Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sonia Rykiel (1930-2016)

Sonia Rykiel quotes:
"Clothes have become ornaments again. Catalysts. It's up to each woman to protect herself."
"Being one step ahead of a fashion trend is not so important to me. What matters is to always forge ahead. " 
"First I made a dress because I was pregnant and I wanted to be the most beautiful pregnant woman. Then I made a sweater because I wanted to have one that wasn't like anyone else's. "
"People said making clothes inside out was not proper. I disagreed, because clothes that are inside out are as beautiful as a cathedral. "
"Perfume is like a parenthesis, a moment of freedom, peace, love and sensuality in between the disturbances of modern living."
"My clothes are put together out of different basic elements so that a woman can express the way she wants to look, transform, metamorphosize herself not as the woman I decided but as she herself wants to be."
"Your body can be very female, which is something you can do nothing about, but then you can have the soul, the mind and the spirit of both male and female. The women friends I am closest to somehow have this masculine side to them, they shove their hands in their pockets when they walk: I love that side." 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Guerlain- Eau de Fleur de Cedrat (Vintage Perfume)

Here's something for the dog days of summer: a classic Guerlain eau. Eau de Fleur de Cedrat was originally launched in 1920, a year after Mitsouko and five years before Shalimar. I wish I knew what it smelled like back then. Guerlain already had a "proper" eau de cologne on their shelves, Eau de Cologne Imperiale (1853), so I'm curious to know what exactly was in Jacques Guerlain's composition. My own bottle of Eau de Fleur de Cedrat is an eau de toilette and dates from 1997. That's post-LVMH but pre-IFRA and all the shenanigans of the last decade, which is why I labeled this review as "vintage perfume"

Cedrat means citron (Citrus Medica), the rather elusive relative of lemon that us Jews know as "etrog", the fruit used in the Sukkot holiday ritual. I have no idea if and how citron blossom differs from lemon or lime flower. I assume Jacques Guerlain knew what he was doing, and perhaps in  his days this perfume was more floral. what I smell is a high quality sharp citrus. It's very rindy and lemony, slightly laced with abstract green leaves that just barely soften the punch. The opening of Eau de Fleur de Cedrat is what perfume bloggers like to call "bracing", and this is exactly what one needs this time of the year.

Eau de Fleur de Cedrat might not have much of an emotional depth, at least in the 1997 and later versions I've smelled, but it's not flat or boring. The hint of dusty rough wood that holds the base together is bordering on cuminy. It's not as marvelously animalic as Eau de Cologne du Coq (1894), but just subversive enough to keep things fun if you spray heavily enough (you really should), and pay attention to things that happen on skin level. While I can't say that there is  a late dry-down, two hours after application you can still smell the relative complexity of what at first sniff seemed like nothing more than a fresh and pointy bright lemon. Then it's time to spritz again and complain about the weather.

Guerlain- Eau de Fleur de Cedrat ($104, 100ml eau de toilette) is available from major Guelain counters and online.

Image:  Maria Sibylla Merian, Citron with a Moth and a Harlequin Beetle c. 1701-2, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Killer Packaging: Estée Lauder Limited Edition Graceful Seahorses Powder Compact & Givenchy Magnolia Couture Edition Le Rouge Lipstick 306 Carmin Escarpin

Sometimes it's the packaging that reels me in and gives me that MUST HAVE NOW twitch. Of course, the makeup product has to be really really good, because I'm not a collector.  I buy stuff that I'm going to use or I leave it at the counter. I don't have the storage space for dead weight, and I already have a makeup collection that makes civilians question my sanity. However, the siren song of these two limited edition items was impossible to resist. And they made sense, each one in their own way.

Givenchy  Le Rouge Lipstck in 306 Carmin Escarpin is not a limited edition. It's part of the regular Givenchy makeup line, and I even had it in the regular bullet (click the link to see swatches)for over three years. It was one of my fail-safe red lipsticks, and the sturdy case made it an ideal makeup bag and purse resident, because it never opened accidentally. My Le Rouge Carmin Escarpin has traveled, went to events, and  dined out. I've managed to use up so much of it that I did't even flinch when it started to go off and emit a rancid smell. I got my use out of it. And I already had a replacement lying in wait: the same lipstick in Givenchy's Magnolia Couture Edition packaging.

Th lipstick is the same great satin finish poppy red. It has a makeupy scent that I'm not loving, but goes away quickly, and that's the only complaint I can think of when it comes to this favorite color and excellent lightweight and long-lasting formula. The magnolia print part of the case can be transferred to any other Givenchy Le Rouge lipstick, which I most definitely do at some point. For now, order has been restored to my universe and I have my Carmin Escarpin back in rotation.

I only have one other limited edition Estée Lauder compact, and it's the Zodiac Scorpio one from 2012 that holds the smaller Lucidity pan (I've refilled it once since buying). Lucidity is a great powder in a slightly luminous finish. I like it a lot, but have always wished for the larger pan (2" compared to the 1.5". I was surprised to see that the powder in the new and stunning Graceful Seahorses compact is a pressed version of Lauder's Perfecting Powder, a more mattifying product with a sheer finish. I don't mind, since right now I actually need a powder like that for upcoming travel, and I can refill the compact at any point with the large size Lucidity ($12, by the way, wherever Lauder products are sold).

The somewhat eyebrow-raising thing is that at this time there's no refill option if you want to stick with the Perfecting Powder. As a matter of fact, Estée Lauder doesn't offer a regular version of the pressed Perfecting at all. Also, the box says that the color of the powder in the Seahorses compact is "01 Translucent". As far as I could find out, Lauder's loose Perfecting powder comes in four shades, labeled "light", "light medium", "medium", and "deep". I have no idea if the powder in my new compact is a limited edition seasonal item or something that will be available in the future. In any case (pun not quite intended), I bought this for the seahorses and to use for many years to come, with any of Lauder's 2" powder pans that I feel like putting inside. It comes in a velveteen pouch for protection, which is a good idea. I'd hate or this beauty to scratch or lose a crystal.

Both items are obviously a limited edition products. Estée Lauder Graceful Seahorses Powder Compact ($175, made in Italy, though the box doesn't specify if the entire thing was manufactured there or just the powder) is exclusive to Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, in store and online.
Givenchy Magnolia Couture Edition Le Rouge Lipstick in 306 Carmin Escarpin ($38, made in France, and ditto on manufacturing/assembling) is available from Sephora and Barneys. The regular Le Rouge lipsticks, including Carmin Escarpin, are $36 at Sephora, Barneys, Saks, and Neiman Marcus, as well as on, where they may be also selling the Magnolia version at regular price (or perhaps they just haven't updated the stock photo).

Background used for the photo is the book Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The famous photo of model Jean Patchett is by Irving Penn, 1950.

Currently- August 2016

Just finished my yearly not-so-guilty pleasure, the new Liane Moriarty novel, Truly Madly Guilty. It was a bit gut-wrenching in a way that felt like an emotional manipulation, but I enjoy Moriarty's writing and the annual visit to Sydney and its suburbs.

As predicted last month, we binged on Orphan Black season 4 in one weekend. And can I just say how happy I am that the Olympics are over?

The acoustic version of Melt by Jones.

I've spent the last couple of days marinating in Arquiste's Fleur de Louis.

Mascara primers. All of a sudden I want lashes that touch my eyebrows. Also: powder foundations.

Frequently Worn Item/Outfit
Maxi dresses, long necklaces, wedge heels, one last hurrah of summer colors.

Brie. I love that Whole Foods specify which cheeses are made with a vegetarian rennet.

Petco's shipping. Slow and unreliable at best.

It's the little things. Laughing with my best friend until we're both breathless, kitten kisses, rediscovering an old gem in my perfume collection, my new favorite makeup brush (Koyudo Fu Pa #14), oh, and a husband who's unfazed by things beauty bloggers do.

My 20th wedding anniversary.

ACNE Studios Jensen booties in black grainy leather. If I only buy one item this fall/winter this should be it.

Random Thought
I'm actually sad about Gawker going away. While sometimes the site appeared to be all that's grating and aggravating in today's online media, it had its place. Gawker offered some good writing and clever snark, but the important thing is the way things came crashing down is simply wrong.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?
Art: William Merritt Chase, First Touch of Autumn, 1898

Monday, August 22, 2016

FotD Featuring Chanel Fall 2016 Le Rouge Collection

Or: My mom said I'm too pale, so I've put on a red blush.

As promised, here's a serving suggestion for a daytime look that includes the reds from Chanel Fall 2016 Le Rouge Collection No.1. I went with as many Chanel products as looked reasonable, and also gave their Les Beiges Healthy Glow foundation another chance, this time loading up on skin enriching The Face Shop Mango Seed Butter Glow Date-Prep, to make sure my skin texture is at its very best. Les Beiges still sucked the life out of it for the first hour of wear, before settling into a powdery matte finish. I can't see myself wearing it unless I'm going to be outside in a super humid weather. And even then I'm not sure that's the best option. My shade match, after also testing the yellower No. 21 and the darker No.40, turned to be No.30, which was not a big surprise. Out of the bottle and unblended the color looked Trumpily orange (see below), but apparently my arm has a lot more green than my face these days, so it was the better option color-wise. I did use quite a bit of Chanel Tan de Soleil  (see: my mother's comment on my lack of color).

The Face Shop Mango Seed Butter Glow Date-Prep
Le Blanc de Chanel Illuminating Base 
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow foundation No.30
Chanel Tan de Soleil Bronzing Makeup Base
Chanel Eclat Lumiere Face Pen under the eyes and around my nose to cancel the redness and brighten up. I skipped precision concealer as there was nothing particularly glaring otherwise, and  already had on more than enough base products.
I also avoided powdering, which I never do, because Holy Mother of Matte Faces.

Wet'n'Wild primer.
Chanel Fall 2016 eye shadow quad Candeur et Experience. I used all four colors, starting with the lightest brown from the lash line up to just above the crease, then added the second-lightest on the outer two thirds of the mobile lid. Nest step was mixing the red and darkest brown into the outer V, creating a shape that I topped with a lot more of the red. I've already experimented enough with it that my lids can take an abnormal amount of this color because they're that much darker than any other part of my skin. So I was not scared to pat one last coat of red before blending it carefully.
Chanel Stylo Waterproof eyeliner in Santal, which is probably the best eye pencil they ever created. Some of the Stylo pencils have a horrible texture or a miserable pigment, but Santal is excellent (and thankfully permanent). I used it on the upper lid, waterline, and lower lash line, where it stayed all afternoon and into the evening.
Le Volume de Chanel mascara in Noir. I keep acquiring samples of this mascara, and once even bought a tube, but I still don't think it's all that.

I added even more Soleil Tan de Chanel  and topped it all with the new Chanel Rouge Profond Joues Contraste Blush. After I took the photos I decided to add a touch more blush (but my camera's battery was dead by then), because I felt I could get away with it. I was wearing a maxi dress in a pale blush color. It's an unusual choice for me, and the color had the potential to wash me out (hence all that Soleil), so I made sure it didn't.

MAC Prep & Prime lip primer (because I recently repurchased for the eleventy seventh time and it was sitting there).
Chanel Precision Lip Liner in 05 Mordoré. The name means "bronze", the color is actually nude (even according to Chanel), and I'm still trying to come up with a good Sean Bean-as-Boromir "One just not simply walk into Mordoré" meme after all these years. I'm a nerd in every possible way.
Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in the new Rouge Tentation fall shade, applied with a brush and slightly blotted.

That was it. No powder, concealer, brows or gloss. The day was oppressively hot and humid, and I was already cranky about the stupid foundation. I wore my glasses later that afternoon while driving, and when I checked I saw that my eye  makeup appeared very subtle. probably because my frame is burgundy. Maybe I should have put on more red eye shadow.

Other Stuff
SotD Chanel No.19 (it was an obvious choice)
Aforementioned dress from ASOS.
Vintage necklace.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lancome, Colourpop, Kevyn Aucoin, Marc Jacobs, Zoeva, Make Up For Ever, Clio- A (Mostly) Gel Eye Pencil Extravaganza

This has happened over the last five months, so I haven't completely lost my mind. It's just that I really really (really) love my pencil eyeliners, and all the new gel formulas are making them even more wonderful than ever, and usually also spectacularly durable. Just to be clear, none of what you'll see here was given to me by PR, but a couple (will be marked as such) were gifts with various purchases. I think that together with my last eye pencil post (the Lorac one) this concludes the latest crop of pencil liners that have landed here.

From left to right:

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in M-10 (matte black), $21, made in Germany, at Sephora
BUXOM Hold The Line Waterproof Liner in I'll Be Waiting (metallic pewter), $17, made in Germany, at Ulta (GWP)
COLOURPOP Creme Gel Liner in Honey Dude (warm natural flesh tone), $5, made in USA,

I should buy more MUFE. This liner is an overachiever, a good solid black that sets quickly, lasts forever, makes a good base for a sheer shadow, and is all around a satisfying product. All the MUFE liner you'll see here were part of that Charli XCX Favorite set. It sold out quicly because the price was a bargain, but the colors are available individually.
The Buxom one is pretty, but despite the waterproof claim it melts or fades before the day is gone. I looks like Sephora doesn't stock the pencil range at all, but Ulta has them. I'm jst not very inclined to explore further.
You can't go wrong with Colourpop for the $5 price. It was my first experience with their nude options, and Honey Dude might be my favorite in this category color-wise, but like all liners that live exclusively on one's waterline, longevity is less than five hours.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in M-30 (matte pastel green), $21, made in Germany, at Sephora
Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL™ Longwear Eyeliner in Paradís - pearlized tropical green, $23, made in Germany, a Sephora exclusive
COLOURPOP Creme Gel Liner in Teaspoon (lush green grass in Emerald City), $5, made in USA,

I own more mint green eyeliners than a normal people should, but this one by MUFE is the most opaque of them and can easily used as an eye shadow, smudged nicely and quickly before it sets. I think it performs better than NARS or Lorac, and that says something.
The Liqui-Drama pencils are real drama queens. I think Paradis is the softest one of the ones I own (a growing number), and above you can see what happens when you let it sit for too long under hot lights. Below you can see it again after a good sharpening and making sure not to apply any pressure (perfect for the waterline).
Colourpop's teaspoon is probably the truest green I own's a fun little thing, especially for tightlining and on the waterline, paired with neutral colors on a summer day.

Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL™ Longwear Eyeliner in Ampoulé - pearlized bright purple, $23, made in Germany, a Sephora exclusive
MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in M-80 (matte plum), $21, made in Germany, at Sephora
CLIO GelPresso Waterproof Pencil Gel Liner in 17 Black Plum, $22, made in Korea, (also on Amazon for far less through third-party vendors).

Lancome Ampoule was an impulse buy. I was playing at Sephora last week with my nine year old niece and we both felt this was the most glorious shiny purple ever. We shall see how I can incorporate it into a non-9-year-old looks (taupe will happen), but it made me happy.
Once again, MUFE deliver a wearable, reliable, and opaque color. It looks ready for fall, but worked well with summer  sandy hues.
Clio is a youthful Korean brand that makes fun and shiny things. I love the almost truly waterproof smooth gel liner enough to wish they had a few more middle-aged appropriate colors.

Zoeva Graphic Eye+ in Taupe, 7.80 EUR, mae in Germany,
COLOURPOP Creme Gel Liner in Call Me (plummy brown), $5, made in USA,
COLOURPOP Creme Gel Liner in Stomper (cool one brown), $5, made in USA,

Zoeva is a much-hyped (on YouTube, at least) German brand. Their affordable brush sets were the first one to be sent to vloggers around the world, followed by their palettes (very pretty). I got curious enough to order a thing or two, one of them being this irresistible taupe liner. It's not a gel and not extremely long-lasting, but the color is all I could hope for. I'm still learning all that I could do with it, but I can say that it was worth the long wait for my package to arrive from Germany.
The differences between the two brown Colourpop pencils barely show on my lids or waterline. You can go with either one, unless you're so pale (and blue-eyes) that the variations actually matter.

MARC JACOBS Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in Midnight In Paris 72 (metallic blackened blue), $25, made in Korea, at Neiman Marcus and Sephora
KEVYN AUCOIN The Precision Eye Definer in Evergreen (dark greenish teal), $32, made in Germany, at Sephora and most department stores
Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL™ Longwear Eyeliner in Côte D'azur- a careless summer blue, $23, made in Germany, a Sephora exclusive (a GWP).
MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in I-24 (iridescent blue with green sparkles), $21, made in Germany, at Sephora.

Previous incarnations of Marc Jacbos eyeliner had various issues (from stinging to disintegrating), but I'm fully impressed with the current Highliners. Midnight in Paris is a metallic denim color that glides on very smoothly. I was intrigued to learn that it's made in Korea (It Cosmetics and Stila have been sourcing their eyeliners there very successfully).
I first tested the latest formula of Kevyn Aucoin eyeliners back in May during the NYC Makeup Show. That swatch lasted for for five days, through oil cleansing, showers, and cats. The one I tried was a navy blue, but a few days later I decided to buy something different and go with Evergreen that reminded me of MAC eye shadow in Plumage  Longevity around the eye is not as insane as on the wrist, but it's still phenomenal.
You already know the story of the Lancôme pencils. I will end up owning almost all of them.
MUFE I-24 is a fun bright color for blue-lovers. The sparkle is toned-down, so it's reasonably easy to wear.

That concludes this eyeliner roundup. Any favorites? Do I need anything else?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cargo Mendocino Blush & Bali Swimmable Blush

I know that we're all digging into fall collections now, partly in an effort to forget that it's August and the weather is downright insufferable. However, it is still summer, and these two blushes from Cargo are quite a good fit for the current mood. They have a summery packaging (I love the seaside illustration on their boxes), and the Swimmable range is spot-on for days you feel like you're walking through thick soup as soon as you get out of the door.  Both were sent to me months ago and I almost forgot about them for a while, only to rediscover that I could put them into good and effective day.

Cargo regular blush and the water-resistant Swimmable feel very different. I only have one example of each, so they might be slight variations between colors, but here's what I've experienced. The regular powder blush in Mendocino, a true berry shade with the finest shimmer, feels almost gritty when first swatched. It has put me off slightly, because there are so many finely-milled blushes competing for cheek space that it was surprising to encounter this hard-pressed dense texture. It's a good reminder, though, that powder blushes are not applies or blended with fingers, and the test is in the final look on one's face.

A standard blush brush picks enough product at first swipe (it is richly pigmented) and blends it nicely with little effort. Mendocino looks healthy and radiant on skin, and in my opinion is a great summer-to-fall color. I like it quite a bit, but here's where I understood Cargo's need for a second, long-lasting formula. It might be because of the texture and the way the blush sits on skin, but on very well-prepped face it absolutely requires a setting-spray if I expect it to stay put throughout the day. Otherwise it fades within three hours or as soon as I touch my face. Applied over a cream blush Mendocino lasts significantly longer. Still, I expected more.

Bali Swimmable blush provided a different kind of surprise. Looking at it in the pan I expected this warm desert rose shade to be significantly bolder. Touching the surface, I thought this was Cargo's big win. The silicone (beware if you're sensitive) gives the blush a great texture and a beautiful sheen. However, it affects the way the pigment appears o my skin, unless I build it up to a level I usually don't dare to go. It requires a dense, preferably synthetic flat-top brush and some buffing. Another way to go is to use Bali as a blush-topper.

As for the water-resistant claim, the jury is still out. I'm not a swimmer, so that hasn't been tested. I think Swimmable holds through sweat and a summer rain reasonably well, but then again, almost every blush in my collection does, so I don't see the big deal. It doesn't require a special cleanser, doesn't leave a stain, and a quick swipe of pre-cleansing Bioderma removes all traces of Bali.

Bottom Line: For the colors, not the formulas.

Cargo Mendocino Blush & Bali Swimmable Blush ($26 each, made in Canada) can be purchased from Ulta's website (not in store, though). The products for this review were sent to me by PR.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Chanel Fall 2016 Candeur et Experience Eye Shadow Quad & Rouge Tentation Rouge Allure Lipstick Le Rouge Collection No.1

Add this to the list of FotDs I must create in the coming days (what are you doing this weekend?), because my brushes and fingers are itching to see what I can with the stunning Le Rouge Collection No.1 Chanel has launched for Fall 2016. Funny enough, I only picked three items, and none of them appears to be a limited edition (the counters sell out but restock rather quickly).  I wasn't even going to buy the Candeur et Experience Eye Shadow Quad, but this is just not something a Chanel fan can pass (and I am, all kvetching aside). An all-matte, silky smooth eye shadow palette with colors that definitely veer fro the champagne, peach, hunter green stuff I end up buying every fall. The lipstick was a no-brainer, like the blush I've shown you last week. A Rouge Allure in a berry-based red? Why, of course. It did take me some digging and searching to verify that I do not currently own not have I ever had a Chanel lipstick called "Tentation(s)". I finally decided that I was thinking of the 1996 Paloma Picasso perfume, Tentations, which I'm pretty sure I never liked. Order restored.

I have a nice little collection of Chanel Les 4 Ombres eye shadow quads in various formulas and finishes, but none resembles Candeur. The fairy wing matte of all four colors is spectacular. I find that I need a good creamy primer, not so much to bring the pigment forward, but to make sure that the gentle blending I unleash does not take away from the sophisticated gradient. The colors are three must-have classics: camel, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate, and one trendy burst of awesomeness, an ancient red brick (think of those old old masonry wonders in England).

You know me. I am not prone to go antiquing in a red eye shadow all over my lid, nor would I venture on an outing with various nieces and nephews sporting a red wing. I layer and I blend, and I've found that the infuriating dark skin of my lids (blood vessel galore) is not just forgiving, but also encouraging experimenting with colors. The red can go in the crease with a brown chaperone, used with a lighter color on the middle of the lid, or just go anywhere I see fit. Worst case scenario I break out the Bi-Facil.

The beautiful rich and easy to wear formula of Chanel's Rouge Allure lipstick needs no introduction. I don't buy the Velvet versions, because  I have a nightmare of being buried alive under barely used matte lipsticks. But the regular Rouge Allure as an elegant and moderate satin finish, enough pigment to leave a stain behind, and is is among my favorite treats. Rouge Tentation appears significantly warmer and redder in the tube than on my skin and lips, and will depend on  your own natural lip pigment. When I wear it I get the perfect fall berry, with just enough true red to complement the other items I picked from this collection.

Bottom Line: It's Chanel and it's red. What do you think?

Chanel Fall 2016 Candeur et Experience Eye Shadow Quad ($61, made in Italy)  and Rouge Tentation Rouge Allure Lipstick ($37, made in France) are available at the counters and from

Book used as a background is Chanel Collections and Creations by Daniele Bott, published by Thames & Hudson.

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