I can't decide if I like Stella McCartney. She's sort of cool, but I never find anything I actually want in her NYC boutique and there's something about her that says "socialite" more than "artist". Then again, having Heather Mills as your temporary stepmother should allow for some slack.
I don't enjoy the original Stella, but I understand the appeal despite not being a rose person and disliking the juice that passes as rose in many commercial modern perfumes. Yes, a sheer ambery rose, whatever. I'll layer Tom Ford's Ambre Absolute and Noir de Noir, thank you very much. The various sequels and flankers are a different matter.They often smell half baked, barely blended and lackadaisically conceived.
Stella In Two actually seemed like a more interesting idea- a duo of an eau de toilette and a solid perfume that can be worn alone or together. The solid, Amber, is supposed to supply the deeper base notes while the EDT is light and fresh. Which is probably where trouble begins. The Peony EDT starts with a sharp and chemical blast that smells cheap and unpleasant. It improves when actual perfume notes start to appear- a peppery rose and a somewhat abstract and pale peony. It's nothing like the peony in Annick Goutal's Quel Amour!. The Goutal is here to make a statement, while Stella is all about blending in the background and being as unnoticed as possible.
Stella In Two Peony is bottomless by definition. If you actually want base notes, you need to add the amber. The EDT simply fades into that generic musky faux wood that too many people mistake for perfume nowadays. Is it horrible? No, we've all smelled worse. It's just not worth my skin.
Stella In Two, a 2006 release, is no longer listed on Stella McCartney's website, so I guess it's discontinued. You can find it easily online for $50 and under.
Image: The Wallflower, a1920 Norman Rockwell cover for Life magazine