Saturday, January 26, 2013

Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330

If L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons were a clean "detergentesque" scent, it could be Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330 (Wow, what a perfume name; it could be a keyboard patch number--the bottle that looks like a UFO seems to fit some futuristic theme here), a Marine Floral with notes of violet leaf, sea accord, jasmine, frangipani and musk. Imagine the sea accord in Bath & Body Works Sea Island Cotton without so much musk, a sunny white floral combined with a pronounced salty air accord and the light, citric-ozonic atmosphere of BBW Cotton candle, and voila, this is the fresh cotton scent I was hoping to find. I haven't been able to find a bottle of this anywhere anymore, save for a couple of online stores and eBay where it's going for an astronomical amount. I guess the Vivara Variazioni 2009 collection is discontinued and hard-to-find now.

The description under "Universe" from Emilio Pucci's site is as follows: "The Vivara Variazioni eau de toilette trio is an ode to the natural elements that define the island Vivara: the radiant gold of the sun, the serene blues of the Mediterranean and the warm tones of sandy shores.

"Each bottle is a tribute to the colourful world of Pucci, an imaginary journey into the very essence of the Mediterranean." Acqua 330 is described as "the heart of the Mediterranean."

The ad pictured above in illuminated rainbow hues reminds me of the imagery for Lorenzo Villoresi Iperborea (Ancient Greek Hyperborea (see Iperborea on the Italian Wiki page here)), a garden white floral (as opposed to beachy/tropical) according to the perfumer's vision. Until now, I hadn't contemplated how "New Age-y" the vibe of the radiant style was.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Barneys Route du Thé

I've seen on the internet my current favorite perfume, Mâitre Parfumeur et Gantier Camélia Chinois (formerly Eau de Camélia Chinois, 1997) and Barneys Route du Thé (1986) being compared, so I wanted to elaborate on that from my own perspective. Both are green and sharp Florals built on tea accords. Both of these can be described as soapy clean, aqueous type scents. Where they differ is in the level of musk I detect, and Route du Thé to my nose is the muskier of the two.

This translates to me as Camélia Chinois being the more traditional, or classical Floral, and Route du Thé being a sportier aquatic tea floral floating on white musk, a rather sweet yet salty (one might say "beachy") transparent "skin scent" floral, full in the heart notes but sparse compositionally and less powdery overall. Although these elements bring to mind the makeup of Bath and Body Works Sea Island Cotton, Route du Thé smells of a borderline Chypre along the lines of the verdant and elegant, aldehydic Pierre Balmain Ivoire (1979), with the bracingly smart, slightly weedy touch of Guerlain Vetiver.

While it holds onto the retro green accord of a decade past, it seems to echo a future green tea breakthrough scent, Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (Bulgari Green Tea, 1993), a sharp citric aromatic Chypre for Men and Women, a modern aqueous composition of the bold, non-powdery and potently unsweet variety. In its dry down, its closest kinship is to a yet more futuristic generation of musky florals a la Elizabeth Arden Splendor (1998) and the woody-musky-sweet soap powder, Lise Watier Neiges (1999).

Born in the same year as Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve and equally rebellious, Route du Thé proved that sometimes, refusing to follow the on-going trend and not really fitting in anywhere can be what makes you ahead of your time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recipe: Salmon rillettes from "Bouchon" by Thomas Keller

I'll cry for joy if it turns out even remotely close to what I had at Bouchon. I'll also let you know if I find an easier adaptation: Recipe: Salmon rillettes From "Bouchon" by Thomas Keller. LA Times

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Alluring and illuminating “Photography as Propaganda” at Lumiere

"The George Washington Bridge" by Margaret Bourke-White, 1933

"What countries could be more different than the Soviet Union and the United States during the first half of the 20th century? Yet, as suggested by Lumiere’s illuminating “Photography as Propaganda: Politics and the Utopian Dream,” many of their ideals and fantasies were actually alike, and so were the images that served their goals and cultural values..." Read the article: Review: Alluring and illuminating “Photography as Propaganda” at Lumiere - By Robert Stalker, October 11, 2011

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Camélia Chinois

Somewhere in the imagination of a niche perfumer exists an island that is one part tropical oasis and another part botanical garden, equal parts floral and green, redolent of linden blossoms and the promised innocence of Carven Ma Griffe or Guerlain Chant d'Arômes, only liltingly fair without earthy chypre and autumnal oakmoss. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Camélia Chinois, based on the camellia flower, is this island where no detergent is necessary, and everything is washed clean by pure, unadulterated nature to leave our skin as sparkling as a natural hot spring. It is the most fastidious and most celebrated coloratura soprano queen of all clean scents, a must try for the Floral / Floral Green lover.

The description of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Camélia Chinois at The Crushed Violet is as follows: "Cool, crisp and clean, yet uniquely sensual. Evocative of clean laundry on a clothesline, swaying in the gentle summer breeze and drying under the sun's rays. Exotic fruits, banana, grapefruit, bergamot, Camélia Tea leaves, basil, fir, musk, sandalwood."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ivanka Trump by Ivanka Trump

In all perfume-related seriousness, most celebrity fragrances smell alike. Taylor Swift's new flanker in the red bottle smells like Rihanna Reb'l Fleur mixed with Benefit So Hooked on Carmella with its coconutty cupcake sweetness; Madonna's new perfume also smells like Reb'l Fleur with darker, deeper fruity ambery notes, reminding me of Balenciaga Michelle or one of the classic Romeo Gigli scents. Nicole Richie's powdery musk scent could be a perfumey J. Lo Glow flanker, although I haven't smelled enough of these to know which one. Refreshingly, Jessica Simpson's new Floral is a pure garden floral - this one stands out as far as the celeb genre goes - more so than Madonna's first fragrance which is not just another Floral but a blatant copy of Robert Piguet Fracas, which I'm surprised I haven't heard being pointed out by online perfumistas. In the end, they've mostly spawned from the rib of Justin Bieber Someday.

My favorite new celebrity launch of 2013 is Ivanka Trump, which takes a slightly less-traveled sillage route. The fragrance is marketed as a scent for a career woman; it's a smart campaign for sure, much more polite than age-based marketing, but in my honest opinion, I feel Ivanka Trump is an evening scent (and a very sexy one), because it's voluptuous and classically perfumey, by which I mean it hits all the right notes from dazzling fruit notes to amber, cedar, patchouli,'s as if one of the perfumes once put out by royalty, or a notorious royalty favorite (Volupté by Oscar de la Renta (1992), for instance) took on the alter ego of Beyonce Heat Rush and filled up an elevator with the charisma of Lancôme Trésor. So, although one could wear it on Wall St. as The Boss, I don't know if this is the kind of scent I'd wear to a job interview. Go easy on it, I guess. The fragrance was created by Parlux, which could explain why it reminded me of Fred Hayman Hollywood, for comparison to another fresh Floral Oriental. Incidentally, her mother Ivana Trump is associated with having worn Christian Lacroix C'est la Vie, another Floral Oriental, albeit a much sweeter, fruitier one.

In retrospect, maybe Macy's was protecting me from wearing too much perfume when I went to sample fragrances. I wish Macy's didn't make it so challenging to test them--not that they make it impossible because the salespeople were quite nice the last time I visited, but when I ask to try on a scent, I don't need someone else handling the tester only to spritz my hand once. Next time, please let me spritz twice on my own like at Sephora where I am not hawked over, so I can make a decision to buy more quickly. I will return to retest sometime soon, hopefully before Valentine's Day.

Last edited: 10:38 AM

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua for Women

Not since Davidoff Cool Water have I fallen in love with an Aquatic Floral (aka Marine, Aqueous, Water), but this was love at first sniff at Sephora. I wasn't drawn to the bottle, which I also would have liked instantly for its statuesque blue skyscraper shape, had the gradient colors not ruined its appeal (I don't like the gradated look of my other recent love, Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose, either). Neither was I drawn to the name: Eternity Aqua, just one more variation among a gazillion other Eternity flankers out there. Maybe I was led by my mood for something to get me out of the winter blues, something I can take to an indoor pool or the respite of a hot, dry sauna, an invigorating scent to spritz after a morning shower to help me face the weather. It's been cold here, and you'd think I wouldn't want to wear a cool and refreshing fragrance with almost minty top notes, but a dewy spa-scent with a vague hint of coconut water and sunny fruits on a subtle but straightforward cedar base is exactly what I needed. Actually, I wish the tropical timbre was just a touch stronger than the floral lily musk tone, but overall, this is more of my type of "skin scent," simple and clean sans powder and other typically girly maquillage aspects.

Although apple and cucumber are the listed notes, I find Eternity Aqua to smell more like oranges, with a bold and balanced woody base. It's like Ralph Lauren Big Pony No.1 (Blue), CLEAN Rain, Chloé Eau de Parfum and Cool Water rolled into one. The dry down on me is a bit on the tart side, very much like CLEAN Rain, which might get a bit annoying in the long run, but for the moment, the scent inside the eye sore-turned-eye candy is incentive enough for me to get up and about each day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The tourists beaten up by Greek police in anti-immigrant sweeps

"Whenever people ask me if they should visit Greece I tell them to go to Turkey instead" Hyun Young Jung

Read the article: The tourists held by Greek police as illegal migrants By Chloe Hadjimatheou, 9 January 2013 BBC News, Athens

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Christian Dior Diorella

Image: Diorella by Dior (1972) from Yesterday's Perfume

It turns out I was wrong about breezy and likeable Charlie being the first perfume to be advertised with an image of a woman wearing pants. Before Revlon Charlie (1973), there was Estée Lauder Estée (1968), and sandwiched in-between was Dior Diorella. If there was another one before them, or around the same time period, please let me know. I believe I've sampled Diorella before, but I have no recollection of the scent apart from it being a citric eau de cologne type, maybe like Eau de Rochas. Since I can't do it justice, please visit Yesterday's Perfume for a great in-depth review.

Edited to add on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:45 am: According to British paper The Independent, René Gruau's illustration for the Diorella ad was done in 1972 (link to Diorella, René Gruau, 1972, Private Collection - René Gruau: Illustrating Dior, The Independent). Unless Revlon Charlie's 1973 launch year is wrong, Christian Dior Diorella is the first perfume advertised with an image of a woman wearing pants. The perfume ad for Estée Lauder Estée featuring a model in pants appears to have been created around the time of the Star Wars movie, circa 1977.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Beate Sirota Gordon Dies at 89

When I had my TV show on NHK (Japan), Beate Sirota Gordon was one of the most incredible people I had ever had the honor of meeting. Our show, "New Yorkers", presented her story sometime between the mid-90s and the early 2000s. As a Japanese woman, I feel greatly indebted to her. Beate Sirota Gordon Dies at 89 - Asia Arts Expert Pushed for Japanese Women's Rights - by Raphael Mostel, January 01, 2013