Fendi by Fendi (for women) ~ fragrance review

Fendi The Kiss

Imagine this: It’s the late-1980s, and Sirio leads you to your table for lunch at Le Cirque. As you dangle your quilted Chanel 2.55 off your chair and consider whether you’ll have the Dover sole or the carpaccio, a cascade of laughter draws your attention to the table next to you. The frizzy-headed woman with Bordeaux-purple gloss lipstick and an armload of bangles is Opium. Next to her sits Giorgio, a blond real estate agent with frosted pink talons for fingernails. Coco, swathed in fur and velvet and jewel tones despite the July heat outside, looks a little embarrassed by their loud conversation. (Boucheron had to be at a committee meeting for a Met gala and couldn’t make it. Neither could Cinnabar — she’s summering at her house in Bali.)

Then the room’s chatter and clink of silverware stops. A curvaceous, full-lipped woman of a certain age glides toward the empty chair at the table. She’s ignored the trend for shoulder pads and somehow combines Sophia Loren’s earth-mother sensuality with Silvana Mangano’s elegance. Still, her silkiness packs no less potency than the assertive styles of the other women at the table. This is Fendi by Fendi…

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Guerlain Parure ~ vintage fragrance review

Guerlain Parure advert

A “parure” is a set of jewelry, such as a necklace, earrings, and bracelet, or even a tiara and matching earrings. Guerlain Parure has the “complete” feeling and attention to detail of a fine jewelry parure, but it isn’t as flashy as rubies and diamonds. Instead, Parure comes off as constructed to lend an air of Ritz suite elegance without drawing attention to itself.

Jean-Paul Guerlain created Parure, and its notes include plum, bergamot, greens, fruits, hesperides, lily of the valley, rose, orris, plum, lilac, jasmine, jonquil, narcissus, oakmoss, spices, amber, leather and patchouli. Parure was released in 1975, but you know that Ritz suite I just mentioned? I see it in the early 1960s, with a woman crushing out her cigarette before reaching for wrist-length white gloves and a crisp-edged handbag that snaps shut with a click…

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Emilio Pucci Zadig ~ (vintage) fragrance review

Pucci Zadig scarf

The name of Emilio Pucci’s fragrance Zadig is very close to “zaftig,” and it fits. Zadig is blowsy and lush and sexy, but in a way that isn’t stylish anymore. Kind of like Anita Ekberg. And then there’s Voltaire’s story, “Zadig ou la Destinée,” in which a hermit tells the hero that he must submit to fate. So, by name alone, Zadig evokes passion, fate, history, and good old-fashioned pulchritude. That’s a lot to live up to. In my opinion, Zadig succeeds.

Zadig was released in 1973. I can’t find much that’s “official” about Zadig, but scouring the internet has turned up a list of notes including aldehydes, bergamot, orange, peach, coriander, clove, rose, honey, jasmine, orris, ylang ylang, vetiver, benzoin, patchouli, cinnamon, vanilla, tolu, Tibetan musk and amber. Zadig also spawned a few flankers, Miss Zadig (1977) and Miss Zadig Eau Fraiche, neither of which I’ve sampled…

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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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