First off — Patty’s been rassling with the renegade ads. If you notice any improvement, please say so. I looked at the site in an older version of IE and was horrified. I think we’ve fixed some of that. We’ll continue to tweak the sidebars, we’re trying to keep you happy. I’d love an update — anyone still getting the WalMart popup? How many of you see two long (vertical) ads to the left between Total Beauty and the Misikko ad? There should be only teeny square sidebar ads, not those giant things in the sidebars, P did some damage to the ones blogjacking us. I hope.
Second, how would you all feel about the use of the “more” tag — where you get the initial taste of the post on the page, and then you click to read the rest of the review? It should help the page upload faster, and you can scan the posts faster. But does that extra step annoy you? Please weigh in. I’ll try to stick the break in here below this paragraph in case you have no idea what I’m talking about — my review of two new fragrances, one from Gucci and one from Valentino… but I won’t know if it works until it posts… (ah, the suspense!)
If you start with the proposition that a fragrance is produced with future sales in mind, rather than a brilliantly abstract work of art displaying the haunting revelations of the designer’s soul, you’d probably wind up with something that smelled like the new Gucci Flora or Valentino. On the one hand, neither of these sent me into a swoon over its novelty. On the other hand, neither feels like an embarrassment to the house, and both are quite pleasant. They are not particularly formal, but they’re not juicyfruit scents aimed at teenagers, either. I could (and likely would) wear either one if I wound up with a bottle. Flora in particular would function as a wallpaper scent.
Gucci Flora has been rolled out in concert with a reissue of one of their gorgeous old patterns, created for Princess Grace of Monaco in 1966 and featured on a scarf, now on that floral handbag above which I seriously covet and no doubt won’t be owning. Flora is the “younger” of the two perfumes featured today, but it isn’t girly or overpoweringly sugary. The bottle is simple, clean and attractive, and I’d say the same about the fragrance. It’s slightly watery at the start, and I thought I caught a hint of calone, but so slight it didn’t bother even me, the melon-magnifier. Notes are: citrus, peony, rose, osmanthus, pink pepper, and sandalwood. After a delicate citrusy opening, it settles in five minutes into what it’s going to be for the next several hours – a smooth, soft, slightly woody floral (I can’t pick out any of the listed flowers individually, it’s more abstract) with a base that is more appealing than I expected. There’s something a little gourmand about it that makes me think of D&G The One, without the plasticky bit of The One that has prevented me from buying it. “You could do worse” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, and I won’t buy it, but if a bottle fell into my lap I’d wear it cheerfully when I wanted something uncomplicated, and it lasts a long time on me.
Valentino was another pleasant surprise. I love Valentino (the clothes and the man) and in theory I’d have high expectations for this eponymous scent, but his fragrances have been a mixed bag. Vendetta is an interesting aldehydic perfume, but Rock n’ Rose was such a cheap, tawdry attention-whore I thought maybe this would be another disaster, although the bottle certainly gave me hope. Gold was pretty sweet, and I honestly can’t remember the V (the quarter-moon bottles) so feel free to share your opinions. Also, wasn’t there another scent named Valentino several years ago? I hate it when designers do that.
Anyhow, I picked up the new Valentino bottle in Neiman Marcus. It’s elegant; the juice is pale pink. Notes are: pomelo, pear blossom, magnolia, orange blossom, mimosa, violet leaves, rice vapour, heliotrope and vanilla orchid.
Those notes read sweeter than the fragrance is. This is a more mature scent than Flora, without approaching anything I’d describe as old-lady-ville (although regular readers know I love a trip to old-lady-ville). There’s a nice bit of leafy greenness at the start, the fruits and heliotrope are muted, and my favorite parts – the rice steam and the magnolia – lend both a creamy and bitter-woody dimension to the scent. I went back to Neiman twice more to sample it (the work I do for this blog!) and left each time with a bit more admiration for the fragrance. To me it is a scent for a woman who has had a lot of joy and laughter in her life, but has lived long enough to see a few clouds and taste some sadness. It is a fragrance with bittersweet perspective. It’s not a fragrance of profound beauty and to be honest I’m not really that sure why I find it so moving; maybe it’s some long-forgotten scent association I can’t even recognize. I won’t be buying it, but I might give it as a gift to someone who has lived long enough to see both the clouds and the silver lining.
Images: flora bottle, harrods.com; flora bag, ioffer.com; valentino, neimanmarcus.com