So, this post is in three parts and I’ve labeled them clearly so you can skip ahead. Part Three is perfume.
1) The no-buy week – I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on Patty’s post yesterday. I invited participation in a one-week no-buy last week, having imposed it on myself as an experimental exercise that would force me to contemplate, hour by hour, my relationship with consumption. Not to sound all highbrow about it. But I was curious about motivation: what do I buy, and why? Could I limit my spending to necessities for a week? What’s a necessity?
Tuesday, Weds., and Thurs. were pretty successful, I bought stuff like gas. Spent no cash. There was some extended soul-searching in Trader Joe’s, which is where I buy most of my groceries, on Thursday. I am feeding a family of six; I did buy the standard nonessentials like the kids’ favorite cookies, and ice cream. My reasoning: this was my no-buy experiment, not theirs. Also, they (particularly the teens) are already stigmatized among their friends by my household ban on high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, which eliminates 95% of the “standard” snack foods found on American grocery shelves and in the vast majority of their friends’ houses. So, they got their TJs treats and I kept the peace. Sue me.
Friday was a cock-up; there was stress and drama, which I won’t detail because it wasn’t even my drama so it’s not my place to explain. Anyhow, that’s all excuses – I think where to place the blame is pretty obvious. It’s shared equally by Gina the makeup artist who comments on here, who told me about a great lipgloss, and Anita, who’s constantly emailing me your friend thought you might like this item on eBay. Anita’s like … the Bad Retail Fairy. Staying away from eBay is incredibly difficult for me, I routinely have ten things in my “watch” list. The damage on Friday wasn’t terrible – I drove over to the Wall o’Bling retail center and bought that lipgloss and an eye pencil and a striped sweater that reminded me of the Breton shirts in Paris. In terms of “mindfulness,” I fully admit that it was a mood booster. Next time I’ll try to skip directly to what I did afterward, which was take the dog (and myself) for a long, quiet walk in the woods.
Saturday we went to Target to get household goo (cleaning supplies, toothpaste) and, predictably, I left with a cartload of non-necessities (like cute knee-socks for Enigma, and one of those gallon containers of goldfish crackers.) It wasn’t a $40K gambling spree, or even a $4K Hermes bag (can you buy one Hermes bag for $4k?) But we could have been leaner. Enigma’s outgrown most of her clothes again and really likes their tee shirts and shorts, and I’m guilty of the buy-two-they’re-cheap! mentality. I also bought home hair dye for $10, which is hardly a necessity, but as it allowed me to cancel my hair color appointment it was economically sound.
And that was … it. Sunday and Monday I think I bought, literally, nothing (oops, sorry, more groceries Monday.) Tuesday: nothing. As in: nothing. This past week did help me clarify want vs. need, and it reminded me of how much I can do without. Useful self-knowledge. As you read this, Louise and I may be discussing my amazingly deep and profound enlightenment further. Over coffee. At Starbucks.
2) That lipgloss — I’m probably blogging on a new play area of mine, my last frontier, nude makeup/lipstick looks, on Random Sunday. Stop by this Sunday if you have any interest in that discussion. Nudes are really difficult for me (and maybe all super-pale people) and it’s been fun researching. I’d love your input.
3) I mentioned Christian Dior Dune recently. Although I could go to Macy’s and smell it, I bought a used EDT of indeterminate vintage on eBay. I do think it’s a bit older because it’s one of the stoppered bottles (like old Poison) that I haven’t seen in years. The bottle itself is beautiful, much prettier than in photos- it’s a pale ambery brown that appears to have a faintly opalescent shimmer.
Researching for this post, it’s surprising how much isn’t written about Dune. I didn’t find any particular blog raves or slams; for a fragrance that’s been around since 1991 and is still pretty easy to find, it’s not high up on the radar in perfumista-land that I can see. Certainly it doesn’t have the love/hate status of other Dior offerings like Poison, Addict or J’Adore, nor does it have the (possibly waning) cachet of the (reformulated?) Dior classics like Diorella or Dioressence. Notes for Dune vary, this one seems as plausible as any: bergamot, mandarin, palisander, aldehydes, peony, broom, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily, wallflower, lichen, vanilla, patchouli, benzoin, sandalwood, musk. It is generally described as a woody oriental. I can’t resist the following blurbage from Osmoz, which I presume is at least partly based on Dior PR materials:
Dune is in harmony with the early 90’s: the need for serenity and a return to human values. A perfume that speaks of intimacy and closeness. Dune emancipates women, strengthening their intuitive side … Stop everything for a while. Gaze at the ocean, wrap your arms around your knees, unwind, enjoy being with yourself … Dune for women is not a threat to men: it is a quest for universal harmony governed by feelings. The unusual fragrance carries a brisk briny scent, coupled with sea wind and the sandy warmth of beaches.
I include this … okay, partly because I find it hilarious, but in part because that blurbage feels so 90s, and also because all that talk of brisk and briny and sea wind and (elsewhere) fresh scares the bejusus out of me, because I’m expecting some monster wallop of fresh musk or aquatic notes. But no. Dune starts off with a strongly resinous/herbaceous/cocoa combination. It’s similar to munching on one of those lavender chocolate bars from Dolfin. (I also recommend the Earl Grey bars, which are really weird.) While I’m eating the lavender bar I can never decide: is this disgusting or fabulous? The top notes of Dune are bitter and discordant and yet so compelling I found myself putting it on over and over and over again, trying to parse it. It’s sharp and dry at first, not so much aldehydic as sour bordering on bitter (hello broom, wallflower and lichen?), and the “sandy warmth of beaches” feels to my nose more like a cold pebble beach with some prickly sea urchins sticking up. Briny? Well … salty. Yes. The illusion of salt, the parched, arid feel of it, odd in so dense a scent. The further the nose moves away from the skin, the less difficult it becomes — the jasmine, ylang, vanilla and benzoin soar up and away with a soft, warm, inviting sillage that couldn’t be more different from the bitterness which is rendered up close on the skin. Twice this week I had a daughter compliment me in passing on my fragrance, and yet wrinkle her nose when she smelled it up close.
I actually dug up the thesaurus, trying to find a better word than “disenchanted” — Luca Turin’s apt description of Dune in The Guide. And I can’t do it. LT says that Dune is “a strong contender for Bleakest Beauty in all of perfumery.” (He gives it five stars, fresh oriental.) The drydown, as LT notes, contains the inedible chocolate of new-edition Cartier Must (and to my nose, the choco-patch of Angel) and by all rights I should loathe it, and yet I don’t, I think because of the counterweight of the woodsy florals (and that sandalwood! My goodness!) And while we try to avoid gender stereotyping here on the Posse, in my opinion this could easily be a masculine fragrance. I wonder what Dune Pour Homme, done by Olivier Cresp in 1997, smells like? From the descriptions on Basenotes, it sounds like a green figgy-woody thing. (TS gives DPH four stars in The Guide but her description is a perfunctory two-liner.)
Dior Dune is hands down the strangest theoretically-mainstream scent I have ever smelled; I can’t believe it’s still in production, or why anyone would have made it in the first place. Every perfumista’s closet needs some odd things in it, and even if I don’t end up wearing it often, I’m rather pleased to have my bottle.