Violet: 40 posts

B. Balenciaga : Fragrance Review

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As I take whiffs from a blotter of B. Balenciaga, I think of curves. Or to use French perfumery jargon, gras. Call it whatever you want–richness, unctuousness or fat, it denotes a certain voluptuous quality. Chanel No. 22 has plenty of it. Robert Piguet Fracas is positively wallowing in opulence. Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum, to use a recent example, has a discrete but well-judged dose. By contrast, B. Balenciaga is a slender creature.  Not many curves on it.

balenciaga

The lack 0f curves in B. doesn’t entirely detract from its charm. It’s true that many big launches are so market tested and panel judged that by the time they hit the store shelves, they’re nothing but pale bones. (If you want gras, then you have to explore boutique brands, but that, forgive the pun, requires a fat wallet.) B. is much better than most. Yes, it’s sheer and mild mannered, but it makes up for the lack of lush, soft layers with sparkling accords of green buds, spring blossoms and crisp amber. It has a contemporary radiant aesthetic, and the kind of versatility that makes B. suitable for all sorts of occasions.

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Lady Gaga Eau de Gaga : Perfume Review

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Lady Gaga the performer is all about provocation and surprise, but her first fragrance, Fame, was anything but dramatic. When it came to creating Eau de Gaga, the singer was apparently much more hands-on, and for better or worse, offered plenty of opinions. So, what do we get in the elegant black bottle?

gaga

Spray Eau de Gaga liberally on your skin and take a deep inhale. If you expected candies and fluffy musk, then you’ll be surprised. It’s not sweet. It’s not fruity. Eau de Gaga is a green tea cologne, with a big dose of violet. A 21st century CK One, if you will. It has a bright and inviting introduction laced with lots of peppery citrus and green violet leaves. It’s sophisticated and polished.

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Givenchy Ysatis : Fragrance Review

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Patricia tries on Givenchy’s Ysatis, once one of her signature perfumes, to see if it still fits.

The 1980s were a big decade. Big shoulders, big hair, a boom economy, and over-the-top perfumes. Givenchy Ysatis, a mossy floral created in 1984 by Dominique Ropion, was one of these, and I wore it happily for several years. At the time I was a serial monogomist where perfume was concerned, and Ysatis fit neatly between K de Krizia and Jean Louis Scherrer, Scherrer 2 in my rotation. As a mother of very young children, I enjoyed an occasional evening out, dressed to the nines and enveloped in a cloud of Ysatis.

ysatis

The perfume starts out with a blast–woody, floral, sweet, and powdery, accompanied with refreshing citrus notes and creamy coconut. Lush white floral notes, mostly fruity jasmine and ylang-ylang, dominate for the next few hours, before mellowing into a sweet and creamy dry down. It’s a  high-calorie feast of musk, amber, vanilla, and sandalwood that reminds us that Ysatis was born in the “more is more” fashion era. The dry down reminds me of the baby powder I once used on my children. While I liked this at the time, it now strikes me as cloying.

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Estee Lauder Sensuous, Sensuous Nude, and Sensuous Noir : Fragrance Reviews

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Everyone in the perfume world bristled at Estée Lauder’s recent claims that Modern Muse was its first major launch since Beyond Paradise. They may want us to forget about Sensuous, but we haven’t! Today, Elisa revisits Sensuous and its two flankers.

noir

Sensuous

3 stars

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Sensuous (2008) is one of those rare perfumes that is not (quite) as good as its flankers. It’s almost as though Estée Lauder designed the pillar with the flankers in mind – it’s a stripped down skin scent practically begging to be layered or embellished.

But simple or not, Sensuous is exceedingly comfortable and well done. It doesn’t have a pyramid-style development, just a fairly linear balance between soft white floral notes (jasmine and lily), warm woody notes, and a citrusy white musk. (Note, however, that anything with vanilla smells more vanillic as it dries down.) In classic Estee Lauder style, it radiates good taste – there’s a daytime-appropriate freshness you rarely see in amber fragrances, and the sweetness is restrained, never verging on gourmand.

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Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel : Fragrance Review

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Andy discovers a gem in Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel.

I thought I had seen all the facets of violet: powdery, sweet, innocent—but a violet “pour homme”? While the masculine violet theme of Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel sounded rather sophisticated, I couldn’t help noticing that the fittingly monochromatic boxes of this perfume sat untouched at my local discount shop for months on end. Was Grey Flannel a hidden gem? Or was it better left forgotten? Deliberating by the clearance shelf last winter, I finally decided to take the plunge, and soon realized I had been missing out on a classic that I now consider my ultimate violet perfume.

grey-flannel

Grey Flannel, released in 1975, owes its name to the soft fabric that designer Geoffrey Beene was inspired to use for couture dresses and menswear alike. Like some of Beene’s inimitable fashion designs, Grey Flannel seems to be neither derivative nor have any copycats. Men’s fragrances have long featured floral accords, but few do so as interestingly as Grey Flannel, which entwines violet and moss covered woods in a unique embrace. It subsequently inspired Dior Fahrenheit, itself a major trendsetter, and it still remains a distinctive, memorable fragrance.

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