Sunday, October 29, 2006

Brit Red and the Minions of Plaid

After successfully ignoring the Burberry line for many years I have finally succumbed. Ever a wide-eyed child of advertising spin and my own imagination I have fallen for many a fragrance fantasy..

You will be scary and maybe kinky and definitely sexy and also Mr. LeCarre will want to write about you.

You are lying on your stomach under the magnolia tree, crushing the waxy petals into your palms as you read Empire of the Sun. Overhead, the drone of an airplane.

You were born to wear white and be at least 6 inches taller. Your hair, cut in a blunt bob at chin level, could slice cheese. You talk through your teeth; people not only listen, they defer.

How funny to become enthralled with the idea of a fragrance you "can wear every day". Oh yes, this is apparently high praise in MUA review land. "For every day wear!" "You can wear it at work and at home!" "This is a fragrance you can wear daily!" Wow, how exciting. Yet somehow after reading every Burberry review for every Burberry variety I wanted just that. A fragrance to wear every day because, you know, I am a normal person who wears pleasant, easy to wear fragrances. I am a nice girl, I wear a nice perfume that I was given for Christmas and since I wear it every day it will make the perfect Christmas present next year as well! I am not a person who's perfumes come with matching nipple balm.

And so Brit Red and I spent the evening together. Brit Red's bottle is an extremely delicious colour. Maybe my newfound desire for every dayness will progress to actual Burberry Brit who's bottle and juice are far more generic than that loudmouth Brit Red but hey, you have to start somewhere. Brit Red is everything everyone says about it; rhubarb, gingerbread, vanilla, amberry florals. It is nice. It is plaid. All the Burberrys are plaid and as I marinated in rubarb gingerbread goodness while watching a DVD plaid infested my thoughts.

The film "The Upside of Anger" is a lumpy, blandly acted and forgettable film with a very weird ending. It contains six incidents of plaid.

Curtains in Terry Ann Wolfmyer's house, blue plaid.

Upholstered dining chairs in Terry Ann Wolfmyer's house, blue plaid matching the curtains. The chairs and curtains clash bizarrely with the blue and white floral wallpaper, but perhaps this is a design gesture that has passed me by.

Plaid dress on daughter. I can't remember which one, they were all so muted. Very nice dress.

Two plaid shirts worn by Kevin Costner to help cement his character of a sports person, middle-age-spreading has been. Both shirts exceedingly dull and ugly.

Plaid living room pillow in Kevin Costner's house. Blue.

I am glad I have my MUA inspired fantasy to associate with Brit Red because otherwise I would be stuck with a wildly different fragrance association, that of chavs. Thank goodness I can live in almost ignorance of how the UK views the house of Burberry because Brit Red really is very easy to wear. I might wear it again tomorrow!

Photo is "Ground Burberry" courtesy of Stebbi's Photos.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

pretty bottles with bad, bad contents

Let me begin by saying that I am very proud of myself that I have never bought one of these beauties. I have been tempted. Just the other day I saw Live at a give-away price, the big wonderful bottle, and I didn't even stop for another spray to try and convince myself. After all it's not like I don't have perfectly lovely bottles I could display who's contents I also enjoy. And it's also not like I actually display any of them. No, they live in boxes in a closet. In the dark. Unseen other than for a few moments. All of which would make succumbing to the pretty bottle temptation particularly stupid.

Calvin Klein's Euphoria Blossom

EB is a delicate frosted rendition of the original, very charming. A trend for summer versions, Stella has produced two in this vein. Plummy pink frosted glass is incredibly attractive in the heat; someone should try making a drink bottle in this, it would sell. The contrast with the silver solidity of Euphoria adds to its charm. The fragrance itself is almost non-existant, stagnant water with petals floating on the bottom. Very light, it evaporates almost immediately. There is really nothing else to say about it, though if you are after a non-offensive gift at least it looks nice.

Alexander McQueen's Kingdom

Ohh.. Kingdom. Who designed this beautiful bottle, a ruby red geode? The summer editions are are also geodes, pink crystal wonders. The first time I saw Kingdom I was gaga over the design, I had to have it! My dad's rockhound phase had imprinted big on my young mind and anything cool and geological attracts me. One of the most fun things we ever did was pick out our own geode at a dusty shack somewhere in the midwest, pay for it by weight and eagerly watch it being sawn open--anything could be in there! Ours was dark with tiny dusky crystals. We were the first people ever to see it. It was beautiful. And so is the artistic representation of treasure within an egg of stone that is Kingdom. This ad for Kingdom makes me wonder if McQueen had something other than geodes in mind with the bottle design--Judy Chicago anybody?

When I first skin tested Kingdom it was so awful, so truly repulsive that I wondered if I had brushed up against some fetid curry while at the food court and this was mixing powerfully with the perfume alcohol. I expressed shock at what I was smelling. The sales assistant lowered her voice, "It's not very nice, is it." No. It's not.

Guerlain's Insolence

The Insolence bottle is one of the loveliest I've seen. It's a glass spinning top, roundly satisfying to hold, intrigueing to spray. You see it and you want to scoop it up and enjoy it. Had this fragrance been only bland and not horrid to me I think I would have been unable to stop myself from acquireing this bottle. Sadly the scent itself is not something I can ever see wearing other than for five minutes before a shower to remind myself what it smelled like.

J.Lo's Live

A lyrical vase with a touch of carnival glass the Live bottle has me sighing "ah.. perfume". Unmistakably a celebration of fragrance just writing about it makes me want it. Only the largest size has this appeal. While the 100ml could be a blown glass creation the 30ml looks like a stunted globule of a craft project gone wrong. Some things are cuter in miniature and.. some are not.

If Live was your basic floral fruity, I would like it enough to take the bottle home. The drydown which appears some three minutes after the topnotes kills it for me. Touted as "caramel" the same flat note is dressed up as "praline" "cupcake" and other terms of gourmandology in fragrances aimed at the young. When accompanied by whipped tonka, a patchouli filling and dusted with vanilla sandlewood the note does a good job if you like that kind of thing. In a fruity floral it is stale, stale, stale. What is it even doing there? If you want to sweeten the fruity floral mix in some pineapple juice, it works for Live Luxe. Unfortunately for Live Luxe the bottle colours are horribley garish, though the design is the same. If only there could be a mixup at the factory..

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Guerlain Insolence

Insolence or "the new Guerlain" as it is trepidaciously referred to opens with a sharp blast of surprisingly strong synthetic violets. There is a clear chord of iris but I could detect none of the "red fruits" listed in the notes. It's vivid, it's modern in composition and it's strangely choppy. I kept sniffing for aldehydes to transform it into something classical and befitting of the floral accord. As the intial blast wore off (very slowly) I was waiting for vanillas to gourmandize what was smelling, in fits and starts, like a fresh piece of Hubbabubba just popped into a passing teenager's mouth.

Insolence seems strangely lost, floundering for its identity. It's too purple to be sexy, takes itself too seriously to be youthfully fun and often too blunt to be pretty. There are some passably lovely moments in the drydown but that takes four hours to get to. An ugly woody phase reminded me of another unpleasant modern purple.. at one point Insolence was Aimez Moi with a shot of Hypnose.

Those on a perpetual search for the violet candies of their childhood may find Insolence makes a passing swipe at it. However Insolence has none of the delicacy lovingly remembered and is almost medicinal in strength. It's a good thing violet flavoured syrup was never a medicine option, but if it had been Insolence would be an unwelcome reminder.

Notes: Iris (Orris), Orange Blossom, Rose, Violet, Sandalwood, White Musk, Tonka Bean, Raspberry.

Why do the caged violet bears sing? Here is another photo and a spot of info.