Huitieme Art Poudre de Riz and more

Huitieme Art Poudre de RizMy first thought was to do an Aquatic-Themed, post-Sandy post..then I realized that there is not one thing amusing, droll, twee….nunathat…about a bazillion gallons of sea and river water coursing into people’s lives.  I am just so grateful that all my family and friends are safe – and that all of them came through Sandy without unfixable damage. To all of you who experienced Hurricane Sandy these past few days, our hearts are with you!  And those of you who are awaiting her next stop, may she change her  mind and head out to sea.  Women do that, you know.  Change their minds, I mean.  They are also capable of heading out to sea.  May Sandy be one of those women.


So no Aquatics.  Instead, let’s go ……….dry!  And smooth.  Huitieme Art Parfums has recently released Poudre de Riz (rice powder), which, to me,  is everything Tia Cornelia.   Let me explain:  my mom grew up In Society, married Society, divorced Society ..and though, upon marrying my papi, she renounced most of the Society trappings, she was the only one in her family to do so.  All the rest of those dames were hardwired into it.   Possessed of ineffable elegance, even when they weren’t beautiful, these women were cut, curled, coiffed, painted, powdered and patched to within an inch of their lives (check out this wild “casual”photo – I mean, who wears pearls and heels TO THE BEACH?) Huitieme Art Poudre de Riz


I was both terrified of and completely enthralled by these women…and most of all, it was about The Powder.  My mother’s people preferred their makeup finish to be tinted poudre de riz, with its luminous smoothness.  And Tia Cornelia was the most elegant, most sophisticated, most powdered of them all (she is not in this photo, btw,though my mother is.  I don’t think Tia Cornelia ever went to the beach.  Her skin was the color of milk and I don’t think the sun ever touched it.  Ever).


What is it about Powder?  It almost always speaks of a ‘finished’ sort of Elegance.  Nearly every woman moisturizes, even if it’s just to slap some Vaseline on the legs.  But to apply powder signals several things – some real, personal leisure time and a couture-like focus to your toilette, much like a couturier’s covered buttons or finished, invisible hem.   Or a perfectly stitched seam in a leather glove.  Poudre de Riz is all that.  A throwback to 40s elegance, it is not quite ‘perfume’ – it is a conjurer’s trick.    One spritz and I am back in my Tia Cornelia’s drawing room – I’ve spoken of her (and most important, her drawing room), before.  She never called it a living room.  It had 15′ ceilings with bow windows clad in silk curtains and (gasp!) a grand piano and Persian carpets and those absurd Foo dogs that scared the crap out of me and I loved that room like no other.  Huitieme Art Poudre de RizWe had a house.  Tia Cornelia and Tio Roi had a ‘flat’.  We had a Chevy Impala.  They had a Cadillac.  She had a maid and a weekly manicure and 3 mink stoles.  I wanted every one of those damn stoles.  And her pearls.  And her powder.  I wanted to be her.  I was 7 years old and she was the Sun Queen.

And now I have the powder.  Poudre de Riz totally current but with a serious retro feel.  It is the roses on her dressing table.  The pearls tossed on the velvet pouch, the silk robe.  The Helena Rubenstein lipstick and most of all, the pressed rice powder in the gold compact.  I still have that compact.  And now I have the powder.  And for a little while, when I spritz this, I am both Tia Cornelia and a 7 yr old girl.  You know what?  I’m sitting here, in the midst of construction – I could drop a rhino through the hole in the living room floor.  And I’m in a fleece hoodie.  And my nails are a mess.   Squoo that.  I’m going to go take a hot shower, pour a glass of wine, spritz some Poudre de Riz and give myself a pedicure.  It’s Tia Cornelia Time!

Notes for Poudre de Riz, via Luckyscent, are:

Damask rose, tiare absolute, coconut, vanilla, rice powder accord (caramelic, burnt toast and maple notes), sandalwood, iris, cedar, tonka bean, Tolu balsam and benzoin resin.  I got my sample at Osswald, which is a gorgeous shop and I hope it’s still gorgeous, post-Sandy.  I’ll tell you all about Osswald – coming soon to a post near you!!!


But Wait!!!  There’s MORE!  (I did say MORE in the headline.  And Musette NEVER LIES IN THE HEADLINE.  Never.  Ever.  Promise.  ).  I had Carmine poke the button, not once but TWICE!  And the winners of the What I Love About New York sample draw are:

Ninara Poll 


Honorable YOU MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD!!! Mention goes to Amer for the  Purple Unicorn comment!

I have a Posse email addy but it’s not hooked up yet because I’ve been up to my nose in work so  you three winners,  drop me a line to my gmail account (evilauntieanitaAT) and give me your details.  I’ll get some Sniffa swag out to you asap!


If one of you would like to try Poudre de Riz, leave a comment here about somebody who embodies elegance for you!

  • Amer says:

    Where did all the comments go?

    • Patty White says:

      They’ll be back! when I flipped to the new commenting system, I had to back up all the comments into Disqus, and it can take them 24 hours to process them, and then they’ll appear right here!

      I hope! That’s what they promise me1

  • Amer says:

    I was originally going to mention a famous person but I think I’d rather speak for the anonymous one. She works at a clothes shop of no consequence where employees follow a strict dress code and she is a blond beauty for sure but not a model. She has freckles and wears glasses. However, elegance lies in her body language, the way she carries herself and most of all the way she sports her Aromatics Elixir despite the young of her age. She is no more than 26 and yet this perfume seems like it was custom made on her and somehow exalts her above all the sugared and dressed up clients that she caters for. That to me is the essence of elegance

  • nozknoz says:

    Such a beautiful post, Musette!

  • My elegance role model was probably my grandmother. 🙂

  • Ninara Poll says:

    Dear Musette, I just want to say 1) thank you! (I’ll email to claim my prize tomorrow, as I’m a bit under the weather today) and 2) your aunts sound like mine on my mom’s side, as well as my mom; proper, cultured, kind, well-mannered and well-educated Latina women who were always chic, presentable, and elegant. (To paraphrase my mom, when she was growing up it was common to find high end French/Italian/”European” cosmetics, scents, and fashion to consume, more so than anything American or British, so when she moved to the US it was a shock to see higher prices and more limited availability on what she was used to using. I don’t think she’s ever quite forgiven my dad for it!) That’s faded to various degrees in my aunts over the years (bad economy, high import tariffs = higher prices, increased Americanization of Mexican pop culture, etc), but my mom sticks to her routine (even if it’s drugstore cosmetics and scents, and lower-end clothing) and is trying her hardest to make sure it passes on to me. Alas, I am clumsy, a bit sloppier, and not as well-mannered, but at least I have the education and some culture! 😉 I guess if I were to pick someone as elegant, it would be the ladies on my mom’s side of the family 🙂 As to the Poudre de Riz, you have managed to create a lemming! I must add this scent to my list.


  • FearsMice says:

    I’m thinking of three women in my workplace who dress for success and pay attention to their grooming. Each is tall, attractive, well-built, and can wear just about anything — but only one of them is chic; the other two just aren’t. One of the non-chic ladies tries too hard, and the other doesn’t quite try hard enough, yet the chic one doesn’t seem to try at all. I think it’s the effortless grace of her appearance and demeanor that really identifies her as being out of the ordinary.

  • Lynne Marie says:

    I’m never quite sure what “rice notes” smell like so I’m very curious about Poudre de Riz, should of ordered that Luckyscent Fall Sampler… My icon of elegance has always been Catherine Deneuve – blond, very chic yet somehow warm at times, too. How come I don’t look like she does in a plain ol’ trenchcoat? I make attempts at elegance but I’ll never come close to what she exudes just by breathing LOL!!

    I loved your memories of your family and the picture is just fabulous!! Thank you for being willing to share that with us. I have a matriarchal family portrait that hangs on my stairway wall. It is my great great grandmother, my great grandmother and assorted aunts and daughters of that generation. But unlike the stunning elegance of your family my family looks like an NFL team – no kidding! I would not have wanted to meet any of these LARGE ladies in a dark alley somewhere. Now you know why elegance is hard for me to attain, I have some tough genetics to overcome!

  • Farouche says:

    My mother was the epitome of elegance. Her clothes were designer and tailored to perfection to fit her size 2 body. But her real elegance was in her kindness, especially to those less fortunate than herself. She wore Chanel no. 5, Ivoire, Chloe, and My Sin. A real lady <3

  • Gail S says:

    My experience with Poudre de Riz is somewhat different than yours 🙂 Of course! I fell in love with it from the Luckyscent fall sample pack, it’s warm and smooth with just enough woods to deepen it, not get all harsh. I hadn’t ordered a new bottle of perfume in a long time, so I pulled the trigger on this one. The bottle came Monday and I’ve been wearing it for two days now and I have to say, it’s a bit different sprayed than dabbed. It’s still warm and smooth, most of the time almost a “your skin but better” type of thing. But every now and then, there’s a hint of skank! And my skin doesn’t amplify that kind of thing! But it’s definitely there. So I’m still pretty happy with it, LOL! Minimal sillage so I don’t think I’m offending anyone with my hint of skank.

    My family on my mothers’ side was what I’d call genteel. Excellent manners, strict code of conduct, always dressed properly. I think it went away with my generation.

  • mals86 says:

    I have good news and bad news. Several pieces, in fact. You want the bad first?

    Bad news: I know of not a single real-live person who is elegant. Not one. Not even half of one. Not even going back to college… although Dora comes to mind. Dora was half-Hungarian, all-bohemian feminist who lived down the hall and had an Actual Beauty Spot on her left cheekbone (high and Slavic, of course), along with a Perfect Swingy Bob, this incredible hourglass figure and the most interesting shoes I’d ever seen. She could carry off vintage 1940s thrift store suits with peplums and gypsy skirts and leggings and peasant blouses, but she was stylish rather than elegant. More often than not, she’d be unbuttoning those blouses just a tad beyond proper, kicking off those awesome shoes, and flirting outrageously with any cute boy within a radius of a hundred feet. I mean, Dora had a Little Black Book!

    But I digress.

    The good news: Without a real-live example of elegance in front of me, I don’t feel bad about not being capable of it. My people are basically of Standard Colonial Mix background, hearty American peasants, and I’m okay with that. I mean, sure, my grandmother lived in an 1861 slave-built farmhouse with 12-foot ceilings, with Persian rugs and lots of antiques, but she herself was a no-nonsense dresser who loved her vegetable garden, looked a bit like Julia Child and rarely bothered with any makeup except for lipstick.

    More bad news: I have managed to avoid all these Huitieme Art things.

    More good news: My wallet is grateful that I have managed to avoid all these Huitieme Art things.

    Even more bad news: you made me cry a little.

    Even more good news: the description of you being both Tia Cornelia and your 7-year-old self made those nostalgic tears spring up, until I had to laugh at how much I love your writing. Big hugs, babe.

    • Musette says:

      Mals, perhaps I should’ve defined ‘elegance’ a bit better – actually, I probably should’ve defined it as ‘chicness’ (chic-ness?). Elegance can be found anywhere, imo – looks are clothes are not determinants. Some odd examples: I consider Harriet Tubman (speaking of slaves) as inestimably elegant. I doubt she was chic, though. Resistance fighters in 1940s Paris – both chic and elegant. Your grandmother sounds very elegant. anybody who loves their veg garden is elegant, in my book!

      I’m rarely chic these days but I hope I possess some vestiges of elegance. I hope.

      You and I have Mutual Writing Love, sweetie! I really appreciate your appreciation!

      (lord, that sounds insane)


  • ElizabethC says:

    My mother was always able to carry herself with elegance. She came from somewhat of a society family (during the depression, one of her aunts contributed to the family by becoming a society reporter for the local newspaper). However, my mother completely rejected the debutant lifestyle and became a beatnik/artist type. Even during her 1970s hotpants/ bellbottoms phase, she managed to pull it off elegantly just with her attitude. Every now and then, my sister and I (wearing jeans, rain slickers and typical Seattle rained on and messy hair) can pull out the “elegant” attitude that Mother taught us, and it still works.

  • Gwenyth says:

    Thank you SO much for another fabulous post. The ‘Poudre de Riz’ sounds like a perfume I would adore.

    I love that you share so much of yourself with us. I want to meet you and your Tia Cornelia! (but reading your words is the next best thing, so I am content)

    My mother and my aunts were ladies I admired. My Aunt Judie has always been my perfect example. She and my Uncle were comfortably situated in life, but they did not flaunt their station. Judie dressed well in classic clothes and shoes that were timeless. She bought ‘quality’ items which would last — I know this, because I recognized a few pairs of shoes and some pieces of clothing she wore often and for many years. Regardless of the situation or occasion, Judie was always well-groomed and well-turned-out.

    Elegance and grace is mostly a state of mind. Confidence and self-reliance do wonders to make any woman beautiful, regardless of how much money she has. Making an effort to ‘do something’ with what you have is the key.
    For me, I always make sure my hair is done (clean and combed/styled), I always have my fingernails done (I do my own manicure and either simply buff my nails or lacquer them), I shop carefully so that I can dress fairly inexpensively but with style (I hope), and I ALWAYS wear perfume!! (of course)

  • fleurdelys says:

    Wow, Musette, you come from a lovely family of ladies! Reminds me of my mother and my aunt. Like your Tia Cornelia, they were raised at a time when a lady did not leave the house without her hair just so, lipstick on, jewelry coordinating with her outfit, and heels. I still take my cues of elegance from them. My family had no money, but my mom always looked nice, even in bargain-store clothes. My aunt set her hair in pincurls and arranged it just so, until her 97th year when she left us.

    • Musette says:

      I think money just helps put a sheen on it. One can be elegant in any financial situation – chic, too. Sounds like the women in your family do just fine!


  • Debbie says:

    Hi Musette! I think the most elegant woman I know is my mom-in-law. She never leaves the house without being perfectly dressed. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

    • Musette says:

      I used to be like that. Then I moved down here, got depressed and cut it out. Now I’m over that and trying to get back into a bit more focus on my grooming and clothes – no couture in the cornfields (and in a biomass plant it’s just silly) – but there’s no reason to look raggedy. And button pants – button pants are a girl’s best friend. They will tell you what no one else will!


  • When I think about it, I know lots and lots of attractive, beautiful women, but only a few I’d describe as elegant. Elegance involves not beauty so much as refinement and restraint and grace, qualities I don’t often see.

    My grandmother was to me the epitome of elegance, always groomed but never overly “done”, blue-blooded in the midst of blue-collar. A tweed suit from Kaufmann’s seemed like a Chanel on her. She was tiny and fine-boned and always lady-like.

    In the perfume world, two people I would describe as elegant are Catherine Deneuve and Victoria Christian.

  • Turns out my favorite perfume shop is now carrying Huitième Art Parfums (which, even in niche line standards, is incrrredibly hard to find), and Poudre de Riz is on my to-try list.

    To me, Cate Blanchett is Elegance Supreme, even when she is not sporting pointy ears and living in enchanted trees. You gotta love a woman who looks so fabulous walking the red carpet in a couture gown while being pregnant to the chin!

    • Musette says:

      There is an ease and grace to Cate Blanchett, isn’t there…I do hope that carries over into her private life. Not that it’s any of my just would be a Nice Thing.


  • You are HILARIOUS Musette.
    What a great piece.
    DNEM I just wanted to say howdy.
    Portia xx

  • dinazad says:

    I have a good friend, the Snow Queen. Black as ebony, white as snow, red as blood (thanks to Mr. Saint Laurent’s lipsticks). Tall, thin, smart, elegant, with a beauty that is more striking than pretty. She’d look good in a potato sack (not in jodhpurs, though. But then, nobody looks good in those), but she’s more likely to be cleaning the house clad in Rykiel. Or cooking in high heels. When we go shopping together, I automatically become the coat-and-handbag-holder in the eyes of the sales personnel. She shines that much. She also smokes, drinks beer, gets really, really cranky when she’s hungry, laughs at life’s absurdities, loves to watch the most rugged of sports. All of which is very nice, but the important thing is that she’s my friend.

    • Musette says:

      I dunno….I think you possess more elegance than you give yourself credit for. But there are those people who tend to suck all the air out of the room…happily I am NOT one of those people (shut UP Patty!!!)

      And you’re right…the important thing IS that she is your friend. And lucky her, to have you.


  • Poodle says:

    My aunt was elegant but she was a big old B too so I never wanted to be like her. My godmother on the other hand had perfumes and powders and lotions and all the things my mom never seemed to bother with. I loved going to her house and loved when she came to ours. She left a scent trail. Her nails were always painted. She was beyond cool to me. She had pearls but my favorite necklace of hers was an opal one. She’s also the one who introduced me to Shalimar at a very young age. I blame her for my perfume problem. 😉

  • Irina says:

    Jackie O. and/or Grace Kelly

  • hongkongmom says:

    Audrey Hepburn from days of old
    My best friend Holly (of Blessed Memory) was one of the most elegant yet down to earth people I have known. She was poised and upright, always with freshly manicured red nails(hands and feet) and was simply beautiful. She carried herself with grace and gave freely with her elegance, grace and beauty. I miss her.
    Currently I see bits of grace in lots of people…its kind of nice and not restricting.

    • Musette says:

      What beautiful memories you must have of your friend. And I, too, see more and more grace. Perhaps we’re just at a place in our lives, HKM, where we are either looking for it….or more willing to see it when it does appear?


  • Francesca Belanger says:

    Tia Cornelia sounds fabulous, as does Poudre de Riz. Gotta get myself over to Osswald. I had some actual poudre de riz which I dusted on my face, but I think it fell victim to a need for more room for juice.

    Is one of the little girls in that photo you?

    Oh, and before I forget: elegant—-Michelle Obama.

    • Musette says:

      Michelle Obama is extremely elegant – and chic. Her focus on her family as well as pushing great (imo) agendas for our nation’s children makes her super-elegant in my opinion.

      on the photo: nope. I don’t think I’d twinkled in my papi’s eye yet. My mother is the tall lady in the back, in the bespoke sundress. Man I wish she’d kept those dresses…


  • Hester says:

    You know, I had a somewhat similar grandmother, who I’m named for. She taught me to climb elegantly out of motor vehicles, always wear lipstick, even around the house because it’s for yourself, but also to snort with laughter when appropriate. She was a gorgeous lady and even when she lay dying of cancer, I had to paint her toenails for her. I also spritzed her with perfume, and once, when her beloved Royal Secret had run out or something, I came too near with the haaaaated bottle of Youth Dew she’d received as a present. She wasn’t verbal any longer, but the look she gave me stopped me in my tracks. Grandmothers. They’re the best. And this scent sounds like my gran and I would both love it!

    • Musette says:

      OMG, Hester – I can just see that ‘look’! LOL! your Grandmother sounds like she waas priceless. I hope her last days were comfortable – it sure sounds like they were filled with love!


  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I really don’t know any ‘elegant’ people in real life. Take that back, my mother’s one friend came from old money and she is one of those wealthy people that one can tell she is from money but not at all snotty. She is pretty cool. There are wealthy people who don’t treat the people who make $30k all that well and there are those who treat people that make $30k pretty good. It’s all about attitude. First it seemed like Jackie O had an elegance to her, then Diana, now it’s Kate Middleton. I know people gripe about how she is now part of the Royal Family and has a title but she still technically a commoner but is growing into her role nicely.

    • Musette says:

      She sounds like a very elegant, classy woman. Money doesn’t define class, as I’m sure you know. And not all old-money people possess elegance. The ability (and desire) to make others feel comfortable around you is a sure sign of elegance, imo.


  • Tatiana says:

    I have a friend MK, who originally hails from southern CA. She is tall, thin and never has a hair out of place. She is sophisticated and confident and very cordial to everyone. Even her casual clothes fit her to a T and are perfectly pressed. Even when dining solo she sets an elegant table. She raises dogs (not sure of the breed). The only time I have ever seen her without a strand of pearls is when she is competing at horse shows. I would love to be like her, but I haven’t an elegant bone in my body.

    • Musette says:

      Bet you do. As I said to Mals further down here, I may have incorrectly written ‘elegance’. I meant ‘chic’. Elegance is interior, imo. Luckily my TIa was both – pretty much a down to earth woman with a lot of classic style (and a maid. and those damn stoles)


  • Dina C. says:

    Poudre de Riz sounds super posh and elegant. Love the list of notes and your description of Tia Cornelia’s swanky flat. I’ve never had a relative with an aspirational lifestyle, so I’m trying to become that relative for all my kin! 😀 I’d love to be entered into the drawing for a sample. For a present time example of elegance, I would point to Kate Middleton. For old school elegance, I like Audrey Hepburn.

    Here in Virginia, we were very fortunate during Sandy. It was a mercy since our area was hit really hard in July with that freaky derecho storm. I think that one pulled down all our weak-rooted trees, so this time around we got off much more lightly. Feeling really badly for folks in New Jersey and New York. Prayers for all of them…

    • mals86 says:

      I’m in the mountains of VA – west of Roanoke, out in the boonies – and I think you’re right, the derecho knocked down most of our precarious trees, so that, while it was windy enough that our trashcans wound up two pastures away from the deck where they usually live, we never lost any power this time.