Monday, March 31, 2008
It pains me to read perfume articles like this one--granted, it's in a tabloid, but still--because so-called perfume experts in the fragrance industry are being quoted, and they have power over young minds by being prominent in the public eye through perfume. To quote: "Lifestyle has organised its own smell test, analysing the top 50 best-selling scents across the UK this year, according to Perfume Shop sales. Our panel of experts consists of celebrity perfumer and celebrated nose Roja Dova; world-renowned scent specialist and Brand Sense agency founder Simon Harrop, and Julia Bolsom, a certified nose and Perfume Shop marketing director who has worked on the launches of more than 500 fragrances."
The experts' take on Boss Femme: "The girl band of fragrances. It smells contrived. It's very predictable."
Excuse me? Did that panel of experts just say that the perfume sucks and that GIRLS CAN'T PLAY? Apparently, these people have not heard Nancy Wilson of Heart play guitar, or Mary Lou Williams, Vixen, or any number of excellent female musicians and bands out there. They didn't know that Nannerl Mozart was a musician and composer whom her brother Wolfgang Amadeus looked up to enough to consult on music (but she wasn't allowed in her time to do what Wolfgang could). It's ignorance like theirs that makes me want to quit the perfume business. I feel like I'm wasting my energy on an industry that's doing nothing positive for young women these days.
You should also know...
The Spice Girls were NOT A BAND. The term "band" is misused by the musically ignorant. Vocal groups that don't play instruments (N-Sync, Boyz2Men) are not bands!!!
The point is, there are plenty of good female bands out there! Stop the sexism!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
What an extraordinary pleasure it was to hear Paul and Ringo speak, and to see the remaining Beatle family on Larry King last night. I missed most of the Beatle craze but of course I'm familiar with many of their songs, and I made sure I caught A Hard Day's Night when it was shown at Film Forum in New York City for one weekend in 2001. I just wanted to post to give my thanks for the music because it really has been about the music for me, and also the lighthearted humor and messages of love that will surely inspire us for as long as the music will stay alive.
Paul, John, George and Ringo...They don't make guys like you anymore.
Show-g is a megapopular radio personality in Japan. His friends are stars like Janet Jackson, Usher, Justin Timberlake. It's mindboggling that he's right now promoting our music on his new official site alongside Mariah, Madonna, Whitney and more, but he is. We feel honored beyond belief. Visit the site and see it to believe it: FUNx3 show-g's Music News!
Please show us your love and request Sali Oguri and Fred Kimmel to be played on Show-g's radio shows. Keep independent music alive--THANK YOU for your continued support!!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Colorado-based indie perfumer and aromatherapist, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, has a unique system of skin chemistry analysis that blows these archaic notions out of the water. She has a mysterious and wonderful product called DSH Special Formula X that she uses to analyze individual skin chemistry with through a private consultation called "Smell and Tell". If you're like me and can't take time off to visit her in her studio, you could still buy DSH Special Formula X (DSH sfx) online and try to analyze the result of this musk on your own skin by following an instruction sheet she sends along with purchase, although the analysis probably won't be as accurate as if Dawn herself did the analyzing. Nevertheless, it's fun to do and takes some of the guesswork out of what types of scents work best for you.
The most interesting thing about my experience testing with DSH sfx at home was this: the result I got coincided with the scents I'm already naturally drawn to and love to wear. I don't know if other people got a similar result, but there may be something to this, touching the surface of how keen our intuition may be in choosing scents that resonate well with us. DSH sfx may be the very product to sharpen such an awareness, making perfuming more fun than ever. It's described on Dawn's website as follows: "The formula that I developed to “test” my clients' skin types in order to get a better impression of their chemistry. SO many have remarked, "I love THAT... I want THAT!" that I have decided to give it you. I feel this is my ULTIMATE skin scent! It truly (and simply) amplifies your own skin and reflects it back as soft clean skin. It's YOU... only better!". It's a basic musk fragrance but it's a very neutral scent, neither too sweet nor bitter, a little bit sharp and also typically both transparent and slightly powdery. If you're a fan of musk, you could even wear it just to enjoy, but how it'll smell on you remains the mystery. Visit www.dshperfumes.com
Some exciting news today from Dawn herself: She's visiting Japan for the first time this April! If you're in Tokyo, here's your chance to receive a consultation from Dawn in person.
"We're sending this special announcement to our DSH clients in Japan letting you know that Perfumer / Aromatherapist, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, will be in Tokyo in April and that she will be performing her signature "Smell & Tell" analysis and consultation. Consultations will be performed on a first-come first-served basis from 11 am until 5 pm on April 7, 2008. The cost for the consultation will be 7,000 yen and includes samples of the recommended perfumes. The consultation lasts around 45 minutes - 1 hour long. This will also give you a chance to meet Anzu at Undulate; our partner in Japan.
For more information, please contact Anzu at Undulate. We hope to meet you in Tokyo on April 7!"
803 2-21-13 AOBADAI MEGURO-KU TOKYO JAPAN ZIP153-0042
So the word on the street is that Sarah Jessica Parker of hit TV show Sex and the City fame helped inspire her Lovely perfume by Coty based on her love of Egyptian musk oil (the type of musk you'll find in Narciso Rodriguez For Her and her own Lovely) layered with Comme de Garçons Avignon (a heavy frankincense-myrrh-type incense blend marketed to men) and, of course, a great American cheapie named Bonne Bell Skin Musk which she revealed on a late night talk show when the host supposedly went nuts over her scent. Skin Musk is now made by Parfums de Coeur and it's still available at drugstores for around $10. I have the oil version; it's a nice musk that even I, not a diehard musk aficionada, can occasionally wear. I'd say it has a gingerlily-type of slightly sharp (soapy) and mildly spicy floralcy, not too far off from the spicy freshness you might find in the top notes of Gres Cabotine. I would describe Skin Musk as a floral musk, even though the floralcy is very muted, but the basic composition smells to me like your basic musk with lily of the valley, rose and a touch of sandalwood: a heavyish but transparent scent with powder if that makes sense.
There's a word in Japanese that describes the smell of musk very well for me, and that is "bettari". It even sounds like what it means: a heavy layer of something sticky, with a moist or flexible consistency. The light soapiness and muted, powdery floralcy make it a bit more charming to wear than "bettari" sounds, but that's what musk is in essence--a heavy, animalic base note, a fixative for lighter notes to be built upon. It can be perceived as a light scent by some, but by definition, musk is in the warm Oriental fragrance family. Chances are, if you like Lovely, or other musks like J Lo Glow, you might like Skin Musk, too, if you don't mind the drugstore quality (slightly after shave-ish to my nose, but still pretty nice for the price). Incidentally, I have Japanese friends who have told me that the one smell they think of as being all-American is the smell of musk. Is musk really that popular in the States that it characterizes us so?
Friday, March 28, 2008
I wasn't going to post the pic of the bottle because I really dislike it, but what the hey; it's got a vacationy mood I could use. It's bad enough the bottle is tin; did they need to embellish it with rainbow-colored lines of palm trees? But oh, the scent: If you're a fan as I am of Werther's Original caramel candies from Germany, Caramel Sunset comes close. I wore this coming home from a drizzly day in the city, and I felt happy to smell so good while trekking up and down the subway staircases and waiting around for my ride. Small pleasures go a long way sometimes. It's buttery sweet and scrumptious, with enough coconut vanilla to remind me of the warm, clear blue waters of the beaches of Aruba or The Bahamas (and kind of like the coconut and vanilla incense sticks I used to get at NYC oil shops). What's a little daydream like that--just a little personal satisfaction--worth to you? Another thing: Caramel Sunset lasts forever, like an entire day, even through a shower. The dry down is just a bit ozonic and musky but not enough to deter me from wanting to buy some. It's joy in a bottle to me, and if it's not to your liking, all I can say is it's my vacation, my joy, and as the saying goes: "the world didn't give it, the world can't take it away".
(Edited to add) I should have listened to my instinct that said it's too musky for me; otherwise, it's still a great fragrance!
Now, take wine, for instance. Why is red wine considered superior to white, anyway? Wine classification can be a serious thing, even governmental in places like France and Portugal. So, is there some rule that says Chypre perfume is superior to Oriental, or that spicy is better than mild, powder better than fruity, and is the bias as regionally based as it is with wine? What about spices--are these classified as high or low quality based on where they came from? These are the things I wonder about when we speak of having good, or correct, taste. I think about these things because so often, our so-called taste leads to how we are judged as people, by people who think our taste should be psychological indicators of who we really are. Why can't perfume enjoyment and wine-tasting all be in fun, without turning them into Olympic sports or worse--racism and classism which so often overlap?
I believe it's as with music, that what I consider to be good and worthy all depends on the individual song, not the artist or what genre the music's labeled as by an industry that tries to sell it. Then again, I am a musician, so when I hear music, it's not by style or performance but by things like good musical structure, theory, etc--all the things I try to get away from but after many years of being in it, they're a part of me. Still, I have never allowed stylistic biases to color how I appreciate music. If a piece of music happens to be played by musicians who sound like they took no more than one year of lessons, I'll still appreciate it--if I like what they're doing. But don't think music criticism is devoid of racism, either: When a critic calls the sounds of string instruments "elegant" and electronic "cheap", they're subversive messages that the high cost of classical training and instruments are far superior in style. Sure, quality instruments help and skill is an indication of quality, too, but what about inspiration and artistic talent that don't come from tangible, measurable, verbally explicable things?
Look--I love The Killers' first album, but I'd rather listen to the best Hannah Montana song before I listen to any song on Hot Fuss besides the first 4 tracks. Likewise, just because Classical music is indoctrinated in me as being "the best", and as grateful as I am to have played classical piano for my rudimentary training, it's not going to stop me from wanting to listen to anything else. People love The White Stripes, and that's OK--but would I call them great musicians? Why do we call singing groups boy bands? My one humble piece of advise to anyone reading this post now: Don't believe everything you hear, and judge things for yourself if you really want to learn to appreciate the arts. It's about appreciation, after all--of the work, of the person or persons who created what you appreciate, and not how you appear to others because of your alignment with someone else's opinions of someone else's work.
Remember, too, that rock music is black and yet black radio stations (yes, we have segregated radio stations here in the US) don't market rock to them. Tastemaking is often a deliberate act. Read more about the perfume industry and tastemaking: Color Coded by Chandler Burr, Published: October 22, 2006 in The New York TImes. (One more thing: "frantically motioned" in that article is one loaded terminology to describe the stereotypical behavior of the Japanese.)
Visit Perfume Critic by the icon of fragrant fabulosity, Marlen Harrison--see Pink Manhattan under the New & Noteworthy column!
Also check out the ever-popular and always up-to-date Now Smell This blog by Robin:
Many, many thanks to my dear, wonderful friends in the scented world of cyberspace and blogosphere for their kind support of the relaunching of Pink Manhattan Purrfume.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Check out the newest review of Pink Manhattan Purrfume! Hot off the press: The Glamorous Bee: Pink Manhattan Purrfume Returns by Bernadette Pasley, Thursday, March 27, 2008
Click on the bee pin pic to visit The Glamorous Bee: the blog to read for news on beauty, fashion, and all things glam!
(Image: Pink Manhattan Purrfume, Art & Design by Tiffany Kimmel)
(Image: Cover of the book, Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress by Melissa Farley, author of Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections and co-author of The Myth of the Victimless Crime By Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek,
Published: March 12, 2008 in The New York Times.)
Also read this article, Pornography and Its Apologists
Published by mkanderson, March 9, 2008 on Human Trafficking Watch blog.
What have we learned? Are women still put down for being the weaker and dumber sex, prone to psychosomatic disorders and reduced to less pay for lesser quality work? It can't be we're angry because of the injustices against us, or the fact that we're stereotyped to the point where we're nothing more than functional screw toys and babymaking machines, bleeding mood rings or the right brain incapable of spinning 3-dimensional objects in space (incidentally, I'm more left-brained than right-brained according to quizzes). Sometimes, I, too, feel like crawling into a cave and hibernating for awhile.
Meanwhile, we're starting to speak more openly about autism, probing what's known as a scientific-minded (rather it's high-systemizing), or male-minded disease which strikes boys 4-5 times more often than girls. We're saying it's environmental problems (Fact: Mercury binds to DNA, proven with a Vaccine Injury case won recently and compensated for by US gov't) but are we not admitting that the problem is that the mercury makes the Y chromosome or the effects of testosterone more extreme? Would anyone ever admit malemindedness itself is the root of many problems on Earth, the problem of systemizing logic devoid of sensibility which ought to come from intuition aka wisdom? This isn't only seen in the autistic spectrum but in "normal" society. What about self-centeredness and the inability to communicate which leads to frustration and possibly aggression and violence--would you say these are more male or female traits? Thank goodness for the women who are qualified to help children with autism learn, speak, integrate within society and come out of him/herself, out of autistic symptoms. It goes to show women are extremely logical and still capable of dealing with complex problems.
However, watch scientists blame women for the extreme malemindedness problem--it wouldn't be new--such blame would be typical. Female chromosome has X factor By Julianna Kettlewell reads: "A host of nasty diseases and disorders sit on the human X chromosome, including haemophilia, autism, muscular dystrophy and mental retardation." Everywhere I turn, we're blaming the egg while the Y chromosome is almost always deemed perfect. We're not just weaker and less intelligent--as history would have it, we're the root of all problems, making another case for unreasonable male anger that says they can do whatever they want because 1. they think they can, and 2. it's our fault we made them that way. Well, at least we now know about Thimerosal, the preservative in vaccines (and still in the flu shot!). The female X chromosome did not produce that.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I once had a favorite sachet gifted to me by a friend: a heart-shaped, lacy, girly thing by Victoria's Secret. I'm not a fan of frilly, bridal-Limoges tea sets-and-petticoats-learn-to-be-quiet-and-willing (as opposed to willful)-girls-type things at all, but I liked the smell of the sachet which eventually faded. The potpourri inside had dried petals in hues of dark pink and purple, and I had always longed to find out what that scent combination was. Years later, I've come to understand that the blend was a classic Victorian posy-type of rose and violet (and possibly jasmine) combination. I also now know that many cosmetics, lipsticks and glosses in particular, have been scented with this smell, which is why whenever I smell it, I'm reminded of young girls' makeup. Maybe it's all part of the industry's plan to remind us of all girly things whenever we smell it. The scent is sweet, even hypersweet, like violet candies made sweeter with the robust, bright smell of a colorful rose, married classically to jasmine to make it full. Here are some of the rose-violet fragrances I've come across and particularly liked:
Les Parfums de Rosine La Rose de Rosine (relaunched 1991): According to 1000 Fragrances blog, it was Poiret's first fragrance, created in 1912. This is a pure rose-violet to me with equal parts of each, a balance which I admire and haven't found in many others. On dry down, I get a dazzling jasmine note to make it extraordinarily queenly and sensual. Overall, this is very close to the smell of the Victoria's Secret potpourri smell I was after, and it also smells very much like an oil-based lip gloss I used to have as a young tween--the roll-on type that made my lips very, very shiny. It also reminds me of the hypersweetness I found in some late '80s-early '90s Florals like Burberry Society (1991), Princess Marcella Borghese Il Bacio (1993), Liz Claiborne Vivid (1993), Gale Hayman Delicious (1993) and Fred Hayman 273 (1989), but this is still rather sophisticated, even for such a sweet, candied flowery scent.
L'Artisan Parfumeur Drôle de Rose (1994): Imagine the above but a little more subdued, and by that, I mean more ethereal. I love the balance of equal parts rose and violet in this, too, but for me, it's too musky. If you like powdery White Musk, I think this is a lovely fragrance--sweet with a light touch of that old-fashioned posy / lipstick smell. It's sweetened enough that it doesn't smell like sharp violets, as many violet-scented products tend to smell. This one is soft and pretty, with a leather base that adds to the baby oil-like muskiness of it (if you've tried Habanita or Bandit, you might have an idea what that type of base can smell like). WIth a bit of orange blossom in the mix, it's like an angel-on-a-cloud, not too stuffy and a bit playful like cotton candy.
Other rose violets I would reccomend are Guerlain Meteorites (2000) and Escada Sentiment (2000), both of which are more violet-focused but are sweet scents in the same theme. These are greener than the above and slightly sharper, yet they are densely powdery. Since we're more or less on the subject, Penhaligon's Victorian Posy: There are two types. While neither one smells to me like rose-violet, the older formulation (1979) in the dark green packaging is a spicier, richer Green Floral Chypre. The newer one which is barely recognizable to me is a sharp green floral like Sarah Jessica Parker Covet or Red Flower Wild Cherry Blossom Rice Scrub.
Personally, I think if I didn't attach the scent of rose-violet to the concepts it represents in our society, I might wear it more. I wish being a girl didn't come with a specific rule book on how to behave to be considered girly, especially if that rule is about quieting down. I want girls to be empowered and able to fend for themselves in their daily lives, something you can't do fearlessly if you're taught your job is to be a wallflower, that it's only virtuous to let men take all the glory. I wish boys would be taught the same virtues as girls--if we're going to teach humility and servitude at all.
"In the flowers which Mary most loved, her Father was accustomed to point out the emblems of those Christian graces which adorns the character. Once in the early part of March, when, with transports of joy, she brought the first violet, he said, "Let this charming violet serve as an image of humility, of reserve, and of ready, though always discreet, disposition to oblige. Its clothing has the colour appropriated to modesty; it loves to flourish in places retired from common observation; and from beneath the leaves which cover it, it embalms the air with the most delicate fragrance. So, my dear child, may you be, like the violet, a lover of silence, disdaining the show of gaudy colours, never seeking to attract unnecessary notice, but striving to do good, without parade, so long as the flower of your life shall bloom." -- The Cathedral by Joris-Karl Huysmans, translated by Clara Bell, Chapter VII, First published in France in 1898.
OK, I lied. No, not in the outrageous way Hillary Clinton misspoke about Bosnia, but I hadn't told the complete truth when I'd written that my favorite Serge Lutens fragrances were Fumerie Turque, Vetiver Oriental, Gris Clair, Tubereuse Criminelle (I probably couldn't tolerate this one anymore, although I still admire it) and Un Lys. The truth is, I love Un Lys like I can't imagine my life without it. I'm saddened it's so hard to get here in the US, so I downplay how much I adore it. Perfection of a Madonna lily, it's hauntingly true-to-life, majestic and heady with an intense, lilac-like nectar-filled opening--and then, like a dream sequence, vanilla comes to save it from being a mundane soliflore, making the lily beyond perfect, pushing reality into a surreal realm: a lily that couldn't possibly smell more natural than it is. This is the smell of lily on skin as it should smell, if my flesh were made of a more ideal material. Unfortunately for me, such a perfect scent only brings out the imperfections in me when I wear it.
A wise and fabulous perfumista once told me of her impressions of the Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido Serge Lutens line of fragrances from her Japanese perspective (Japanese living in Japan, unlike myself). She thought of them as simple combinations of scents made to smell like incense, made to fit the Japanese aesthetic. It makes sense; all of the scents are indeed simple combinations of elements, as three-dimensional as they are in olfactive space--they're maximalist-minimalist in a way, too--big, heavy scents created with few elements. Un Lys is to me a study of or meditation on two notes: lily and vanilla, and even though the floralcy seems overwhelming in the beginning, the delicious, heavenly vanillic dry down is worth the wait in the end. It's a slow evolution to get to that satisfying stage, and here's another truth: I didn't love it at first because of the intense floralcy, so I'd say give it a few tries before writing it off. It's not your average lily after all, so, like appreciating a piece of classical or jazz music, or an arthouse film, you'll need to exercise some patience. In my heart of hearts, I wish it had just a dollop more creamy vanilla, but I won't complain--too much.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sali Oguri: "My approach to perfume composition mirrors my approach to music making. It's a combination of meticulously chosen notes built with equal parts control and abandon. Pink Manhattan is my homage to this great city I love and am continually inspired by."
Cult fragrance hit Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume is back for a limited time with a new look in a new size (1/3 fl. oz.). Exclusively sold through Sali Oguri Official Website. For details on how to order, please click on the pic or visit www.salioguri.com (link to Fragrance page).
Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume
Pure perfume oil roll-on- Made in NYC
As seen on Lucky Scent, b-glowing, La Creme Beauty, Luilei NY
Monday, March 24, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008, 7:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2 (Discussion with Soda)
The filmmaker introduces his debut feature, Campaign, as part of Contemporasian. The film will also be shown on April 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, with no filmmaker introduction.
Senkyo (Campaign). 2007. Japan. Directed by Kazuhiro Soda. Soda's debut feature, shot in cinéma vérité style, follows his former Tokyo University classmate Kazuhiko Yamauchi's run as a "parachute" candidate for Japan's powerful Liberal Democratic Party in a crucial local district. With no prior experience in politics, no supporters, a lack of charisma, and dwindling funds, Yamauchi's greatest asset is his ability to keep smiling under any circumstances, amid humiliations public, political, and private. This fly-on-the-wall view of street-level politics cleverly reveals much about the true nature of "democracy." In Japanese; English subtitles. 119 min.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Thursday, April 10, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Friday, April 11, 2008, 8:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 3:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Sunday, April 13, 2008, 2:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
11 West 53 Street,
between Fifth and Sixth avenues
New York, NY 10019-5497
For those of you who are familiar with Bernadette of The Glamorous Bee blog, here's something you might not have known before: the 20-year Bronx resident is an avid baseball fan, the founder and owner of Out Of Write Field, and she also writes her own baseball blog, Lady At The Bat. The multifaceted Bernadette will be co-hosting a new internet radio show called "A Show of Their Own" starting tonight, Monday, March 24th, 2008 at 11PM EST. Click here to link to BlogTalkRadio.
A Show of Their Own
Two ladies, Brit and Bern, discuss news and notes about their favorite team, the New York Yankees. Join the ladies and special guests every Monday night at 11:00 PM for all the latest on the 26-time World Champions!
Visit them on My Space.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Guerlain Cruel Gardenia (2008) is to me a faint but sweet peach-gardenia which, especially in the opening stage, smells absolutely yummy, like Japanese peach candy, if only you could catch the smell in the air--mixed with the skin creamy, fizzy-mossy smell of Estée Lauder White Linen that takes center stage. As it dries down, the powdery makeup (maquillage) smell gets even stronger, and I think if I smelled this on someone, I'd think she was wearing Hermès Calèche. I'm so glad I've had the chance to sample it. As for me, I'm not S&M material--I need just a little more of the good stuff at face value and less Aldehydic vintage powder to tame what I desire. My trusted perfume decanter, Fishbone96, is now offering 1ml samples of this limited edition fragrance.
I'm reviewing the original Chloé from 1975 in this post because I didn't have much to write about the new Chloé except that it's a simple marine Floral in the vein of Geir Ness Laila and Liz Claiborne Curve to me (the bottle is very pretty, though). If you love heady, sweet, delectable tropical white florals, you might love Chloé. It is quite a bit heavier than the new version, and a different scent altogether. I might compare it to Michael by Michael Kors, Robert Piguet Fracas, Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Bond Saks Fifth Avenue, Carolina Herrera, Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion, Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse, Creed Tubereuse Indiana and still maybe a hundred other white florals, but Chloé is unique. I think it has a tiny tinge of an indolic edge to it due to an abundance of jasmine which might be hard to tolerate for some. When I first got a mini of it, I didn't quite understand the scent--I liked it enough but thought it smelled like pencil shavings for some reason. Now, I can tell it's a tuberose blend with other distinctive florals such as narcissus, orange blossom, orris and rose on a sweet, rich base of ambery woods. It's strong, so a tiny bit will create a powerful sillage. Chloé is an intoxicating, gorgeous scent, known to be a favorite of one of my musical inspirations, Olivia Newton-John, so much so that she named her daughter Chloé.
The bottle is a little bizarre to me, but I suppose it's not nearly as freaky as the bottle for Christian Lacroix C'est La Vie.
Back in 1935 when Evyan White Shoulders was born, white skin was routinely fetishized, as it was accepted for toiletries--soaps and perfumes--to be marketed to a specific demographic group only, to be used to perpetuate racist notions of the cultural difference in hygiene among people. Nowadays, such a concept would of course be considered completely vulgar, unacceptable and out of date, but almost 60 years later, this perfume remains a popular favorite. I think the vintage scent is still pretty swell: a creamy tuberose (a sweet, delectable white floral native to Mexico) with a classic touch of orris (smells like violets), a hint of sobriety within an otherwise intoxicating bouquet. In Jan Moran's book, Fabulous Fragrances II, Barbara Bush is listed as a fan of this heady tuberose scent. Today, it's a drugstore perfume with a loyal following, and the loyal fan base extends to people who don't have "white shoulders". Evyan as far as I've been able to research was a New York company, but I'd like to know for sure whether it is in fact a New York brand. This city surely loves bodacious, fleshy, tropical white florals redolent of bold self-confidence and beaming optimism--star quality, if you will. If Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Robert Piguet Fracas, Michael by Michael Kors and Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia aren't in your budget this week, give White Shoulders a try--it might fulfill the tuberose urge and delight you beyond your wildest expectations.
Jan Moran's Notes:
Evyan White Shoulders (1935 Floral)
Top Notes: Neroli, tuberose, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Gardenia, jasmine, orris, lily of the valley, rose, lilac
Base Notes: Sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss
(Image: Evyan White Shoulders advertisement from the 1970s)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The You Tube video is an excerpt of the full speech. I also wanted to share parts of the speech (not all in the video) in written form below. You can also link to the full speech and transcript at the link at the end of the post. The only thing I will interject here is that I highly recommend everyone to visit a black church at least once to understand, and to be blessed as I have by my experiences living among African-Americans, and the African-American community at large, here in the United States.
(excerpt) "I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
(excerpt) "The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.
"Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
"Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.
"Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.
"A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.
"This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.
"But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.
"And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
A review of this luminous, ethereal beauty is long overdue. L'Instant de Guerlain wasn't love at first sniff for me--in fact, I thought it smelled an awful lot like Dior Addict at first (which I have but rarely wear), and felt I didn't need it. I was wrong; L'Instant on my skin brings out the most beautiful purple flowers: magnolias and lilac-like notes on a sweet base of vanilla, mingling with notes I can't pick out but I know they work in a harmonious but untraditional and unpredictable way. To me, L'Instant is like edible flowers and a drop of honey on the airiest piece of cake, or a modernized Guerlinade, the base for most, if not all, of the classic Guerlain perfumes (but I can't wear Guerlinade by itself for some strange reason--L'Instant, I can wear). What could it have been about L'Instant that smelled to me like Addict? Do you detect any flour-type of note in either one? I do. I think whatever that note is ties them together. They were created back-to-back, Addict in 2002 and L'Instant 2003, perhaps sharing some new ingredients of the time.
I haven't ventured out into the flanker scents, L'Instant Eau de Noel (Iris Millesime), Fleur de Mandarine or Magic, and I'm not sure I ever will. L'Instant, the original, is perfect, and I tend to stick with things I find ideal. Remember--I am the one who likes her vanillas to taste like vanilla; fruits and chocolate only ruin a good Crème Brûlée for me. I wouldn't change a thing about L'Instant--none of its mysterious, sheer and subtle yet substantial, flowery-yet-sensual, elegant-yet-modern, rare, unique quality, nor would I jack it up with accessories. I've finally run out of my 1.7 fl. oz. EDP in a sleek and stunning heavy glass bottle with graduated lavender hues, and I'm hoping the perfume fairy might grant me some more soon.
(Images: pubsparfums.free.fr, perfumecountry.com)
1. Dior Addict Shine
2. Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Hot
3. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
4. Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche
5. Burberry The Beat
6. Guerlain My Insolence
7. Laura Biagiotti Venezia
8. Shiseido White Rose
9. Davidoff Cool Water, Pierre Balmain Ivoire (tied)
10. Marc Jacobs Blush, Guerlain Vol de Nuit (tied)
Most popular topic unrelated to perfume: Peter Max
Monday, March 17, 2008
I've read that Jackie O loved both Fleurissimo and Valentino perfumes. Fleurissimo is also notoriously favored by Queen Elizabeth II (who also wore Blue Grass) and Madonna (Fracas lover).
Notes on Perfumemart:
Creed Fleurissimo (1972 Floral): Tuberose, violet, rose, iris
I was wrong about Revlon Charlie being the first to feature a model wearing a pantsuit in a perfume ad. Behold, this cool, space-age mod advertisement (hello, Princess Leia) of Estée Lauder Estée (1968). Here's the story behind the discovery of this scent: believe it or not, I once mistook it for Creed Spring Flower at a rock club! I don't remember if I was there at the club to perform or to hear another band, but I remember the fresh, lively floral scent with a green breezy quality, and how beautiful I thought it smelled in the otherwise sweaty, boozy air. When a woman came over to say hello to us, I knew it was her perfume, so I asked her what it was. To my delight and gratitude, she shared it with me; she bashfully whispered it was "an old perfume she's been wearing forever, named Estée". I thanked her and told her I thought it was beautiful and fresh-smelling, and I wanted to get some for myself. She was so happy to hear that. It turned out she was there to support her sons in a band that was performing that night. She looked dynamite--I never would have guessed she wasn't there to perform herself.
When I got a generous decant of it from a perffriend of mine, I was surprised to find the scent in the bottle spicier than it came across in the sillage. It actually smelled a lot like Aliage but more floral, but still rather green and mossy, soft and deep, like a forest floor. I'm not sure it smelled half as lovely on me as it did on the woman at the club, but I think Estée is one of those classic Floral perfumes that will always be appreciated by perfumistas in-the-know. It's a well-made, wonderfully balanced composition, like a Spring fragrance with just a hint of classical Chypre elements (mostly due to the abundance of oakmoss) and a dash of spice as if to point out it's a distant relative of Youth Dew (but I wouldn't compare it to Youth Dew--Estée is much lighter and springier than that).
Notes on Esteelauder.com:
In this signature scent, introduced in 1968, notes of jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang create a fragrance that is classically feminine and sweetly floral. This warmth is balanced by the surprising sparkle of raspberry, peach and citrus oils.
Fragrance Type: Floral/Warm
Top Notes: Jasmine, Rose, Muguet
Middle Notes: Coriander, Ylang-Ylang, Orris
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Moss
(I wonder where the fruity notes are in this list of notes...)
Here are additional notes listed by Jan Moran that put what I initially smelled into perspective:
Estée Lauder Estée (1968 Floral)
Top Notes: Peach, raspberry, citrus oils
Heart Notes: Rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, carnation, ylang-ylang, honey, orris
Base Notes: Cedarwood, musk, moss, sandalwood, styrax
Christian Dior Diorella - January 05, 2013
Revlon Charlie - February 27, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Pick up your copy of the Sunday edition of the New York Times today and read The Medium: Good Vibrations by Virginia Heffernan, Published: March 16, 2008 in The New York Times Magazine. Pink Manhattan blog is mentioned under This Week's Recommendations on page 24.
I'll admit Réplique wasn't a perfume I'd ever heard of until I became active in cyberperfumeworld. In the year 2001, I found myself addicted to a perfume forum named Long Lost Perfume, where serious, lifelong perfumistas who owned perfume reference books by H&R, whose collections dwarfed mine (we were compiling Top 1000 favorite perfumes), put whatever perfume knowledge I had accumulated up until that point to shame. There was talk there of Millot Crepe de Chine, Le Galion Snob, Trigere Liquid Chic. After a couple of years, most of us moved onto a private forum on Delphi where we further discussed synthetics versus naturals, olfactive families and their subjectivity, inside info such as how Caron had discontinued their heart-shaped limoge presentation of (the original) Montaigne because they were afriaid the metal cap was tainting the juice. We discussed Bombshell Manual of Style's list of bombshell perfumes, defended our love of "old lady" perfumes (and fought against the use of ageist language that divides women) and "generic fruity florals" which everybody supposedly hates and yet are bestsellers each year. We talked about how pregnancy changed our taste in perfume, how perfume helped us get through the fears, and how the industry loved using very young models in compromising positions in perfume ads. Those were the golden years in online perfume talk--candid, intelligent and respectfully varied in opinions.
It wasn't any conscious decision but I moved out of forums where voices inevitably became more and more unified, into blogosphere where I can freely discover my own perfume psyche. I've been very impressed with the level of knowledge out there on other blogs I visit, as well as genuinely moved by the creativity and the expressions of love for my favorite and not so favorite scents. On blogs where perfume lovers mused openly and freely, one never knew which perfume one might run into next. Somewhere on my walk along the scented promenade, I heard about a Rita Hayworth favorite named Réplique. Now, I'd already heard she loved Shalimar and Arpege, so I figured she must have loved voluptuous, fairly sweet scents, with more than a dash of spice. I could imagine her wearing Must de Cartier which is Shalimar-esque; could Replique be similar? It turns out, I'd lucked out on a vintage Replique miniature parfum in my eBay lot, and here I have it. I'm only pulling out this perfect little replica of the crystal flacon at times like these, when I'm going to meditate upon its scent, a scent that must speak volumes in memories for those who remember it.
Raphael Réplique (1944 according to Basenotes) is classified as a refined, woody, mossy fragrance (Fragrancex.com). The notes I can find are listed on fragrancenet.com as sensual moss, fruit and woods. Irmashorell.net lists additional notes, based on the original formula according to the website. To me, it's almost like a halfway point between Shalimar and Arpege. No, really, and I mean aside from the fact that the perfumer's pallete wasn't as developed as it is now with so many new notes, much like vintage synth sounds on a keyboard all used to sound kinda similar. To break it down, it has some citrus with aldehydes on top, sizzling but not brash spices, and warm, sweet woody-ambery base notes, a simultaneously sparkling and earthy quality. It's actually greener than both of them being Chypre, and a glamorous, dazzling one at that, like Deneuve or Miss Dior (1947), but it has an introspective, sweet, Oriental character to give it, for lack of a better analogy, sensuality--plus the understated refinement of an Aldehydic Floral, powdery smooth with a soapy overtone. It's not as sweet as Must de Cartier, and it leans towards something more vintage like Toujours Moi or Revlon Intimate, but it's definitely a grand dame sort of bombshell perfume--yes, I think a perfume, like a woman, can be mature, refined and sexy. I have the strong, smart women on the forums I came out to thank for that bit of knowledge.
The fun thing about perfume is, in the end, it's all subjective. Someone else might smell Replique and say it smells like young girls' skin or a middle aged man's after shave. The true gospel of perfumistadom breaks down all gender and age-based stereotypes and sets us free, which is how I can love a perfume called Replique 61 years after its launch and just take it for what it is: perfume.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Pink Manhattan blog by Sali Oguri has been mentioned in The New York Times Magazine (www.nytimes.com) here: The Medium: Good Vibrations by Virginia Heffernan, Published: March 16, 2008 under This Week's Recommendations. As you can imagine, I'm very excited about this. Congratulations to all my fellow bloggers whose blogs also received mention, and thanks to all my readers for your continued support.
Meowzers. This is sexy stuff. When I use that term, I don't really have any specific gender or look in mind; I just mean whoever you are, this scent will bring out "more" of you. After all, they say confidence is what makes a person sexy, right? I'm about to review the vintage parfum which is very hard to find now, but if you look around, you might be able to find some good deals on the miniature 4ml parfums, gorgeous little replicas of the original gold-cased bottles shaped like a lighter. The scent is a warm, somewhat spicy Oriental in the vein of Calvin Klein Obsession (but richer) or Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur (but less animalic), and vaguely related to the queen of all Oriental perfumes, Guerlain Shalimar (but sweeter, more vanillic-ambery to me). Other ambery perfumes you might like that are similar in style are Anne Pliska and L'Artisan Parfumeur Ambre Extreme, but for me, Must de Cartier is the purrfect evening arsenal of choice.
Actually, I don't just wear ambery sweet scents at night. With the weather turning warmer, I'm moving away from the bold, heavy and woody Chypre, and craving sweet, softly powdery (but more balsamic, not baby-powdery) Oriental-Ambery scents. Oriental is still a heavy olfactive family, so I tend to apply a small enough amount to not suffocate the entire room. Traditionally, spicy or heavy scents are said to work best after five, or in the cold. Must is a bit spicy but not too spicy for me. I shy away from spicy scents such as Dana Tabu, Ormonde Jayne Tolu, Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles, Caron Parfum Sacre, Jean Patou Divine Folie or Yves Saint-Laurent Nu. As much as I respect the classic Estee Lauder Youth Dew and YSL Opium, or the famed "florists' cooler" marvel, JAR Golconda, sadly, I just get Big Red gum. However, I can wear Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque and Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, both spicy with cinnamon or clovey carnation somewhere in the blends. In the case of Must de Cartier, whatever carnation is in here is subdued by mellow ambery-vanillic-balsamic notes. It's also sweet enough that risktaking Gourmand lovers might find it can fit the bill for a vintage scent even a modern perfumista can wear.
I used to wear Panthere de Cartier more or less as a signature for some time; nowadays, I feel Must is more my speed, but they share a similar sensual and extravagant effect; they're both fragrances with an ambery base, although Panthere is the more floral of the two and Must more spicy and musky. They also both feature some peach in the mix, a note I find very natural melded with skin. Cartier knows how to do jewelry, watches and perfume; check out the other scents, including the Men's, in this luxury line.
Jan Moran's Notes:
Must de Cartier (1981 Oriental-Ambery)
Top Notes: Bergamot, tangerine, lemon, aldehydes, peach, rosewood
Heart Notes: Jasmine, leather, carnation, ylang-ylang, orris, orchid
Base Notes: Musk, amber
Gabriele Strehle Strenesse (2001 Floral-Oriental)
Notes from www.strenesse-parfum.com:
floral-oriental, fruity, sweet-ambery
Top Notes: Peach Blossom, Almond Flower, Bergamot
Heart Notes: Jasmin, Heliotrope, Lily of the valley
Base Notes: Iris wood, Sandalwood, Amber, Vanilla
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Click on the logo and listen to UK Euro Show on Blue Radio in London from 10pm-1am, in NYC from 5pm-8pm EST.