Patchouli: 49 posts

Repetto by Maison Repetto : Fragrance Review

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As a young ballet student I used to bristle whenever people said, “oh, ballet, it’s so lovely and pretty,” after I had just danced in excruciating pain. Later, it dawned on me that a dancer has to make something difficult seem weightless and graceful. If you see a swan sweat and strain, then she didn’t succeed in her craft. Perhaps, that is the reason I look indulgently upon the prettiness of Repetto. It’s about a ballet fantasy of pink slippers, tutus and Sugar Plum fairies.

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Repetto is a French company that successfully made the cross over from professional dance shoes to everyday ballet flats and much more. There is now a line of clothing, handbags, and of course, fragrance. Repetto perfume launched earlier this year retaining the same ethereal aesthetic of the brand. It even involved Dorothée Gilbert, a Paris Opera Ballet prima, to star in its campaign. You can see the lithe dancer spraying on Repetto as she gets ready to leave for her rehearsals. A few shots later she adds a generous spritz on her neck just as she’s stepping onto the scene.

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Christian Dior Gris Montaigne : Perfume Review

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“These two hues remain my two favorite colors of choice in couture,” wrote Christian Dior in his Little Dictionary of Fashion. He was talking about grey and pink, the colors that inspired many of his collections and his first boutique on Rue Montaigne in Paris, where the walls, the molds, and even the Louis XVI medallion chairs were tinted soft grey. Gris Montaigne, a new perfume from the Collection Privée, is a romantic tribute to Dior’s favorite shades interpreted by in-house perfumer François Demachy.

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I probably wouldn’t describe Gris Montaigne as grey and pink if I were to smell it blindly, but the choice of delicate rose and earthy woods makes for a polished fragrance. It’s noticeable without being loud, but it has enough character to be memorable. Gris Montaigne is a pile of wood shavings drenched in rosewater, with just enough mossy, wet soil notes to keep this pastel number from becoming too prim and proper.

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Estee Lauder Youth Dew : Perfume Review (New and Vintage)

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This year Estée Lauder’s first fragrance, Youth Dew, will celebrate its 60th anniversary.  Originally conceived as perfumed bath oil, it is the dowager empress of the Lauder fragrance counter, still selling briskly despite its late middle age. So formidable is it that if you only try it once every ten years, you will recognize it.

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Youth Dew has always been a thick and nearly viscous brew. Lauder perfumes contain sumptuous amounts of perfume oil and nowhere is this illustrated as plainly as in Youth Dew, whose 30% dosage leaves a sheen on the skin.  In today’s terms, Youth Dew is retro in the same way Opium is retro; they are both heavily spiced and heavy-lidded Orientals of a type no longer in trend. As with Opium, Youth Dew is crazily ripe with orange top notes and aldehydes bursting over its clove and cinnamon heart.

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Christian Dior Miss Dior (Cherie) : Perfume Review

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I was a late convert to Miss Dior Chérie (2005), the Coco Mademoiselle sibling-scent that expanded a green patchouli note with sticky carnival accords like strawberries and caramel popcorn.  Miss Dior Chérie is aimed at the young; I was converted to it by a nineteen-year-old girl who owned her own makeup store.  She considered it the height of elegance and at first I scoffed, and then I tried.  It was too much fun to pass up, with its neon fun-fair atmosphere bopping around underneath the nose in a major chord of teenage pleasure.  Why didn’t they have stuff like this around when I was fourteen?

With the mechanisms of the perfume industry being what they are, Miss Dior Chérie was recently reformulated and renamed  Miss Dior (the “real” Miss Dior is now called Miss Dior Originale).  Sometimes the reformulations means that a “bad” ingredient was removed and replaced by a “good” (and often inferior) one, and other times it means that something that is no longer available is replaced with something that is.  The truth is, perfumes are reformulated all the time for a variety of reasons, and the differences can be subtle or striking.

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Nicole Richie Nicole : Perfume Review

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It should come as no surprise that Nicole, the debut fragrance from reality-star fashion icon Nicole Richie is—gasp!—a “fruitchouli.”  The Nicole perfume, which debuted in September in 2000 doors nationwide, features notes “ juicy blackberries and oranges from Seville, which are followed by golden amber, Moroccan rose, lily of the valley and papyrus, layered over the base of cashmere, sandalwood, sugared patchouli and vanilla absolute.” The nose behind the fragrance is Steve DeMercado, who also authored Paris Hilton’s eponymous scent as well as mall blockbusters like Marc Jacobs for Women.

According to Ms. Richie, the scent is meant to evoke her mother, who layered oil and perfume over lotion and created more than just a “one-dimensional smell.” The smell that one gets, however, leads one to contemplate how involved any particular celebrity is with the creation of their namesake fragrances.  While Sarah Jessica Parker was intimately involved with the creation of Lovely, or at least tried to steer it into darker territories, one wonders about Nicole or whether Nicole was herself steered by market trends.

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