Gardenia: 19 posts

Madame Carven and Ma Griffe

She dressed Edith Piaf and Leslie Caron. She created uniforms for more than a dozen airlines and dressed French traffic police. When she launched a fragrance, she provocatively named it Ma Griffe, which can mean either “my signature” or “my claw” in French. She was a force and a character. She was Carmen de Tommaso, or as she was better known in the world of haute couture, Madame Carven. Yesterday Madame Carven passed away at the age of 105, leaving behind an incredible legacy, both in the world of fashion and fragrance.

madame carven

De Tommaso was introduced to couture by her aunt Josy Boyriven–the last three letters of whose name, “ven”, got joined with “car” of Carmen to form “Carven”–and she started designing both out of fascination and frustration. She was dismayed by the limited choices for petite women and the lack of attention from the fashion masters.

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Cartier La Panthere : Perfume Review

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Why did “the feral floral,” a tag line used by Cartier to describe its perfume, La Panthère, catch my attention? It’s not that I’m all that keen on the smell of unwashed animals; otherwise, the camel leather belt I bought for my husband in India (now banished to the outside closet) would have satisfied that craving and more. Cartier’s perfumery, on the other hand, is in the hands of talented Mathilde Laurent, and if anyone could make feral smell good, it would be her.

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La Panthère was the nickname of Jeanne Toussaint, the flamboyant artistic director of Cartier jewelry from 1933 to 1968, who was responsible for some of the most dramatic examples of Cartier’s art. Named after this tremendous character, the perfume couldn’t be just another well-behaved floral, and Laurent decided on a composition based on contrasts: moss and leather; gardenias and patchouli.

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Chanel Beige and Jersey Extrait de Parfum : Perfume Reviews

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Of the three new extraits de parfum in Chanel’s Les Exclusifs collection, 1932 seemed most promising, but it turned out that Beige and Jersey held more surprises. As I mentioned in my review of 1932, if you didn’t like the Eau de Toilette, the parfum isn’t going to change your mind, but in the case of Beige and Jersey, the richness, new accents and nuances might make a positive difference for those who were ambivalent about the original versions.

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Beige

I already enjoyed Beige for its understated elegance, and while I proclaim my undying love for Coromandel and Cuir de Russie, I wear this delicate white floral far more often. It certainly won’t turn heads the way Coromandel does or make you time travel to the Roaring Twenties like Cuir de Russie, but if you need a well-made fragrance that feels like a comfortable silk slip, Beige is perfect.

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Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait : Perfume Review

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Elisa talks about gardenia, tiare, and leather as she reviews Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait.

Searching for a natural gardenia perfume is a little like hunting for unicorns – gardenias, notoriously, don’t release a natural oil. As Victoria once put it, “gardenia, temperamental flower that she is, does not give up her essence to any distillation methods.” Accordingly, gardenia in perfumery is necessarily a re-creation, using other materials to approximate the flower’s scent: sweetly tropical, but with an earthy element often likened to dirt or mushrooms.

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I was surprised, then, when I heard that Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes was releasing a gardenia scent, since Aftel is known for her all-natural creations. As it turns out, Cuir de Gardenia is based on the Tahitian gardenia, or tiare flower, which can be made into a (costly) enfleurage (termed monoi when using coconut oil). Aftel has bolstered this material with jasmine and benzyl acetate, an isolate that occurs naturally in jasmine and ylang-ylang and is also used as a solvent in plastic and resins.

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Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum : Perfume Review

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Whenever I see a product described as a cult favorite, I’m instantly skeptical. The pink and green Maybelline mascara is the worst thing I’ve put on my lashes. Rosebud salve in its pretty retro tin dries out my lips. Nars Orgasm blush is just OK. The exception for me is Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil from French skincare & cosmetics firm Nuxe, and it fully lives up to its “cult favorite” label. It’s a seaside vacation in a bottle. The oil leaves skin soft and shimmering, not at all greasy, and applying the golden liquid feels like a luxury spa treatment.

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Besides the nourishing and moisturizing benefits, fans of Nuxe oil adore its frangipani and coconut perfume. It’s sophisticated and rich, a tangle of white petals and coconut flakes. I’ve always thought that it’s good enough to be in a perfume bottle, and a couple of years ago Nuxe decided to do just that. The company turned to the same perfumer who created the beloved Nuxe oil scent, Serge Majoullier, and asked him to blend Prodigieux, Le Parfum*.

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