Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sonoma Scent Studio- Champagne de Bois

Every compliment I've received on a perfume lately has been because of Champagne de Bois from Sonoma Scent Studio. Of course, it might also have something to do with wearing this fragrance very often (well, often for me), which is also an indication for a serious love and a really really good perfume.

A few years ago, when Champagne de Bois first appeared on the scene, I remember conversations with other fragonerds who compared it to  Chanel Bois des Iles. This comparison actually was the reason I wasn't in a hurry to get acquainted with Laurie Erickson's creation-- after all, I already had a bottle of Bois des Iles parfum. Silly me.

While Champagne de Bois and the Chanel classic share the idea of aldehydes that lift a heavier spicy woody base and make it sparkle, as well as the use of a beautiful sandalwood note. But while Bois des Iles is also cozy and foody with its gingerbread note, Champagne de Bois is decidedly ambery and somehow maintains an outdoorsy, living wood feel. Now, I'm an urban person and nature tends to freak me out, but I love the bottled feel of it in perfume; this is exactly what I get from this Sonoma Scent Studio fragrance: a hint of en enchanted forest, sparkling gems in an ancient treasure box and the creamy sweetness of a beautiful amber that stays on the skin forever and ever (12 hours easily, the sillage is noticeable for 6-8 hours).

Notes: aldehydes, jasmine, clove, sandalwood , labdanum absolute, vetiver, amber.

See more reviews by Abigail and Birgit, as well as Victoria's guide to champagne-like perfumes.

I just took a look at the Sonoma Scent Studio site and noticed that Champagne de Bois is temporarily out of stock. I hope it's back soon, so everyone can order samples. The 5 ml purse spray that I've been quickly depleting is priced somewhere round $16, if I remember correctly.

Art: Maples by Alexander Volkov.

Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15- Luminous

I've had this mini tube of Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 in Luminous since last summer but never touched it, since Luminous seemed like the lightest shade (of five) for this product. Then this winter happened and somehow I've been going lighter and sheerer with my base products, so I started using Smashbox Luminous first to adjust the color of other foundations, and eventually on its own.

Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 is, indeed, sheer. Luminous is not even that-- it's a tinted light-reflecting liquid that melds with the skin and gives a natural glow. Between the glow and the light moisturizing formula it is great for mixing with other products (as per Smashbox website) as well as to wear on its own over a primer. You can see in the swatch that it completely disappears once blended and doesn't leave any shimmer or particles behind. On the face it has the most subtle glow effect, so lately I've been using equal parts of Smashbox Luminous and a real tinted moisturizer for minimal coverage and an optimal skin texture, while supplementing with a good powder.

Bottom Line: nice to have.

Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 ($30) is available from Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta and The mini tube I have was a GWP, but I can't remember from whom or why.

Le Metier de Beaute Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit Spring 2012 Northern Lights Collection

The beautiful Northern Lights rarely make their way down here to the NY Metro-area. I think I remember one instance in the last 12 years. On the other hand, we have access to some great makeup, so I will not complain. I usually take the marketing spiel about the inspiration for makeup collections with a good sized grain of salt, but when you see the Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit from Le Metier de Beaute's Spring 2012 Northern Lights collection you can't miss the light effects and the play on the colors that appear in the northern skies. It's even more evident when you combine the colors from the Kaleidoscope to create your own effects.

One word about the concept of the Kaleidoscope. The key words are "lip kit". Each palette gives you four colors in different textures that allow you to make your own interpretations of the season's looks. Some of the colors in Le Metier Kaleidoscopes are warm and some are cool, which often scares those of us who internalized the warm-or-cool range color theory. The thing is that we're all somewhere on the spectrum, and look best when the balance is right. The Kaleidoscopes allow us to find several such sweet spots.

The Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit has four options in Le Métier de Beauté’s Lip Crème lip gloss formula, some more glossy, others are more of a liquid lipstick:
Illuminate: a shimmering hot pink with a sheer finish.
Voltaic: a satin (almost cream) nude. It's somewhere between beige and mauve.
Dynamos: a high shimmer coral-tangerine.
Eos: an opaque texture, creamy very pink. It's a cool shade between Barbie pink and a very bright fuchsia.

Aurora arrived yesterday, so while I'm wearing it today I only had a limited chance to test drive all the options of layering and mixing. Le Metier suggested that we apply the tiers from top to bottom (thin layers, use a flat brush such as Hakuhodo 270). So far I like all four blended together or using the colors in pairs (the ones that look best on me are the two top ones and the two bottom ones.

The glosses in  the Aurora Kaleidoscope are scented with the familiar delicious sweet caramel-vanilla with a hint of coconut milk of Le Metier's Lip Creme. I love it, and it doesn't last, but if you're sensitive take it into account. The glosses are not sticky and have a great lasting power for this kind of product, probably because of the creamy almost lipsticky texture.

Bottom Line: Adore.

Le Metier de Beaute Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit Spring 2012 Northern Lights Collection ($95) will be arriving the counters (Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, select Nordstrom locations) in mid-March. It was sent to me free of charge by the company.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Neela Vermeire Creations- Mohur

One weekend after buying lottery tickets the husband and I were fantasizing about what we would do with the money we were sure to win (it was one of those hundreds of million dollar draws that we couldn't resist trying our luck). There's the real estate somewhere between Lazio and Tuscany, the little house in Santa Monica, a cat shelter or two. And then there's the perfume line: small, well-curated and commissioned from a our favorite perfumers. Why, of course.

Neela Vermeire already achieved a similar dream (no, not the lottery thing) when she transitioned from practicing law to founding a perfume house. She partnered with super-nose Bertrand Duchaufour and launched three perfumes based on her memories from her native India and her knowledge of the culture and history of that magical land.

According to Professor Wikipedia,
"The word 'Mohur' or 'Mohor' is derived from Sanskrit word 'Mudra' which means 'symbol', 'seal', as also 'ring'
...A Mohur is a gold coin that was formerly minted by several governments including British India (including the Princely States) and the Moghul Empire..."
Neela Vermeire's Mohur is a tribute to the most powerful empress of the Mughal dynasty, Noor Jahan (1577–1645) who minted her own coins. After her husband's death, Noor Jahan devoted some of her life to the making of perfume, particularly using falanja, an art form her mother had passed down.

Mohur is also meant to evoke the much later era of the British Raj, the one often romanticized in books and movies, probably because of the juxtaposed images of Victorian and Edwardian men and women against the exotic locales of India. Long lacy dresses, leather steam trunks, high tea, polo matches-- surrounded by the vibrant colors and spices. It's already proven irresistible.

Mohur is a spicy rose perfume, with so much more going on that it amazes me that it's actually contained in the bottle. I smell the cardamom and coriander right away and they take the rose and paint it orange and fuchsia.  The rose is also infused with some well-behaved oud and quite a bit of smooth well-worn leather, keeping it from making a gender statement. This is such a round, kaleidoscopic note and image you get the impression of going on a trip and perhaps traveling in time. Just close your eyes and you're there.

Mohur also has a very seductive gourmand facet. I love Indian desserts-- the puddings and sweets-- rice steamed in milk, a carrot confection decorated with blanched almonds, vanilla ice cream infused with rosewater. I find it all in Mohur and feel like I'm getting drunk on the milkiness and spice. It's that good.

Notes: cardamom, coriander, ambrette, carrot, black pepper, elemi, rose, jasmine, orris, aubepin flower, almond milk, violet, leather, sandalwood, amber, white woods, patchouli, oudh, benzoin, vanilla and tonka bean.

More reviews by Ines and Birgit.

Neela Vermeire Creations- Mohur ($250, 55 ml) is available from Luckyscent, but even better, you can do what my husband did when he was looking to buy me an unusual Valentine's Day gift.  He ordered the discovery set, 10 ml of all three Neela Vermeire perfumes (90 euro) directly from the perfumer's website, (samples also available).

Art: An illustrations for The Raj Quartet by Finn Campbell-Notman for the Folio Society edition.

Dior Bleu de Paris 5 Couleurs - New Look Eyeshadow Palette

I fell in love with Dior Bleu de Paris eye shadow palette from the moment I saw Lisa Eldridge using it to create a navy blue smoky eye. I pre-ordered it the minute I could (for some reason, the other palettes in the New Look series arrived before Bleu de Paris), and have been ridiculously completely taken with it since.

Bleu de Paris (254) is one of four palettes that were released recently as part of Dior's New Look line (an homage to Christian Dior's 1947 iconic collection). I won't try to analyze the palettes within this context, though, because it's more of a marketing thing than a lesson in fashion history. I'm happy enough that the palettes are pretty and offer a bunch of great colors and finishes. I also got the more neutral Grege quint and will show and review it soon.

Bleu de Paris has one truly matte shade (the navy blue), while the other ones offer various degrees of shimmer. Just like with other Dior palettes, you really don't have to use all (or even most) colors at once, but they give you options and help elevate simple looks. I've found that the bolder blues in this palette can be easily paired with the mostly matte shades from Grege, or you can follow Lisa Eldridge's tutorial for a stunning evening look. I'm darker than her model, so a little toned down version of the same idea works for me during the day.

Bottom Line: a must-have for fans of blue eye shadow.

Dior Bleu de Paris 5 Couleurs - New Look Eyeshadow Palette ($59) is available at the counters.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Perfumes To Fight Ennui

Or: Top Perfumes to Beat The Blahs

Call it whatever you want, but the tail end of February is the dreariest time of the year. I always thought there's a good reason why it's the shortest month: how many days of this can we stand? Of course, 2012 is a leap year, so we're slapped with one extra day of winter ennui. It calls for some serious olfactory measures to shake things up, improve the mood and deal with the Februariness of it all. Here's my list of ten perfumes to brighten our days:

Balmain-Vent Vert
Any formula will do, really, though obviously I'm partial to the vintage. Bracing, sharp and oh so wonderfully green.

Tauer- Incense Rosé
I called it effulgent when I first reviewed this 2008 perfume by Andy Tauer, and I stand behind this adjective. Incense and sunshine.

Vero Profume- Rubj
White flowers were never happier to meet you.

Givenchy- Amarige Mimosa (The Harvest Series)
There were several limited editions from these series. Mine is the 2007 but any will do if you can find them. Honey and violets without the abrasive attitude of the original Amarige.

Neela Vermeire Creations- Bombay Bling
AKA The One With The Mango. A Bollywood movie in a bottle, colors, dancing and fun guaranteed.

Mona di Orio- Jabu
Jabu means "joy" in Zulu, a floriental means "joy" in my private language.

Madini- Ambargris
A very cheap thrill, sweet and animalic. Ambargris will distract you and everyone in your vicinity and put an end to any ennui and stupid thoughts.

CB I Hate Perfume- Various Accords
What will make you happy? Banana Foster? Clean sheets? A doll's head? new shoes or a birthday cake? CB has them all. So many accords, so much fun. It will be spring before you notice.

Frederic Malle- Le Parfum de Thérèse
Reminding us that about the beauty that's everywhere around us. A heart-stirring classic masterpiece.

Aftelier- Cacao
Because chocolate truffles with an orange center make everything better.

What do you wear to fight the blahs?

Image: model Snejana Onopka as photographed by Andreas Ohlund for Cover magazine, January 2011.

Zoya Codie Nail Polish

Codie was released as part of Zoya Smoke & Mirror collection for fall 2011. It's the darkest and most sinister shade of the bunch (most of them play with a lavender blue theme). It caught my eye a couple of months ago at Ulta, because the light there showed made it look like a very dark espresso shade. Of course, store lights lie, and Codie has a surprising khaki/olive undertone (you'll have to click on the photos and see the full size).

Zoya's Codie looks like it belongs in StrangeBeautiful Camo Library as far as complexity goes. Surprisingly, non of the Camo nail lacquers is even remotely a twin-- they're either more brown or more khaki. The closest shade I have is Essie Little Brown Dress, but that one is more straightforward brown (you can't really tell the difference in the shade, though). The Chanel colors you see here, Imperial and Khaki Brun, show how far Codie is from both extremes:warm brown and khaki.

The quality of the nail polish is great, as is usually the case with Zoya. Easy to apply, creamy and withstand the usual abuse I inflict on my nails.

Bottom Line: elegant and just edgy enough to be fun.

Zoya nail polish ($8) can be found at Ulta stores.

Beauty Is Life Balina 03C Multi-Touch Powder

Beauty Is Life is a German makeup brand that was created by stage makeup artist Beatrix Isabel Lied (I'd go out on a limb and say she used her initials to come up with the name of her line). Beauty Is Life made its first appearance at Barneys nearly two years ago, offering a full range of color products, as well as brushes. The display always looks bright and inviting, so I've been playing with the items at every visit to Barneys, but kept coming back to one product: Multi-Touch Powder in Balina (03C). No matter who mans the counter at any given time, they always give my face the finishing touch of Balina. I can take a hint.

This Multi-Touch Powder from Beauty Is Life is somewhere between a finishing powder and a light bronzer. It's a similar idea to Smashbox Soft Lights, but with less glow. Balina adds life to my face, gives a finished and polished look and appears more natural than many colors in this category. It's a golden beige shade with a healthy rosiness that keeps the color from being too warm. You're supposed to apply it all over or to the high points of the face using a fluffy brush. Beauty Is Life have a huge fan brush for this purpose ($70), but I played with it enough to know that I prefer its equivalent Louise Young Super Fan brush (LY20) (around $42). I also tried several powder and bronzer brushes, but the fan is ideal for this purpose.

I swatched Balina very heavily, just to give you a better idea of the color. The correct application is lighter and  you can adjust it to look either more like a flush or like a soft tan. This  Multi-Touch Powder comes in several other shades from porcelain (Pale 01C) to the golden brown of Sable d’Or (02W), but Balina was the only one that suited me. It's interesting to note that according to Beauty Is Life's 9R Typology color system, my skin tone falls closer to the cool color range. It explains a lot about my weird coloring (it's not easy being green).

Bottom Line: Balina found a permanent place in my heart and color arsenal.

Beauty Is Life Multi-Touch Powder ($50) is exclusive to Barneys, in store and online.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hermès- Équipage

The 1970s are not necessarily heralded for tasteful fashion and imagery. There are a few exceptions, though, especially in fragrance. They remind us that not all men wore polyester suits with lapels up to here and chest hair down to there. On Savile Row, Tommy Nutter made some the most exquisite suits, reinventing the classic style for his celeb clients of the new generation. On rue du Faubourg in Paris there was and is Hermes.

Equipage, a masculine Hermès fragrance was composed by Guy Robert and Jean-Louis Sieuzac in 1970. I was born that same year, so my perfume sniffing years were still way ahead, so I can't tell how Équipage was perceived then. Today, when smelling both my "vintage" (circa late 80s) bottle and the current version at the Hermes boutique, Équipage give the impression of an old world elegance and refinement. While it's generally a green leather masculine, I'm the one wearing Équipage in our house, as the husband isn't very taken with mossy perfumes on his own skin (I suspect he finds them a bit dated).

Lovers of herbal perfumes will enjoy the green blast in the opening of Équipage. I get clary sage more than anything else, which I love-- it's has complex presence that includes minty facets as well as an almost medicinal bitterness. I love this style of opening notes much better than the generic citrus you find in most masculine scents nowadays. There's life beyond bergamot, after all.

The lion part of Hermès Équipage happens in a wood-paneled, leather-upholstered room where just a hint of pine smoke or incense perfumes the air. There's also a carefully chosen antique vase on the vintage table that holds a large bouquet of colorful flowers that liven up the room. There are enough fresh carnations there to lend a clove note (which is why I never bought a bottle for my dad, dentist's son, who loathes clove). Sometimes I could swear I smell galbanum, but that is most likely just the effect of the other bitter green notes.

As Équipage dries down on my skin, most of the greenery disappears and what's left is a very chypre-like oakmoss-patchouli-vetiver base. It's an almost Bandit-light thing, perhaps a little closer to the original Armani (1981). The base is gender-neutral in my opinion, as long as one likes these kind of thing and enjoys bitter leathers. The sillage is pretty minimal, at least from my old bottle, and the staying power of this EDT is about 6 hours on skin and longer as elegant remnants on scarves and sweaters.

I'm very happy that Hermès keeps Équipage around, even if they don't advertise or promote it in any way. It deserves more attention and recognition, especially from a certain potential consumer who appreciates finer things, has an eye for vintage accessories and really wants to smell a bit different among the Creed and Tom Ford wearers.

Notes (via Bois de Jasmin): marjoram, clary sage, tarragon, carnation, lily of the valley, cinnamon, pine needles, hyssop, liatris, patchouli, vetiver, oakmoss, amber, coumarin, and tonka bean.

See more reviews of Equipage on Now Smell This and Bois de Jasmin.

Hermès Équipage is available from Hermes boutiques and top department stores as well as online. Older bottles are relatively easy to find.

Photo of Tommy Nutter circa 1970 from

Lorac Translucent Touch Up Powder

My usual color in Lorac Translucent Touch Up Powder is actually TL 2, the light-medium option. However, the one you see here is TL 2.5, and I got it because it provides a little extra support and coverage when using a tinted moisturizer (see yesterday's post).

Lorac's translucent powder is very fine and light. It's not drying at all, so I can't comment on how it will perform if you have oily skin. Mine is dry, but I like a polished, finished-to-perfection makeup look, and Lorac's powder is one of few products that give this result without messing up the delicate balance. The little velveteen puff that comes in the compact is utterly useless. If you like puffs, get a good one, but I prefer to use brushes, either a dense one that pushes powder onto the skin or a fluffy one that gives the lightest possible dusting for quick touch-ups.

Bottom Line: a makeup bag staple

Lorac Translucent Touch Up Powder ($32) is available at Sephora and Ulta, in store and online.

Top photo from

Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil Seal Brown 02

Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil  is a unique product in the brow-savers category. "Hard Formula" doesn't even begin to describe this texture, which causes quite a bit of skepticism at first use until you get the hang of it.  Shu Uemura's brow pencil is, indeed, hard. Very hard. It doesn't yield, so you need to use it in short and precise strokes, otherwise it will pull the skin. The hard formula ensures the pigment will never move and migrate. It also prevents patchy application-- you will not be able to draw a long thin line, exactly because you're not supposed to do it.

Instead, the pencil that only releases pigment on contact with the natural oils of the brows, allows to fill in patchy brows, making them more even and better defined. It just takes a little longer to notice that the pencil actually draws something-- it's far less obvious than when working with a regular pencil or a powder.

Now, personally, I still prefer the control I have when using a brow powder and a good brush. Mostly because that way I can mix a few colors together until I get the right shade. Also, since my brows are pretty full, the powders hold on perfectly and I never have issues with smearing and fading. But those of you who need extra help are likely to find the Shu Uemura Hard Formula pencil to be a brow saver.

Swatching this Shu Uemura pencil was not easy. But I wanted to give you a good idea about the color of  Seal Brown 02. It's a cool dusty dark brown that matches dark non-black eye brows. It has no red and hardly any warmth, which is important to me. The finished look I get is wonderfully natural. I can't tell I did much with the brows, but the sparse areas are just a little fuller.

Bottom Line: for just about everyone.

Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil ($23) is available from or at the counters if you're lucky enough to have them in your countries.

Photo of Joan Crawford: Stirred Straight Up With A Twist.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aftelier Chocolate And Saffron Body Oil & Hair Elixir

Aftelier Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil & Hair Elixir should probably come with a warning label for people on a strict diet, because it's bound to cause serious cravings (I'm chomping on some milk chocolate as we speak).  The scent of this oil is so scrumptious it's almost indecent. It's a very lightly spiced chocolate with a hint of what I can only describe as yellow flowers. Chocolate and warm sun on your skin-- can it get any better?

The Chocolate And Saffron body oil/hair elixir is part of perfumer Mandy Aftel's expanded Aftelier line. I didn't know what exactly to expect, but the instantly-absorbing texture caught me by surprise-- made of jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil-- leaves no grease behind. It's incredibly softening and gentle on the skin. Also, once I got brave enough to try the oil/elixir on my hair the effect was similar: smooth, soft, and wonderfully smelling without weighing down (I have very thick long hair).

The effect of the elixir on my gator skin lasts for 4-6 hours (much longer on my hair), the fragrance remains close to the skin and doesn't invade other's space. It's ideal either under chocolaty perfumes (Aftelier Cacao) or by itself before bed, especially if you prefer soft and non-distracting scents. As long as you can deal with the forming addiction. Just make sure you shake the bottle well before use, as the heavier parts tend to sink to the bottom.

Aftelier Chocolate And Saffron Body Oil & Hair Elixir ($40, 3.5 oz) is available from, where you can also purchase samples of this one and the other four scents. The product was sent to me free of charge by the perfumer.


Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 (and tips for dealing with winter skin)

'Tis the season. For wan, pale flaky skin, that is. I do my best and employ all the big skincare guns, but some days are just not pretty, especially while having even the mildest cold. I know that for many, the first instinct (well, second, after hiding under the blankets until spring brings better skin days) is to cover it all up, but you know this never ever works.

My three part solution is simple: First, moisturize. It's a no-brainer, but don't experiment. Use something tried and true that you know will work for your skin. I've been using Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre ($16 at BeautyHabit) and it makes me feel better instantly.

Then, use a hydrating primer. I'm a huge fan of primers and never ever put on my makeup without one, no matter what. Yes, they work. Yes, they make a difference. It's a matter of find the right one(s) for both your skin and your base makeup. A good primer will enhance the performance of whatever you apply on top, including a tinted moisturizer. I'm on my second tube of Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer, which works wonderfully with every tinted moisturizer I have: Laura Mercier SPF 20, Smashbox's ones and LMdB Peau Vierge.  They all do their thing better with some support.

The last step is a good tinted moisturizer. Peau Vierge is my go-to product, but I've had several days lately that my skin was paler and greener than usual. None of my foundations and tinted moisturizers looked right. Now, I'm not Snow White. I'm olive with a clear Mediterranean look, but I'm also pale, so all those light-medium shades with lots of yellow pigment rarely match me even on a good day. Luckily, a quick rummaging in my foundation drawer brought forth this Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Nude, the second to lightest shade.

The texture of Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 is wonderfully light and truly moisturizing. It adheres to the skin with magical ease, and smooths things just enough to give a healthier and more even look. It makes me appear... dare I say it...? Human. And alive. The swatch you see is a) too heavy, and b) not blended. Still, you can see how close it is to my natural color and that the texture is very light.  The primer makes this base color last for as long as I need it and helps create the smooth appearance. Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer is among the finest I've come across. Having an SPF 20 doesn't hurt, either.

Bottom Line: I wish they offered more shades, for days I look a little more alive.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($42) is available from the counters, Sephora and The one you see here was a GWP.

Laura Mercier Topaz Luster Eye Colour

I love the texture of Laura Mercier Luster Eye Colour shadows-- it's smooth and iridescent while still maintaining a low-key sophistication that makes them an easy choice on a daily basis. Topaz, a hard to describe taupe with a  pink cast, is something I often use to bind and blend other colors together. It's a color that lends itself to many looks, from the typical understated Laura Mercier ones to the less neutral. It always works.

The high level of shimmer creates some mess in and around the compact, but on a well-primed lid I don't get any debris. It stays put, remains pretty and holds its own against other high quality eye shadows.

Bottom Line: a basic.

Laura Mercier Topaz Luster Eye Colour ($22) is available at the counters and from

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Salvatore Ferragamo- Attimo Pour Homme

The first few minutes of wearing Salvatore Ferragamo Attimo Pour Homme are so magnificently ridiculous that I almost laughed. It has that citrusy sharp accord that has become a trademark of department store's masculine fragrances, and then turns into an equally familiar and annoying typical "cologne" with a designer name slapped on it. It's just a logo on a modern-looking bottle filled with juice that smells like hundreds of similar others and is as nonthreatening as they come.

It gets better, though not to the level of a nice pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. We're not that lucky.

Behind the synthetic citrus, synthetic pepper and synthetic herbs there is a pretty nice spicy heart. Cardamom and saffron with an incense vibe are always welcome in my book, and not just on a man's skin. If  Salvatore Ferragamo's Attimo was truly composed to showcase this accord (preferably with better ingredients) I would have added it to my wardrobe in an instant. It's such a waste that instead of taking this stylish and beautiful idea and making Attimo a perfume worthy of our attention, the powers-that-be wanted to first drown it in generic citrus and then allowed it to fade into a watery nothing. They call it vetiver and white musk, but it's just that synthetic woody musky whatever that plagues designer perfumes nowadays (the husband doesn't smell a thing once the sharpness fades).

Notes: marjoram, cardamom, mandarin, saffron, pimento, patchouli, vetiver, labdanum and white musk.

Salvatore Ferragamo- Attimo Pour Homme ($79, 3.4 oz EDT) is available at  Ferragamo boutiques and most department stores, soon it will probably make an appearance at the discounters, where it belongs.

Attimo Pour Homme ad starring actor Alessandro Gassman from a pres release.

Alexa Chung (And Stella McCartney) In Stella McCartney

The mystery of Alexa Chung's status as a style icon continues. Here she is a shapeless and unstyled Stella McCartney gown during the designer's London Fashion Week show. I don't think she could have looked more bland if she tried, which is unfortunate for such a beautiful woman. I'm not even talking about her aversion to combs.

Speaking of unfortunate, the worst in that event was Stella McCartney's own inexplicable dress. Too many of McCartney's designs give the impression of good intentions gone terribly awry (that's how I'd classify the dress ALexa Chung was wearing), but Stella's ass dress doesn't even have that going for it.

Photos via Zimbio.