Arquiste for St. Regis Caroline’s Four Hundred ~ home fragrance review

Caroline Schermerhorn Astor and her guest

Things come and go in New York City — it’s always been that way — but a few of Manhattan’s grand old hotels remain. Nowadays they’re owned and managed as luxury brands by massive hotel companies, but if you’re lucky, you can step into a place like the St. Regis, sit for a moment in an ornately decorated lobby, and imagine yourself back to an earlier time.

The St. Regis Hotel was built in 1904 under the direction of founder John Jacob Astor IV, and it was declared a New York City landmark in 1988. (If you’re ever in the neighborhood and you’re in the mood for a classic cocktail, I highly recommend a visit to the St. Regis’s King Cole Bar.) And now it has its own signature scent, in the form of a room spray and candle developed for Arquiste by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux

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Giorgio Armani Si Intense ~ fragrance review

Cate Blanchett for Giorgio Armani Sì Intense

A new Sephora just opened directly on the route of my daily commute, so I stopped in last week to check it out and try a few new fall fragrances. My eye was caught by the sleek black bottle of Giorgio Armani Sì Intense, a flanker to 2013’s Armani Sì. It was released elsewhere in 2014, but it just arrived in the United States this month.

The promotional boilerplate for this perfume reads, “The new version of Sì is designed for a strong and passionate woman who is brave and not afraid to take risks. Such a woman is conceived as very charismatic, confident, independent and sophisticated.” It was developed by perfumers Christine Nagel and Julie Massé, and its composition includes notes of black currant, mandarin, bergamot and freesia; rose de mai, neroli, davana and osmanthus; patchouli, vanilla, ambroxan and woods.

When I sprayed Sì Intense on my wrists at Sephora, I swooned with pleasure and momentarily considered purchasing a bottle then and there…

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Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose & Nirvana Bourbon ~ fragrance reviews

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose & Nirvana Bourbon

A few years back, I was enjoying cocktails with friends at an upscale, old-school hotel bar on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and I saw one of the “Olsen twins” seated nearby with two older male companions in suits. I was intrigued by the sight of this former child star evolved into a successful entrepreneur, this waif who swathed herself in layers of urban-bohemian black clothing for a meeting with two executive-looking men in such a traditional setting. Her eyeliner was generously applied, yet her demeanor was serious, even somber. It was an interesting set of contrasts.

I’m having a similar response to Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon, the two new fragrances from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Elizabeth and James brand. I liked Nirvana Black and Nirvana White, both launched in late 2013 (and followed by matching roll-ons, perfume oil, solid perfume compacts, body oil and dry shampoo), so I was curious about these latest offerings. I’m happy to report that Rose and Bourbon are two more smart fragrances that straddle the line between “grown-up” and “free-spirited”…

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Anna Sui Romantica Exotica ~ fragrance review

Anna Sui Spring/Summer 2016 fashion

If you collect perfumes just for their bottles, and you loved the gold-and-pink floral design for Anna Sui Romantica, you’re in luck: this month brings a new fragrance from the brand, called Romantica Exotica, and its bottle is a turquoise version of the same design (see below). Romantica Exotica was inspired by Sui’s travels to Tahiti, and its composition (developed by Jérôme Epinette) includes notes of lemon, grapefruit, black currant, jasmine, lotus, neroli, sandalwood, gardenia and cottonwood.

Sui’s Spring/Summer 2016 fashion collection was also an homage to island holidays, with a palette of aquas and yellows, garments inspired by sarongs and hula skirts, and fabrics patterned in seashells, palm trees and hibiscus blossoms. Romantica Exotica has a similar aesthetic…

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