Schiaparelli Snuff ~ fragrance review

Elsa Schiaparelli

Over the last several weeks, I’ve come across many articles in fashion magazines and style sections of newspapers congratulating Diane von Furstenberg on the 40th anniversary of her “creation” of the wrap dress. Diane von Furstenberg certainly made the wrap dress popular, and that dress propelled her to designer superstardom, but another woman beat her to the wrap dress…by decades.

I had seen Elsa Schiaparelli’s work in museums, knew her face from perusing old photographs of the Paris art scene pre-World War II, and had sniffed some of her perfumes, including the most famous, Shocking, before reading Judith Thurman’s great 2003 New Yorker article, “Mother of Invention,”1 but that article sent me on a more in-depth trip of discovery into the world of Schiaparelli…

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Weil Zibeline and Secret de Venus ~ fragrance review

Weil fur advert

In searching for something to review this week, I dropped by Nordstrom for a sample of Valentino Valentina Assoluto. I’d peeled open its scent strip in Vogue and read its notes, and it sounded alluring — warm, earthy, and sultry with a truffle note. But the real thing? Valentina Assoluto was the epitome of a bad mall fragrance, shrill and off-putting, exactly what I fear encountering in elevators. I left my sample in the garbage at work.

But it spurred me to think, what makes a sultry perfume? Has our definition of seductive scent changed so much over time? I reached for some Weil Zibeline and spritzed. Now that’s what I call a comfortable yet sexy fragrance: a diffuse top, complex warm and spicy heart, and sweet, animalic drydown. Valentino et al, take notes…

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It is the way I ought to smell

Wearing it, I am my best self - it is the way I ought to smell. It feels so much a part of me that I can't believe it isn't organic, essential. I feel a faint sense of outrage that, after all this time, I can't generate it myself. It should have saturated my skin. It should have soaked, by now, into my bones.

— Novelist Francesca Segal writes about her discontinued signature fragrance (Versace V/S)  in Vogue's December Vogue: On The Scent.

Rochas Mystere ~ fragrance review

Mystere de Rochas advert

So many perfumes smell like things we know: flowers, fruit, wood, food, spice and funk. A few fragrances — mostly created before the disco era, it seems — are more difficult to pin down. They smell only of themselves. They’re sophisticated, and they’re undoubtedly a challenge to fall in love with in the thirty seconds most perfume shoppers these days take before making the decision to purchase. Rochas Mystère is that kind of fragrance.

In response to a post a few weeks ago, a commenter lamented Mystère’s disappearance. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my decant, a bonus in a swap years ago, shoddily labeled with scotch tape and a sharpie. As fate would have it, I stumbled over a bottle of Mystère Eau de Parfum at Goodwill just a few days later…

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