La Shana Tova!
Jewish Year 5769: sunset September 29, 2008 - nightfall October 1, 2008
I'm sure I've mentioned my love for Jil Sander No.4 before, but it really deserves its own post. This is a gorgeous "bombshell" perfume if ever there was one. I've smelled many fragrances in the Jil Sander line from her first launch (a tuberose-based white floral bouquet in the vein of Molinard de Molinard) to the more recent launches, most of which are vanillic or aqueous-ozonic mainstream offerings, but No.4 is the one I would consider a masterpiece in the line. I found it a few years ago at Sephora before they stopped carrying it. I remember seeing these stunningly sleek, heavy glass bottles on their clearance shelf, thinking how handsome they were. I understood the scent was a bit heavy and overtly perfumey for many people, but I thought it was a grand fragrance, and I brought a bottle home from that sale. The headiness brings to mind other tuberose-ambers such as Oscar de LaRenta Volupte, Gres Cabotine, the original Valentino and Creed Fleurissimo, but add to these the animalic notes of grey ambergris and it comes closer to the rich, dark, woody-ambery floralcy of Creed Tubereuse Indiana, only more focused on rose, and also more transparent (but still heavy). I smell in it violets and plummy, glistening fruit notes that give it a purple-y jewel-toned glow, a particularly sweet and rich, almost candied heart.
What makes Jil Sander No.4 special is that it manages to smell minimalist and modern at the same time being a classic Floral Oriental. Not many perfumes can walk that fine line convincingly, but Jil Sander No.4 is, like Wynton Marsalis, effective at playing both Classical and Jazz authentically (although in the case of Jil Sander No.4, it's more like Classical and Adult Contemporary, or something like that). For those of you who can't wear indolic jasmines, No.4 might smell too animalic. For me, the level of animalic notes is just right, but I tend to wear this fragrance in small amounts so I don't overwhelm those around me. According to Jan Moran's book, Fabulous Fragrances II, Kim Basinger is one of the fans of this seductive and unforgettable fragrance.
Notes according to Jan Moran:
Jil Sander No.4 (1992 Floral - Oriental)
Top Notes: Light rose, geranium, peach, plum, galbanum
Heart Notes: Violets, jasmine, rose, tuberose, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, carnation, tarragon, myrrh
Base Notes: Grey ambergris, moss, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli, musk
If it weren't for Ralph Nader, New Yorkers would still be eating hot dogs with rat tails in 'em. He's done so much for consumers as a true advocate, and I hope more people will know about his works. He may not have a chance in hell at becoming president this year, but I think it's nice to have a candidate who isn't pushing for new nuclear power plants, who cares about Green issues like public health and safety. I'm dedicating this post to say thanks for all you do, Mr. Nader. Oh, and clever ad - I like it.
Notes on Tangled Up In L'Heure Bleue blog:
Guerlain Nahéma (1979)
Head Notes: Peach, bergamot, hesperidic notes.
Heart Notes: Hyacinth, Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lilac.
Bottom Notes: Balsam, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka.
Read more about Guerlain Nahéma on Tangled Up In L'Heure Bleue: Nahéma, Daughter of Fire.
(Image: Guerlain Nahéma advertisement, 1981)
Flower By Kenzo isn't exactly a flowery perfume, but if you meditated upon it for an extended period, you would discover the floral heart (sweet, delectable fleur d'oranger) lurking beneath the enigmatic surface. If you're familiar with Chanel No.5, the powdery, understated skin scent would probably make more sense to you. Otherwise, Flower can come across as a strange scent. I'll admit it's a scent that grew on me over time. I think it's an exceptionally well done fragrance, especially for a mainstream offering. It doesn't smell like a typical mall scent, yet its global popularity can rival that of Juicy Couture, Angel or Prada. Imagine a scent that borrows the musky floral elements from Cacharel Noa, and the spicy, peppery top notes of Givenchy Hot Couture, finished with a velvet-powdery maquillage touch of Chanel No.5, and perhaps you'll have it. You'll also need some prickly wildflowers, an herbaceous dash of hawthorn in the mix, and now you can understand the imagery of the wild red poppy presented artfully in a preserved flower-motif bottle. The expertise combination of Japanese and Parisian sensibilities is as symbiotic in Kenzo's creations as lacquer and glass.
In an economically turbulent time, when a $6 bottle of maple syrup is worth its weight in gold and a handful of blueberries costs nearly $5, a whiff of the perfect perfume that's been in my collection for so long brings a moment of contentment to my heart. The weather is slightly cooler today, and Autumn in New York is around the bend. As we step into Fall '08, I find myself wearing a whole lot of Chanel No.5. Is it that No.5 seems to be the most practical perfume, one that can carry me through almost any social situation from morning till night, or that it's the ultimate classic scent of sophistication (or, if you prefer, odor of elitism) that sends out a message of both strength and softness at once? Perhaps it's true that uncertainty makes us desire familiarity. However we perceive No.5, Chanel is still here, and so are the many choices of Aldehydic Florals following in its kittenish glamorous steps. Here are some of my current favorite scents I've been wearing this month, including some oddball choices to keep life just unpredictable enough that it stays interesting:
1. Chanel No.5
2. Guerlain Liu
3. Guerlain Cuir Beluga
4. Frederic Malle Iris Poudre
5. Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
6. Guerlain L'Instant
7. Chanel No.22
8. Heeley Iris de Nuit
9. Guerlain L'Heure Bleue
10. Caron En Avion
11. Nina by Nina Ricci
12. Kate by Kate Moss
13. Paco Rabanne Calandre
14. Caron Nocturnes
15. Penhaligon's Artemisia
16. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
17. Amouage Gold
18. Serge Lutens Un Lys
19. Demeter Junior Mints
20. Guerlain Metallica
(Edited to say) I am still very much in love with Hermès Un Jardin Après la Mousson but I think it's better suited for a hot summer day.
Now, I must admit I detect some white musk in the Heeley which is starting to turn me off, and I don't know how long I'll have it in my Top 10; however, until I find a replacement iris, it's the closest thing to my soliflore iris holy grail. I'm still waiting to try Creed Floralie which I believe is launching (or has already launched) this Fall. I have yet to try Chanel Beige but a sample is coming to me soon, along with a small decant of Kilian Straight to Heaven. What else? Oh, yes, I've recently noticed that the reissued Guerlain Liu EDP is very similar to Guerlain Metallica (Metalys) but lighter and decidedly more aldehydic. I'm also wearing Metallica again, but I recently received a comment that it smells like ramen on me, which of course is most unappetizing to hear. It's a lovely scent and I'm sure I'll get over it. I'm still dreaming of bottles of Guerlain Cuir Beluga and Caron En Avion, although my stash of Chanel No.5 parfum is low and I think it'll have to come first - we'll see how long this brand new love (again) of classic powdery scent shall last.
Have a peaceful weekend, everyone.
(Image: Catherine Deneuve in a Chanel No.5 body creme ad, 1979)
This just in from director Kazuhiro Soda:
"I'm excited to announce that my newly completed observational documentary MENTAL (Original title: SEISHIN, 2008, 135 minutes, color) has been officially invited to the competition of "Wide Angle" section of Pusan International Film Festival to be held from October 2nd until 10th. It's going to be a world premiere. I will attend the festival and my screenings.
"MENTAL is a feature-length documentary that observes the complex world of an outpatient mental health clinic in Japan, interwoven with patients, doctors, staff, volunteers, and home-helpers, in cinema-verite style, without using narration, super-imposed titles, or music. The film breaks a major taboo against discussing mental illness prevalent in Japanese society, and captures the candid lives of people coping with suicidal tendencies, poverty, a sense of shame, apprehension, and fear of society.
"The film has received some grant from Asian Network of Documentary (AND) fund managed by Pusan International Film Festival. I will attend the award ceremony to be held during the festival.
"Please check our official website for more info on MENTAL, such as synopsis, director's statement, and a trailer.
"For questions and interview requests, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!"
SCREENING SCHEDULE AT PUSAN FILM FESTIVAL
Friday, Oct 3 at 20:00
Monday, Oct 6 at 13:30
Bronnley is an English brand known for providing amenities to the luxury hotel market. I would say their quality may be comparable to that of Floris and Caswell-Massey. From soaps to sachets, body colognes and eau de toilettes, Bronnley offers classic fragrances such as Pink Bouquet, Blue Poppy, Lavender, English Fern and the fragrance I'll focus on in this post, White Iris. There are also newer, more modern fragrances available in the line such as Tulip (this is a nice, fresh floral with a touch of fruit) and Apricot Almond (it sounds delicious, doesn't it?).
White Iris is to my nose an Aldehydic Floral in Chanel No.5's vein but of course modified as a much simpler, cleaner, "bath and body" type of scent. It's almost like a cross between, say, No.5, Fresh Mukki and Floris White Rose. It definitely has an old-fashioned appeal, although the lovely, fresh and somewhat heady and sweet floralcy combined with powdery soft aldehydes is attractive to my modern senses. No, it's not quite Chanel No.5 or Guerlain Liu, but it conveys a sophisticated aura at the same time being an easy-to-love, classic English garden floral. Overall, I find in it an understated elegance, the delicate frills of English lace and the austerity of a starched shirt at once, a polished prettiness as one could expect from a fine English fragrance house.
Notes on shoplondons.com:
Bronnley White Iris - orange and bergamot blended with jonquille, geranium, vetiver, sandalwood and rich immortelle
It seems I've been on an iris kick, and here is another new favorite of mine, although it's quite different from my other latest discovery, Heeley Iris de Nuit. To compare the two, the very chic and streamlined Heeley Iris de Nuit is a bolder, woodier iris (think White Tea meets Eau de Cartier just a little), and this soft and powdery sweet iris blend is a Floral Oriental blend of ambery vanillic heliotropic notes and a touch of star anise. I keep thinking I smell lemon and lime in it although they aren't listed notes. At first, Odori Iris reminded me of DSH Celadon: a Velvet Green, but then I discovered the star anise and thought the overall composition was a bit like Armani Code but softer and simpler. I am wild about this Odori Iris, and might put it on the holiday wish list, possibly bypassing Cuir Beluga and a few other things I'd been planning to get and still haven't. (Edited to add) It's a great scent but very faint...I need to test it a few more times before deciding.
Odori Iris (2008)
Notes on Lucky Scent:
Star anise, heliotrope flowers, Madagascar ylang ylang, iris from Florence, oriental amber, bourbon vanilla
I have a passion for all things vanilla and custard, and among my favorite desserts of all time is Crème Brûlée, preferably without embellishments such as fruits and chocolate. Being a Gourmand lover, I also like to wear the scent of Crème Brûlée as perfume, provided it's rendered well. I've tried a handful of different Crème Brûlée blends, and so far, these are my top picks, but I'm sure I'll be testing more of them in the future. Here are my brief takes on some of the Crème Brûlée fragrances that have recently rocked my world:
I'm very addicted to this stuff. Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée is just about the most delicious-smelling thing on earth, but I prefer it in sugar scrub form than as an eau de toilette. The EDT smells a bit too strong and ozonic to me, similar in effect to an etailer scent I once almost loved enough to buy called "Vanilla Ice Cream" (but they are very similar if you feel like tracking down the lesser known and more affordable fragrance). In scrub form, the scent is milder and much more tolerable. Even the scrub is intensely scented, so after showering with it, I don't feel the need to reinforce the scent with EDT (it doesn't last too long, though). I usually only wash with Dr. Bronner pure castile soap, but every now and then when I choose to deviate, Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée's got my back.
The Sephora brand Crème Brûlée was a big surprise to discover. I wouldn't have tried it except a very lovely daughter of a good friend wore it once and I thought she was wearing Pink Manhattan Purrfume! It smelled so yummy! She revealed that it was Crème Brûlée, and that it wasn't a perfume but a lotion by Sephora. I later found out this Crème Brûlée line was discontinued by Sephora, but I was able to get the dry oil on eBay. It's very sweet and creamy-smooth, maybe more butterscotch-like than actual Crème Brûlée, but it smells great once it settles down. It's very similar to the Laura Mercier, a soft and mellow scent. They really need to bring this scent back. (PS: I didn't like the bubble bath in this scent at all.)
Here's another discontinued scent, and although I'm glad to have it, I could have done without it because it smells a bit too butterscotchy to me. This Crème Brûlée by Laurence Dumont really smells just like those butterscotch candies I grew up eating - not the really refined and delicious Werther's candies but those yellow-orange candies wrapped in cellophane. Once you've tasted those Werthers, it's hard to go back to plain ol' butterscotch. As far as being a Crème Brûlée scent goes, it's not caramelly enough for me, but it's off the richter scale as far as sweetness is concerned. It's a bit...OK, obnoxiously strong - but if strength is what you want in a scent, this might be your creme brulee.
(Images: www.bergdorfgoodman.com, www.sephora.com)
For all of the male anchors asking on cable TV news if abortion is *all* women care about: If caring about having reproductive choice, or women's rights (which are human rights because I am an actual woman and a human being), is such a trifle thing for women to be concerned about, then why won't the fervent passion to undo Roe v. Wade get trivialized on the networks just as well? The undoing of Roe v. Wade is no small matter to women in South Dakota and Lousiana where they are ready for the day when they can make abortion illegal in all cases, just as Gov. Palin would have for the entire nation. Is forcible pregnancy all I care about - a life or death situation involving great pain for our bodies and minds, not yours? What an offensive, loaded line of questioning it really is. They might as well ask if witnessing for God by using children with disabilities as posterchildren for anti-choice is all religious people care about. Let's not let TV shows, even MSNBC, get under our skins and make us feel powerless and small. Contrary to popular belief, how humans feel matters just as well as how humans think and rationalize. And yes, it's something we care about deeply, and yes, we also care about the economy, education and innocent civilians being killed in war and a slew of other pesky little issues.
Oh, YUM - Demeter Junior Mints!! This is a brand new launch from the off-the-wall fragrance house hailing from the artsy East Village, a little shop in an area where fragrances named "Dirt" (bestseller and a celeb fave including Kate Moss), "Funeral Home", "Lobster", "Turpentine" and "Earthworm" fit right in (edited to add: According to Wikipedia, looks like they are now hailing from the suburbs of New York). How true to the candy is this Junior Mints fragrance? I'd say it's very true, except when I first spritz it on and smell it up close, I get a floral accord. When it dries down, it's all peppermint and sweetened dark chocolate. I'm a lover of mint chocolate chip ice cream and this completely hits the spot, makes life worth living! Maybe I've been craving cool, minty scents, because I also find in my new favorite, Heeley Iris de Nuit, a minty top note. Demeter Junior Mints is a break from the more sophisticated perfumes I tend to love, but sometimes, I need to let my hair down so-to-speak (although my hair is barely long enough to make two little pigtails, a look I sported all summer long while I decide what to do with it next).
Michael Edwards categorizes it as Oriental - Woody Oriental
Notes on Sephora.com: Peppermint, Wild Mint, Cocoa Bean, Vanilla, Dark Chocolate
Straight to Heaven by Kilian has been referred to as "White Cristal" by Marian Bendeth. When I visited the Kilian website, I realized "white cristal" is part of the story, as Love by Kilian is "don't be shy". I think I like White Cristal as a perfume name better than Straight to Heaven but either way, wow, it's wonderful stuff. When I got my Kilian samples, I wish I'd investigated this one more in depth. I opted to try Love first, then eventually Cruel Intentions and a few others, and didn't give this sample much thought (perhaps I didn't care for the muskiness at first), but oh, what a scent this is. It's musky and animalic but not in the Helmut Lang or Kiehl's Musk "dirty feet" way. This masterpiece wears like a subtle (yet heavy) skin scent, walking the thin line between innocent and devilish as only a misogynistic, manmade image of a perfect woman could. It has patchouli in the mix but I hardly detect it; likewise the white musk stays in the distance, hardly detectable, and instead, I get smooth Brazilian rosewood, cedar (I'm into cedar these days), rum, yet not a whole lot of booziness, more incensey woodsy tones and just enough spices to tantalize and not so much they overwhelm. The animalic aspect I believe mostly comes from the ambergris, and it lasts a long time on skin.
Overall, it's a semi-sweet, deep musk creation with an ethereal feeling to it. It's enigmatic and hard to explain but it's definitely my favorite composition in the Kilian line. For comparison, I think it shares with Cruel Intentions the deep, musky, animalic feeling, but Cruel Intentions is the spicier and heavier of the two. Still, Straight to Heaven is no wallflower with its bold character and extroverted sillage. This scent doesn't speak a whole lot (not a negative - just my way of saying it's sort of minimalist and chic in its effect) but when it does, it has a fairly loud and straightforward tone, making its point directly and firmly. Wild but not too wild and more serious than nonsensical, Straight to Heaven to me is in essence two words: well-trained musk. The sweet, yummy notes are a delightful bonus making it all the more intoxicating. There is patchouli in it but I would categorize it as Oriental rather than Chypre. (Edited to add) I smell the boozy rum note clearly in the dry down now. I was told I smelled a little like coconut, so Kilian's description of it being a hot Caribbean scent makes more sense now.
Notes from Lucky Scent:
Straight to Heaven by Kilian: Martinican rum absolute, dried fruits accord, Javanese nutmeg oil, hedione, cedarwood, Indonesian patchouli oil, ambergris, vanilla absolute, white musk
I haven't fallen in love with an iris-focused perfume in a long while, if you can even count Paco Rabanne Metal or Calandre as iris perfumes. Heeley Iris de Nuit is actually much more of an iris soliflore than my favorite perfumes with iris in the mix. Many iris perfumes I've tested have been too frou frou flowery, spicy or vegetal (smelling of wet carrots and dirt), but Iris de Nuit, while being a bit on the coarse side (think of Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie or L'Artisan Orchidee Blanche) is a very wearable, clean iris. It is a bit powdery but the coarseness gives it a fresh appeal, similar to the effect of a white tea fragrance (in fact, White Tea would be a good alternative). In many ways, Iris de Nuit reminds me of the cedary-musky base notes in Creed Spring Flower, or the base in Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue with ambrette musk instead of white musk. I find it unique and sophiticated, a non-flowery floral that's refreshingly stark.
What do they have in common besides the fact that they rock? They all had their songs stolen by the GOP to play at the Republican National Convention and for use in a TV ad. Everyone knows it's copyright infringement to use songs as theme music without asking for permission from the songwriters or owners of the songs first. Why don't McCain / Palin respect the rights of musicians if 1. they care about the law and 2. they love their music so much?
Related article: Will McCain's Heart Stop?
Whether the campaign needs permission to play "Barracuda" By Chris Wilson Posted Friday, Sept. 5, 2008, at 6:29 PM ET, www.slate.com
It's amazing, really...when some poor kid commits suicide, people blame music, their friends or their clothes, but not the sick, narcissistic society in which group think divides people so they can stupidly war against each other, and allow one group (usually the majority which is an attractive group to join for people who are too scared to stand up for themselves) to bully another, as in the case of Emo-hate. Nobody blames the bullies or is willing to fix their twisted "We're better than you because we're strong enough to kick your asses" culture--not in Mexico where Emo-hate has been blamed on a popular TV show some say had incited violence against people who appear to practice aspects of the so-called "Emo" subculture, and apparently not in Russia where they're trying to legislate an actual Emo ban based on their so-called observably factual definitions of what makes someone "Emo"--but they'll try to eradicate a musical genre and an entire subculture they don't even understand before they deal with group hate and mass bullying that the Emo subculture faces every day. Group hate can't be reason enough for people to get depressed, can it? The bullies are right and the victims are wrong - Here we go with blaming victims again, and this time, it's personal because I love all rock music and people should have a right to listen to whatever music they want. I also remember some EMO music and culture was popular in the '80s in Japan and nobody was into suicide because of the music. This is like Ozzy being blamed for one person's suicide because he loved one song about suicide by the recording artist. Please.
Make no mistake. It doesn't matter what country you're in. Being part of a culture is one thing (including so-called mainstream culture); ganging up on a group is another. Cool people know better than to join a gang--any gang, and that's the whole point the bullies all miss, because they're nothing without a gang to back them up. Emo is a so-called (because it's not clearly well-defined--no genre is!!) musical genre that was named as such for marketing purposes. It's like how we classify perfume genres into Chypre or Oriental, even if they're a little of both. The sound is derived from all of the music that came before it that have inspired musicians to write what they write and do what they do, which is to express themselves freely. If Emo sounds like Punk and Goth music, it's because, again, there is no real clear cut line between musical genres any more than people can be divided into neat little groups and never crossover. But try to explain that to people with zero musical understanding or worldly cultural sense, or to violent bullies looking to victimize. Also, keep in mind most people are copying musicians' styles, or more precisely, the stylists' vision (sometimes those stylists are the artists themselves) of how the bands should look. There is no real "look" to go with music except the created images, again, to make music sell. That's why there are stylists, and even they mix and match different styles, borrowing from different bands, eras, etc. And what if they do? They should be able to dress the way they want, too. Imagine going after choreographers for borrowing from ballet and incorporating those moves into their modern jazz-hip hop-tap routine. How stupid is it to turn it into a justification to bully choreographers for breaking tradition for artistic expression?
If Emo means emotional, you'd have to ban ALL music, considering music is an expression of emotion (making instruments WAIL is what it's about, people). You'd have to likewise ban lyrics and books and anything that touches on raw human emotion. We'd have to ban all ROCK MUSIC (sex, drugs and rock n' roll - that means everyone who likes rock does drugs, right?). Listening to any kind of rock is healthy. If the bullies stopped fearing emotion and learned how to cry, take their anger and turn it back into the sadness they attempt to mask, we'd have a peaceful world. It'll take a hell of a lot more than rules to make me stop loving the music I love. How are you going to regulate people's musical taste and fashion sense except by brute force? Lately I've been thinking how Communism and Fascism are pretty much one and the same, like a right jab and a left hook coming from opposite ends of the extreme spectrum, meeting as if in a circle. We have our music-banning bullies here in the US, too, but at least people who appear to enjoy a certain type of music called "Emo" aren't being threatened to be one step away from being genocided into oblivion. "Don't kill yourselves or we'll kill you!"...yeah, really intelligent.
Did it really happen ... " MOCKERS " anyone? - The 60s British Rocker and Ton-Up Movement, www.the59club.com
Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger. By Gloria Steinem, September 4, 2008
Who is Phyllis Schlafly? Read Domestic violence law abuses rights of men By Phyllis Schlafly, May 12, 2006.
May I just add that as far as Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's views on abortion are concerned (she'd "choose" life if her own daughter were raped), I think we've already been there with Dan Quayle. I'm just glad I don't have her for a mother. Poor kid whose mother speaks for her even when it's her body that's violated, but it's all hypothetical anyway, as people who believe in Predestination (that's Fate or Destiny with a brand name) believe good Christian girls never get raped. I suppose she could look in the eyes of a rape victim and tell her it's God's will to have been raped so she could (must) have that blessing of a criminal's offspring, and that she should have the baby even if God forbid it's her own family member's. Palin is the kind of woman who makes her daddy proud, no matter what kind of daddy he is.
Is it just me, or are these people sounding like apologists for male aggression and violence? Sometimes I wonder if they're living in fear of being beaten if they don't speak up for male rights.
Because "Go Fuck Yourself" Isn't Particularly Enlightening posted by Melissa McEwan on Shakesville blog, Wednesday, September 26, 2007
It's Abortion, Stupid: Policy Voting in the 1992 Presidential Election by Alan I. Abramowitz, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Feb., 1995), pp. 176-186, full article available on JSTOR www.jstor.org
Description: What if Borgs framed their family photos? Would it matter if they could fit the pictures in the frame? Who am I to judge?
I’m back again. It’s my birthday, and you’re invited. I couldn’t think of a better place to do the Secret Elf Dance than the Starving Artist Café and Gallery at City Island. The food is reasonably priced and the atmosphere is really cool. There’s no cover, and all ages can get in.
Fred Kimmel and Friends will be playing 2 sets: 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM on Friday, September 12. I hope you can make it. --Fred Kimmel
Starving Artist Café and Gallery is located at:
249 City Island Ave
City Island, NY 10464
(Purple awning right next door to Breakers)
For more info:
and of course the WUJ NEWS