Giselle: March’s Turn

carla-fracciHey, everyone – thanks for all the wonderful warm anniversary wishes, I really enjoyed reading them upon my return.  We decided not to take the laptop because there we’d be, on our trip, compulsively checking it since we’re both kind of addicted.  Instead we devoted ourselves to eating embarrassing amounts of sushi, and lipstick shopping.  (Erm, okay, that last part was just me.)

Someone asked, what fragrance did I wear to my wedding?  The answer is: probably nothing at all.   I was young and a little disorganized and, hey, it was my first time getting married.  And we’d had this huge summer storm the night before, the power was out in various places and so the wedding breakfast for guests was candlelit and fairly hilarious (food heated in the neighbors’ gas oven.)   I wasn’t there; I was too busy trying to get my hair done and get across town with my nervous dad, locate the cake, etc.

I will tell a story here for the amusement of one lurking reader, before moving onto perfume.  A friend made my dress, white embroidered lace in a simple strapless column style quite popular now, with a wonderful detachable satin train that fell directly from a large bow in the back; I wore elbow-length gloves to complete the look.  In those days, though, the popular style was those enormous Lady-Diana-meets-bride-of-Shrek gowns, which is way too much dress for me.  If my mother had been alive she’d have told me to wear a shawl or jacket to cover my shoulders modestly at the ceremony, and my mother-in-law never saw the dress until it was too late to do anything about it.  Anyhow, my dress (or rather my bare shoulders and decollete) caused a minor scandal in the staid Episcopal church of my in-laws.  The priest stopped a wedding there once when he realized the wedding flowers on the altar were silk.  There was a 20-minute pause while someone ran down the street to the grocery for some real flowers for the altar, that must have been awkward.  But nobody was ready to take on my formidable mother-in-law, a longtime member of the church, regarding my wanton deshabille.  So the show went on, albeit with some muttering in the pews.  Here’s to you, A, for sticking up for me.  I hope your martini glass is full as we speak.

So my timing’s a little off weather-wise, but I felt I had to mention how much I enjoyed the Carla Fracci Giselle that Patty blogged about, which led me to get some (hey, I’m susceptible too!).   One of the many things I love about perfume is the low-end discoveries.  Here I am, getting a little jaded about stuff in $2000 crystal flacons made from ingredients gathered at dawn on the summer solstice by velvet-cloaked castrati (okay, I made that up) and then I run across some discount dreck that seriously smells great.  Such is (are?) the depths of my ignorance that I had to google to discover that Carla Fracci is a ballerina famous for her role as Giselle, and why she needs a perfume is beyond me, although I still want to smell Renee Fleming, what can I say? Introduced in 2004, Carla Fracci Giselle has notes of ylang-ylang, cinnamon, freesia, jasmine, tuberose, vanilla, coconut, caramel, musk and white honey.

We all like what we like, and I still tread pretty carefully at the sugar-coma end of the perfume spectrum.  Straight-up super-sweet gourmands from Laura Mercier or much of the Comptoir Sud Pacifique line are impossible for me.  However, I seem to have a remarkable tolerance for sweet/syrup if you add a dollop of strange/spicy; I love Givenchy Organza Indecence, Poison (Hypnotic and Original), even the oft-maligned Dior Addict.

Giselle (my sample is an EDP) wears a little lighter than most of these – more in the Organza Indecence neighborhood, with a generous top of something sweetly green that makes me think fleetingly of what Estee Lauder scents would smell like if Patricia de Nicolai created them, if that makes any sense at all.  The florals are front-loaded, with the ylang ylang and freesia leading the pack.  Then they fade and I get a lot of vanilla, and I was tempted to write it off as a less-interesting Indecence until the cinnamon, musk and honey started to assert themselves.   I can’t smell the coconut or caramel at all, which is fine by me, and Giselle never becomes foody.

I’m not elevating this to the status of The World’s Greatest Perfume, and there’s something a bit off in the first five minutes – that mildly plastic-y note I get from Laura Biagiotti Roma – but only if I put my nose super-close to my skin.  Considering you can buy an EDP for $35 online, I can forgive it a small rough patch.   If I work through my generous sample I’ll consider adding this to my arsenal of guilt-free sweet stuff.  I’m actually kind of interested in the body milk (7.3 oz, $27!), and SSTC has the parfum – I bet that’s worth a sniff, anyone tried it?   Eight hours later I still get a decent drydown, enough that the girls told me unsolicited how much they liked it when I went to say goodnight, and I like that it doesn’t cross that line that Indecence occasionally does when it’s just too sweet and I regret putting it on.  And I really want to try that new PdN Vanille too…

Carla Fracci image:

  • Margot says:

    I just found Giselle 1.7 oz EDP at PerfumeMart (in their clearance section) for $19.99. For those of you who want to jump on a great price, now’s your chance! Enjoy!

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    I have come around to loving Dior Addict. The first time I tried it, I basically thought “meh” but now I can smell all sorts of things in it. I also like Hypnotic Poison, but tend to think of it as a winter scent.

    • March says:

      I tend to think of my entire list as winter scents, in our climate. I suppose I could get away with a dab of Addict or OI (and a dab is the way I apply Addict, certainly) but I crave them in the cold. So you can come sit by me, not a ton of addict lovers on here.

  • Elle says:

    I think your wedding dress sounds perfect! But I’m still wide eyed at the thought of the priest stopping a wedding to get fresh flowers. Of course, I agree w/ him aesthetically, but…I think I’d have just let it go that late in the game. Yikes! I almost had a major wardrobe malfunction at my wedding since I wore a sari (not for religious reasons, just wanted something simple, straight and nontraditional) and had failed to practice putting it on even once before the ceremony (was decidedly unenthused about the wedding – adore my DH, but loathe big functions and my mother had turned our initially tiny wedding into an incredibly nightmarish huge affair). The woman who was supposed to help me get it on correctly had an emergency and couldn’t make it at the last minute, so I had to rely on a friend who was out of state to guide me over the phone. Could *not* get it to stay on. Was terrified it would all come undone and fall off as I walked down the aisle. Blessedly, it did not. That *would* have made me quite the focus of attention. But, back to perfume – I really have enjoyed the sample I have of Giselle. Am not sure I need a bottle, but am going to get a sample of the parfum from TPC before I decide. And I got a sample of the PdN Vanille Intense today. Very much enjoying it, but I’ve got so many perfumes that already fill the same emotional slot for me that I’m not sure I will ever need more than a decant.

    • March says:

      Hahahahaha!!!!!!!! I can see your sari unraveling…. I’m thinking of a sweet scene in Bend it Like Beckham where a group of girls are trying to help the one back into her sari after their soccer match w/o much success… good to know about the Vanille. I use you as my Spiritual Perfume Guide, so now I won’t rush to try it.

  • Lindsey9107 says:

    March, I <3 your wedding dress. You’re right that it is a pretty popular style now. I am coming up on my one year anniversary and my dress was similar. 🙂

    I am definitely intrigued by all the Giselle buzz. Thanks for your thoughts. I am a fan of OI, Hypnotic Poison, and Addict as well, though I only own OI of those three. I am in a bit of a gourmand mood right now apparently because I am finding L’Heure Bleue really addictive!

    I also have some lotion from bath and body works that smells like cinnamon and honey (I think “milk” or “relaxing” or “sleep” is in the title). I really like it, and wonder if Giselle might smell sort of similar.

    • March says:

      Huh. BBW keeps changing their lineup, I wonder if they have that? “Relaxing” always ends up smelling like lavender to me. And thanks for the compliment on the dress. The design was also driven by keeping the cost down!

      Good ol’ LHB, long may it wave.

      • Lindsey9107 says:

        Ugh, you’re right, I don’t think B&BW has it anymore! I can’t find it on the website. There is no lavender in the one I have. I think there is clove, cinnamon and honey and I think “milk” is definitely in the name.

        • March says:

          I’ll look the next time I pop by the mall. Most of their stuff is too sweet/fruity for me anyway, but then I got annoyed by the fact that they are constantly changing their line and getting rid of the few things I like!

  • Hope you had a most lovely anniversary and that you rested a bit and enjoyed yourself.
    Giselle sounds so not me, taking in mind I don’t like Organza Indencence like I don’t like the plague (OK, I’m might be exageratting a little bit), but still thanks for the funny write-up!

    And I totally agree on your lovely taste of wedding gown (minus the gloves for me, please). Here wedding gowns are quite revealing (climate helps too!) and priests turn a blind eye on them….sometimes it’s funny to see they steal a fleeting glance or two on the decolettage. 🙂

    • March says:

      No OI for you, huh? The current sweet-caramel gourmand trend probably gives you a stomach ache, no?

      Yes, I can imagine some very lovely dresses for your climate!

  • ula says:

    damn, I finally found giselle on european ebay and was bidding on a mini yesterday evening on ebay and I had loads of time until the end of the auction and it seemed nobody else was interested and so I started cleaning the apartment…and then missed the end and somebody outbid me! yeah, happens to me all the time…I’m so tempted to buy it since both of you ladies and the crowd here think it’s nice 😀
    March, I envy you for the sushi, that must have been an orgy! yum yum

    • March says:

      Ay, I hate that — the last-minute outbid! Do you not use a sniper? I pretty much never hand-bid any more… but I’m sure there will be other bottles.

      I don’t even like sushi that much, but apparently I like *good* sushi.

  • Shelley says:

    “…what Estee Lauder scents would smell like if Patricia de Nicolai created them…”

    Actually, I think I totally get what you mean, and I know that green note you are talking about with PdN. I don’t know what to call what you’ve started in me…it’s not a lemming, per se, but I want to go get a hit of this so that I can confirm/deny my understanding of what you are describing. 🙂

    • March says:

      Hey, are you hooking up with Anita? Jealous.

      I wish Estee Lauder would clean up their musk a little. And I’m never sure how much sense I make at any given moment.

      • Shelley says:

        Yes, indeedy, I’m gonna spend some time with Miss Anita in the near future, once I finish up this gig I will have once called a job. Gonna sniff until someone’s sinuses collapse… 😉

        Seeing as I currently share an abode with adolescent boys, the people *I* wish would clean up their musk a bit aren’t living in the House of Lauder…

  • waftbycarol says:

    I bought Giselle a year or so ago on a whim at the discounters but it had an almondy note like Herve Leger that I couldn’t abide so I sent it to perfumequeen . Gee , the parfum does sound interesting….

    • March says:

      That Herve Leger almondy note! That’s obviously a huge personal preference thing. I love that smell, as long as it doesn’t get too play-doh-ish on me. But the sweet almond smell is fine. I wonder if the parfum loses the slightly lowbrow top notes? I bet it does.

  • Eva says:

    March, I read Patty’s comment on Giselle, just knew that I would like it, got a small sample, yep liked it straight away and found a 30ml bottle on the net that just arrived today. As you say it is not the world’s best perfume but for AUD45.00 it is fantastic and a really well made frag, good sillage and lovely dry-down. VERY feminine and warming with a slight classic feel to it and lasts and lasts . . . .

    • March says:

      It does last and last. It’s kind of the wrong time of year for it here, but I could definitely see trotting it out again in the fall.

  • Joe says:

    Sounds pretty tasty. By the way, your anniversary post was very touching, as was the current little tip of the hat to your MIL.

    I’m wanting some of that PdN Vanilla now too, thanks to Patty. On Friday I wore a recently acquired decant of SL Bois Vanille, which I hadn’t tried before, and that was really yummy. I also got a sample of that Omnia Profumo Madera, which is like caramel diabetic shock in a vial. I need to re-test it, and I think I enjoy smelling it in a “flavorist” way, but I can’t imagine wearing it. Here’s to cheap thrills!

    • March says:

      Heh. Yeah, that Madera. That’s one of those scents I can’t imagine wearing, although I enjoyed sniffing it, kind of the same way you did. BTW I retried the Byredo Pulp which had the same effect on me (subset: GIANT FRUIT) but I think it might *actually* be wearable. The one I really want, though, is Chembur, which begs the question, do I really need another soft woody incense?