elegance: 2 posts

Christian Dior’s Guide to Colors, Scents and Elegance

The world moves in cycles and so does beauty writing. A few years ago magazines were awash with articles singing paeans to the ineffable allure of French women who’ve solved the mysteries of bringing up bébé and tying scarves better than other creatures on the planet. Now we learn that French style is too limiting and severe. And–here comes the major revelation–that you can’t enjoy your croissants and fit into slim jeans too. Apparently, French women do get fat along with the rest of us.

It’s true that French style has a distinctive aesthetic based on a series of subtle subtractions. Like ballet, it makes difficult things look effortless. It’s limiting, I suppose, since the way to achieve it lies in removing, rather than adding elements–paring down accessories, color palette, shapes, etc. But it’s never boring, which is why it continues to fascinate us. Once beauty magazines are finished instructing us on how to look like Scandinavian amazons and achieve hygge and lagom with scented candles, we’ll be back to reading how to breathe like French women.

Despite its vintage (circa 1954), Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion (public library) is still a good guide to the art of French style. Fashion and the world in general have changed dramatically since Dior wrote it, but the basic premise of the attention to shape, quality and elegance holds. Mind you, at no point does Dior talk about his Dictionary as French; it’s his guide to fashion in general.

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Elegance in a Perfume Bottle

What is your most elegant perfume? What fragrance makes you feel chic and sophisticated, whatever outfit you wear and whatever the state of your hair?

When we were discussing Catherine Deneuve, elegance, and Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert on Monday, I immediately made a mental list of fragrances that have an aura of effortless elegance. Nothing overstudied or high-maintenance. The perfume that comes to mind when I think of elegance is Christian Dior Eau Sauvage. Eau Sauvage and its sister Diorella are harmonious and understated, but they sure do get noticed. Guerlain Chamade is another fragrance that makes me feel like I live a much more glamorous life than I do.

But the classics aren’t the only perfumes that feel elegant to me.  Parfums de Nicolai OdalisqueCostesEtat Libre d’Orange Putain des Palaces (name aside!), L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse, Lalique Encre Noire, Van Cleef et Arpels Cologne Noire, and Prada Infusion de Vetiver are among my favorite elegant perfumes. And of course, my beloved Serge Lutens Bois de Violette. So, as you can see, it’s quite a range!

More of my elegant perfumes can be found  at Perfume by Mood : Elegant.

Image via whenwewereyoungerandbetter

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  • Tourmaline in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Hi Frances, What a wonderful word to describe strong fragrances – “bombastic”! I wear my bombastic perfumes in cold weather. With kind regards, Tourmaline October 21, 2021 at 6:35am

  • Tourmaline in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Hi Jeanne, Well that’s interesting… I didn’t know that Les Néréides created perfume. I only knew the brand for the pretty jewellery that I’ve bought from a TV shopping network… October 21, 2021 at 6:29am

  • Monika in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Paestum Rose is extraordinary — to quote Chandler Burr — it “unfolds with a scented crepuscular darkness, a twilight that is an exact balance of disappearing sunlight and incipient evening.… October 20, 2021 at 7:27pm

  • Michele in Top Classical Patchouli Perfumes : Part 1 Patchouli: Michele: Victoria, could you review Mandy Aftel’s Bergamoss Solid. It’s a Chypres and she said she created it to be like ones first created. I’d really like to know. Thank… October 20, 2021 at 5:42pm

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