Saturday, March 30, 2019

New Perfume Releases- Do We Care? Should We Care?

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau, Parfum Caressant, circa 1897

There’s a YouTube genre of videos called “reactions”. People film themselves as they watch or read something semi-controversial, from the Red Wedding to celeb plastic surgeries, clips by Dr. Pimple Popper or their followers’ assumptions about their own lives behind the scenes. I was thinking about it recently while browsing lists of new perfume releases , making mental comments and the kind of facial expressions my mom has always warned me I’d be stuck with if I didn’t stop right that moment (she was kind of right).

I’m definitely not going to film myself doing it, but you may picture me trying to balance George and Lizzy, my laptop, iPad, messenger alerts on my phone, and a cup of tea. That’s the visual. My scent of the day was Chaos by Donna Karan from the original 1996 icicle bottle (“The Precious”. I also have the 2007 version in the black bottle which is just as discounted. Go figure). It may or may not influenced my attitude, but you tell me: can you avoid even a minimal snark when faced with the launch of Mademoiselle Rochas Couture, a new perfume that opens with notes of pear and pink peppercorns and dries down to a musk?

My reactions to the other perfumes went something like this (you can treat it as blind items if you wish):

Great. A flanker of a flanker of that thing I hated back in 2014. Can’t wait.
As opposed to “inauthentic woman”? Seriously? In 2019?
Mmmm... iris. Must. Investigate.
I actually like the name. It goes with my image.
Can they just bring back two or ten of the originals?
Who let this happen?
I had no idea they still exist! Cute. 
Lord. The bottle. They can’t be serious, right?

The thing is that I’m highly unlikely to get out of my way to try any of them. For any perfume I’m going to sample one way or another there are 30 that will be completely ignored, even if they come from brands that twenty, fifteen, or ten years ago I’d bend over backward to get a sample as soon as the first testers trickled in. 

I’ve washed my hands off Serge Lutens. I no longer recognize the brand that still occupy part of my soul and a considerable shelf space in my cabinets. I’ve given up on L’Artisan three reformulations and repackaging ago, and on Malle, Kilian, and Le Labo a Lauder ago. Indie and micro-niche haven’t escaped the feeling of drowning under a tsunami of releases that feel rushed and half-baked, even from some of my favorite artisan perfumers. I feel that we as consumer and semi-industry savvy are partly to blame for that. If you’re a blogger or a mega consumer who goes to perfume events, how many times have you eagerly asked the perfumer or brand owner “so what’s next?” all while spraying yourself from the tester of the new fragrance that won’t be launched officially until next week?

If you’ve been a perfume enthusiast for decades, do you still care? Are you still excited about a Harrods exclusive you’ll need to have muled to you by your cousin’s in-laws? Do you still get butterflies at the name “Tauer”? Do you order sample packs from Luckyscent? Do you call Josie at Osswald to reserve your bottle of the latest oud? Do you still expect greatness from Guerlain and Chanel? 

Let’s talk about it. I’m genuinely struggling with the question “should I care?”. I’m beyond privileged, of course, having the depth and breadth of a perfume collection that had begun around 1989. I have a serious vintage collection as well as modern gems that delight me to no end. It’s easier for me to shrug at a new Dior exclusive called Holy Peony. I tend to dislike peony notes, so whatever. I’m also not as jaded as to lose my love for DSH who never bores me, Bruno Fazzolari who recently created the solution for all of us who were gutted by Chanel butchering Sycomore (again). Buy a bottle of his Vetiverissimo and send me chocolate and kittens as a thank you (note to self: get one for the husband ASAP). I never skip a Zoologist release, even If I end up hating it, because Victor Wong’s vision is still an adventure. 

But should I try to keep up? Do I care? Do YOU care? And if you do, about what and whom? Are you hiding behind your vintage collection or are you out there shopping like it’s 2006?

Please tell me about it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Currently- March 2019

I had to change the title of this post from "January 2019" to "February 2019" and mow to "March 2019". I'm determined that's how it's going to be, the first post in this blog reboot. A "currently" post seems like the right idea. They're personal, which is where this blog's heading, it tells what I'm doing and loving (or not), and is not product-centric, which is what I aspire to do. I want to write. About beauty and perfume in the context of real life, the state of (my) world, age, and interests. It doesn't make one an influencer (I hope) or an online personality. Just someone who writes an old-fashioned beauty(ish) blog.

It's almost spring. There's still a layer of snow in my backyard but it's diminishing but the hour. I won't go into the cliche of spring, rebirth, renewal, etc., but it's never been so true for me. The last couple of months of 2018 and the start of this year were difficult. My mother-in-law passed away after two and half years of struggle with melanoma. Longer than that, actually, if you figure in the months of severe undiagnosed illness, the wait for an answer, and then the shock that comes along with a death verdict (hint: an advanced stage IV melanoma is still incurable). It's not my story to tell, so that's all I'll say about it. But you you can expect a mega-rant about the cavalier approach to sun protection by large parts of what's called the "beauty community" (another term that needs to go).

Find a sunscreen that works for you. Use it. Reapply. From now until the end of days.

Tombland by C.J. Sansom. It's the latest in his Shardlake series of Tudor-era mysteries. It's slow-paced but after years of waiting for the book to be released I'm happy taking my time and hanging out with Matthew Shardlake. It's like a reunion with an old friend.

Andrew Bird's new album, My Finest Work Yet. It might as well be. Here's the official video of Sisyphus:

Last night I binged Picnic at the Hanging Rock on Amazon Prime. I'm not sure if I truly liked it, but it was beautifully filmed, I was interested in the Australian backstory, and I love Natalie Dormer.

Parfums MDCI L'Homme aux Gants. It's like a sheer and more airy variation on the theme of Ambre Russe. It's thinner in that more contemporary way perfumery seems to be going lately with far less emphasis on a robust dry-down, but both the husband and I enjoy it very much for its smooth and cozy feel. I also love the inspiration of the Titian painting (it's even printed on the bottle).

Green. In my defense, Ive been using reen liners or eye shadows long before it was all across YouTube. I'd say that the way to go is by buying singles and not necessarily palettes. That way one can pick the right tones.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
It's winter. I wear black boots. I'm over it.

Very soft and cheesy polenta.

The master bathroom renovation is finally going to happen. I foresee chaos.

The master bathroom renovation is finally (FINALLY) going to happen. I foresee bliss. Once it's over.

A major pantry declutter.

Not So-Guilty Pleasure
Hot chocolate and hot cider.

I got tickets to several shows in the coming weeks and months. This weekend we're going to see Lewis Black in his The Joke's On Us tour.

A long and fulfilling spa day. I'm in a dire need of a hydra-facial, among other things.

Random Thought
When and why did Moleskin stopped offering a stick-on loop pencil holder? I'm in need of a new dotted notebook so I was looking at a sapphire blue hardcover when I realized you could no longer buy the attachment that saves my pencils from George and Bingley. WHY? If I'm picking my notebook it means I need a pencil. If I need a pencil I don't want to crawl on the floor searching for the latest one stolen by a cat. My kingdom for a loop.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Photos by Shiri Hilton. Used with her permission because she's my sister.