Monday, September 27, 2010

My List of Fall 2010 Top 10 Fragrances

While many people might be looking for an autumn cornucopia of woods, leaves and dried fruits to ring in the fall harvest mood, I went searching for a bottle of a discontinued fragrance, Gabriele Strehle Strenesse (2001). I once had a miniature I'd either misplaced or given away; I remember it as being a hypersweet almond-peach-vanilla composition, somewhere between Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison (1998) and Tanya Sarne Ghost (2001) in overall effect. I absolutely love the minimalist, urbane look of the bottle combined with the pale, milky, bluish white hue of the juice. I wish the new Strenesse 2010 which is to be launched in the US at Kmart this fall (according to this article at The Examiner) looked as sleek and modern; I think the new bottle design looks like Halle Berry's fragrance design, with the designer's signature embossed across the bottle. Aesthetically, I prefer the tall, cylindrical skyscraper shape, with simple fonts, beautifully streamlined in black and white - although I wouldn't mind an actually hand-signed bottle if it existed. I hope the new fragrance is something worth looking into. The description of the new Strenesse at Now Smell This, “a subtly seductive alternative to opulent, overpowering orientals”, sounds rather like admonishment of my taste in fragrance than an invitation to try something as exciting as the original Strenesse.

My current taste in perfume could be summarized as different interpretations of peaches and cream, although powder, sweet and floral, not too rosy but a candied mix of rose and violet, also fits into this floral gourmand spectrum. I played around with Bulgari pour Femme for awhile, and found its understated aldehydic softness pleasant but overall too rosy for me; the more violetty and slightly insolent Valentino Rock 'n Rose hits the spot for my current energy level, as well as the classic spicy Oriental violet-woods-vanilla, Guerlain Vol de Nuit (1933), a powdery rich classic in the tradition of Liu (1929). I'm tired of the white musk base I find in Miss Dior Cherie (edited: sorry, friends - I meant Miss Dior Cherie L'eau), Kenzo Amour and Eau Florale, so, as much as I adore them, I haven't worn them since the middle of the summer; I'm also tired of patchouli, so, as much as I still can't let go of Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Very Irrésistible and Bond No.9 Bryant Park, I know my days with these beauties are limited. I want a soft amber-woods-vanilla base, with smooth, rich, sweet floral notes, rounded out with peach tones and a healthy dose of spice. When I want something simple with which to clear the palate so-to-speak, I have my lemony light chypre eau de cologne of choice, Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, always great to have on stand-by.

I also pulled out my Cacharel Gloria, which I find more appealing than Guerlain My Insolence to which I'd compared it once; My Insolence is much more patchouli-heavy, and cakey gourmand, whereas Gloria is fresher, spicy, not too different from Naomi Campbell Mystery, only with sweet orangey, amaretto notes. It is delish, perfect for the season. I like to layer it with L'Occitane Almond Blossom Dew for a marzipan effect.

In this peachy phase I'm in, I'm still wearing my own creation, the peach-gardenia-vanilla Pink Manhattan, but when I want something more nocturnal in atmosphere, I turn to my favorite fragrance of the moment, Boucheron Jaïpur Saphir, my dream of a spiced peaches and cream scent. I've written an in-depth post about my love for this beautiful perfume at this link. Upon sharing that, I wanted to continue the Pink Manhattan blog tradition of compiling my Top 10 fragrances list, so here goes:

My Top 10 List of Fall 2010

1. Boucheron Jaïpur Saphir
2. Valentino Rock 'n Rose
3. Guerlain Idylle
4. Gabriele Strehle Strenesse
5. Dolce & Gabbana The One
6. Guerlain Vol de Nuit
7. Cacharel Gloria
8. Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
9. Pink Manhattan Purrfume
10. Givenchy Very Irrésistible

While I'm here, may I add one note of criticism about Sephora's Fragrance Finder? I wish they'd add "Fruity" to the list of descriptions to find a scent. I would search for Dolce & Gabbana The One under a fruit note like peach, never thinking it would be Floral or Oriental, even though a Floral Oriental is what it technically is. Jan Moran, whose system I love, might call it a Floral Ambery, like she classifies Boucheron Jaïpur Saphir and Christian Dior Poison. D & G The One isn't even as Oriental as those, but I wouldn't call it a Floral. It's a wonderful scent, by the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Age of Autism

By Deirdre Imus: "The new book "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic" is shaking up the autism world. Orthodox scientists and medical groups have dismissed and even ridiculed the idea that incredibly toxic ethyl mercury -- still in flu shots given to infants and pregnant women -- could be linked to the explosion in autism rates beginning in the 1990s, when the vaccine schedule was rapidly expanded. Just the day before the book came out this week, the CDC issued yet another flawed study that found not only was mercury safe -- it actually had a protective effect against the risk of autism. This is obviously absurd, as is the fact that almost all the children in the study had received mercury-containing shots, rather than including a control group without any mercury exposure. Authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill -- two names well-known in the autism community and editors of the blog Age of Autism (, have for the first time traced the roots of autism beginning in the 1930s. What they found is electrifying and suggests the debate is about to heat up again, whether the government and medical industry like it or not." The Age of Autism by Deirdre Imus. Founder, Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology, The Huffington Post, September 20, 2010

There's something I've had on my mind that I don't read anywhere, and that is the question of just how much mercury (whether this type of mercury used in thimerosal is arguably safe or not in miniscule amounts) is safe to be injected into the bloodstream of an infant less than 24 months old, as young as 3 months old. One can argue that the amount of thimerosal in one dose of vaccine is safe, but if an infant is receiving 4, 5, 6, even 9 shots in one visit (because doctors fear the parents won't bring the infant back to get all of the shots, doctors urge parents to get them all done in one visit), doesn't the amount of mercury add up to something more than the recommended dose in one vaccine shot?

For the record, I have met people (mostly conservatives - sorry, but it's true) who deny even the existence of autism, let alone the fact that it is an epidemic of our age. I hope all of these people who have been told by ignorant tabloid media outlets and the like, that autism is some kind of faked attitude problem on the part of children diagnosed with autism, or a result of bad parenting, realize that they don't wander off like people with Alzheimers and tragically drown or get into other accidents because they are faking it, or because parents aren't as vigilant as humanly possible. Such judgment calls without understanding need to be condemned as bullying, nothing less and nothing more.

Furthermore, people like Sharron Angle who think early intervention and other programs aren't necessary enough to insure or publically fund, miss the point, that these are not only the saving grace in the lives of those affected with autism, that it can be the difference between a non-functioning and minimally functioning society in which one in 110 (1 in 70 boys) are being diagnosed with autism.

Related link:

Autism Speaks: "The words “vaccine” and “autism” hit the news again this weekend with the release of the award to compensate the Poling family for pain, suffering, future care and lost wages for their nine year old daughter, Hannah.

"Hannah was developing typically until a regressive episode at 18 months that closely followed the 9 vaccinations she received at a well-baby visit. Further testing revealed that Hannah 1) developed autism and 2) had the metabolic signature of a mitochondrial disorder which may have made her vulnerable to injury from the vaccines themselves or the fever that commonly accompanies vaccines and many childhood illnesses.

"Although this case has been long fought, the recent award is renewing questions in the autism community.

"How common are mitochondrial disorders?" Read more: Hannah Poling Court Case – Some Considerations Autism Speaks Official Blog September 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Igor Stravinsky "The Rake's Progress"

Image: A Rake's Progress #8 The Madhouse by William Hogarth

LISTEN: Kathleen Battle sings "No word from Tom", an aria from Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" Video uploaded by kathleenbattlefan on You Tube

Related links on Wikipedia:

The Rake's Progress

Igor Stravinsky

Kathleen Battle

Coloratura soprano

Fragrance of the Moment

This is another exquisite fragrance by Boucheron. Sandalwood is listed as one of the key notes, and I know the sandalwood I'm smelling in here is not the Australian kind that was supposed to replace the beautiful East Indian Mysore sandalwood that used to be a staple in prestige perfumery before it became an endangered, rare ingredient. I love this perfume with a passion, my new signature for fall, and hope it'll never be altered or discontinued.

Jaïpur Saphir by Boucheron (1999) was created by perfumer Nathalie Lorson who is also the perfumer behind Chopard Wish, Jil Sander Sensations and Kate by Kate Moss. I have been a long time fan of the Boucheron perfume line since discovering the original launch, Boucheron of eponymous fame. The original was a scintillating, decadent "star fragrance" composed of orange blossom, tuberose, broom, amber, sandalwood and vanilla among many other notes; Jaïpur Saphir is a quieter Woody Floral but it borrows the Floral-Ambery (Floral Oriental) theme of the original and takes the sensuous effect to a peachier, softer side, with light spices on top, a deep, beautiful white floral heart featuring magnolia, and sandalwood with vanilla anchoring the base. I usually prefer my peaches unspiced, but this is an elegantly gustative offering by the top-of-the-line fragrance house and jewellery company. Soft yet rich, creamy and slightly powdery, Jaïpur Saphir is more complex than many of the newer fragrances being made today that tend to be more transparent, but it walks the tight rope between the classical and modern world effortlessly, with vanilla, tender fruits and flowers tempering bold woodiness with velvet gloves.

For comparison, it shares some of its effect with Van Cleef and Arpels Birmane which was launched in the same year. Birmane is sweeter and classified as Fruity Floral; it smells to me less opaque (creamy), comparatively rosier and fruitier with a transparent ambery musk base. Another comparable fragrance is Liz Claiborne Realities which shares with Jaïpur Saphir the creamy, peachy, woody-vanillic tone, luminous upon skin with serene and sensual effect.

The regal bottle is modeled after the same design for Boucheron Jaïpur (1997), its motif a bracelet which is considered a lucky charm in Rajasthan, with a cabochon faux sapphire cap, inspired by the luxurious gemstones from the Kashmir region.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fragrance of the Moment

If you're a fan of aqueous (Marine, or ocean notes) perfumes, this is a pretty one, albeit a discontinued beauty. Launched in 1995, it features soft, pear-like fruits with fresh marine and green floral notes, on a light woods and musk base. It's like a cross between Clarins Elysium (1993) and Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò (1995), although it is lighter than both of these. Escada Ocean Blue starts cool and fruity, then turns a bit more woodsy in the dry down, musk becoming prominent in the sillage. It retains much of the ocean coolness as it dries down, but the softly lingering warmth of musk makes it a good transitional summer-fall fragrance.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy Rosh Hashanah

Happy New Year to all who celebrate! Jewish Year 5771: sunset September 8, 2010 - nightfall September 10, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bauhaus 1919-1933

Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus Building, Dessau

Architect Walter Gropius

(Image: From 90 Years of Bauhaus -

"The Bauhaus began with an utopian definition: "The building of the future" was to combine all the arts in ideal unity. This required a new type of artist beyond academic specialisation, for whom the Bauhaus would offer adequate education. In order to reach this goal, the founder, Walter Gropius, saw the necessity to develop new teaching methods and was convinced that the base for any art was to be found in handcraft: "the school will gradually turn into a workshop". Indeed, artists and craftsmen directed classes and production together at the Bauhaus in Weimar. This was intended to remove any distinction between fine arts and applied arts." Read on: Bauhaus 1919-33 - Bauhaus-archiv

Visit Bauhaus-archiv museum of design:

From Bauhaus Dessau:

Bauhaus 1919-1933
"The Bauhaus occupies a place of its own in the history of 20th century culture, architecture, design, art and new media. One of the first schools of design, it brought together a number of the most outstanding contemporary architects and artists and was not only an innovative training centre but also a place of production and a focus of international debate. At a time when industrial society was in the grip of a crisis, the Bauhaus stood almost alone in asking how the modernisation process could be mastered by means of design.

"Founded in Weimar in 1919, the Bauhaus rallied masters and students who sought to reverse the split between art and production by returning to the crafts as the foundation of all artistic activity and developing exemplary designs for objects and spaces that were to form part of a more human future society. Following intense internal debate, in 1923 the Bauhaus turned its attention to industry under its founder and first director Walter Gropius (1883–1969).

"(...) Under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) the Bauhaus developed from 1930 into a technical school of architecture with subsidiary art and workshop departments. After the Nazis became the biggest party in Dessau at the elections, the Bauhaus was forced to move in September 1932. It moved to Berlin but only lasted for a short time longer. The Bauhaus dissolved itself under pressure from the Nazis in 1933." Read more at

Related links:

"As soon as the Bauhaus was opened in April of 1919, opposition against the school was strong. Opponents of Bauhaus labeled the school "expressionistic," stigmatizing it as inferior, subversive, and anti-German. In 1921, responding to anti-Bauhaus pressure, the Academy of Art was reinstituted in the right wing of the main Bauhaus building." Poitics at Bauhaus, Weimer - Parsons The New School for Design,

Bauhaus artists
"Bauhaus was not a formal group, but rather a school. Its three architect-directors (Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) are most closely associated with Bauhaus. Furthermore a large number of outstanding artists of their time were lecturers at Bauhaus: Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Max Bill, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Avgust Černigoj, Christian Dell, Werner Drewes, Lyonel Feininger, Naum Gabo, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Otto Lindig, Gerhard Marcks, László Moholy-Nagy, Piet Mondrian, Oskar Schlemmer, Lothar Schreyer, Joost Schmidt, Naum Slutzky, Gunta Stölzl" Read more: Bauhaus on Wikipedia

Marcel Breuer
Wassily Chair
Museum of Modern Art

(Image: The Bauhaus in History by Ben Davis,

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Pantone Spring-Summer 2011, Fall 2010 Color Trends

PANTONE Spring-Summer 2011 Colors: Enchanted Picnic

"Enchanted Picnic has exotic themes, follies in Versailles, rave party in Schönbrunn, murder in an English garden – Lewis Carroll, Fragonard gate-crashes the camp site, Hansel and Gretel’s cuisine, ecology show – glamour and fun, the dawn of artificial preciousness. Colours that set the teeth on edge – neon but whitened, transparent jelly fish, over-bright pastels, fiery brights tempered by grey and measured beige."

I posted this collection because I like the imagery, but as for the descriptions...did you catch all that? Murder in an English garden, Lewis Caroll and the dawn of artificial preciousness are among the roughly sketched themes for this whitened neon color palette for Summer 2011. Where did Pantone draw the overall inspiration from?

Le Cuir A Paris Colour Trends for Spring-Summer 2011
"Le Cuir A Paris is an event that is much awaited by the fashion industry. The event showcases high quality leather raw materials and sets the trends in specific clours and material. The next Le Cuir A Paris is due to take place in Nord Villepinte in Paris on 14th September, 2010, where the projections for summer season 2011 will be on show. We bring for you the theme and inspiration of their colour palate as sourced from Fashion Trendsetter. The inspiration was the new dawn and the specter of uncertainties." See the entire collection of colors for Summer 2011 (Archaic Garden, Underwater Variation, Tropical Dramaturgy, Shadowy Shores, Enchanted Picnic): Fashion Next - Future of Indian fashion

New dawn is to meet the Symmetry trend, also forecasted for 2011: Visit

Since we're here, let's read a little bit about Lewis Caroll: Caroll's Philosophy: Language & Constistency in Alice in Wonderland July 26, 2008 Cambridge Centre for Western Esotericism

Here are the PANTONE colors for Fall 2010:

Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall 2010

View the entire Pantone fashion color report fall 2010 at

Silly, me; Buddhist art is what came to mind when I saw the color palette (I also pictured in my mind opals and bloodstones), but might give us a more practical vision of how these colors can be incorporated into our wardrobe. Lagoon, this season's turquoise, continues at the top of the trend as Color of the Year 2010.

"In fact, chocolate is a hot fashion color for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, so it is still history in the making as we speak." What is the history of brown color in fashion? How it changed and evolved with the times? | Answerbag

Black is nowhere to be found, but as much as it's being maligned by mainstream fashion that calls it "boring" and "passe", I'll continue to wear basic black, together with (or without) all of the economically savvy neutrals (including brown). I wonder if they'll stop trying to fix my taste and eventually let me have what I like - more black and neutral choices to buy - so I can enjoy shopping, too. Till then, oyster grey gives me hope. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Paramore: Brick by Boring Brick

LISTEN: Paramore: Brick By Boring Brick [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

art – Das Kunstmagazin: Abstraktion in Lateinamerika

Aufbruch in die Moderne: Abstraktion in Lateinamerika

Palácio da Alvorada: Brasilia, um 1962 (Courtesy AdK Berlin / © Marcel Gautherot / Instituto Moreira Salles Collection) art – Das Kunstmagazin

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ozzy Osbourne - Miracle Man

Ozzy Osbourne - Miracle Man, from "The Essential Ozzy Osbourne" album, originally from the 1989 album "No Rest for the Wicked".

Pantera - Fucking Hostile

Band: Pantera
Song: Fucking Hostile
Album: "Reinventing Hell" (2003)
Genre: Metal