My 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?)
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. We 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 random.org button, not once but TWICE! And the winners of the What I Love About New York sample draw are:
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!