - “scent is life” - is brilliantly simple. You gotta love a guy
who studied the arts at Carnegie Mellon, Columbia and Parsons, drove
a taxi in New York, went on to work for Kiehl’s and says things like
“People who smell like everyone else disgust me.”
Cool, irreverent and scary talented – love him!
Fragrances for the home have become as popular as
fragrances for the body. They’re another way for us
to express who we are and share what inspires us.
I love Antica Farmacista’s products. I discovered their
Vanilla, Bourbon & Mandarin room diffuser a few years ago.
It’s absolutely delicious and is my home’s secret weapon. Shhhh.
Aedes de Venustas is another favorite source of mine
(I can’t believe I’m giving away all my secrets!).
I find amazing fragrances for myself and for friends and family.
Boule d’Ambre by L’Artisan Perfumer.
Amber crystals encased in a terracotta sphere.
I have the Odalisque candle by Cire Trudon in my bedroom.
Its notes of citrus, wood bark and orange blossom are
sexy and comforting and not overwhelming next to my bed.
The company was founded in 1643 and developed
scents for the Court of Versailles and Napoleon.
A simple but amazing gift for that special someone?
Primavera room spray from Santa Maria Novella.
It is said to capture the scents of a Tuscan garden in
spring - cherry blossoms, gardenia and dogwood.
Heavenly! Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is
one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and was
established in 1221 by Dominican Fathers. I would
also love to buy their Caprifoglio eau de cologne -
a unisex fragrance with the essence of honeysuckle.
Those monks knew what they were doing!
And not exactly old compared to the scents above, but
nonetheless “vintage”. These oldies-but-goodies were
favorites in their respective eras.
OBSESSION by Calvin Klein
- you’re an elusive and enigmatic muse -
This commercial looked like the celluloid love child of
John Pawson and M.C. Escher. But I did love the tagline -
"Ahhh, the smell of it."
ENJOLI by Charles of the Ritz/Revlon
- for the woman who’s kickin’ ass and takin’ names -
I loved this ad when I was a little girl. I know, not surprising ; )
It’s incredible, isn’t it, that we can wear so much history
and inspiration on our skin?! Fragrance is a magical part
of nature ... of life. Just remember, use it in moderation.
You want to beguile and entice, not overwhelm or offend!