First off, thanks everyone for your tips on wardrobe last week! I dug out my scarves, sorted my jewelry, culled my wardrobe options (button-down shirts, I never liked you anyway), and organized what was left. I also went prowling for simple, decently-constructed “office” tee shirts. Talbots was disappointing — they’re trying to get a little more creative in their styling, decades after the fact. If I wanted creative styling I wouldn’t be at Talbots, would I? FWIW I will pass on a surprising source – the “basics” corner at H&M has some nice, simple, conservative “dress” tees of varying neck styles/sleeve lengths. I don’t know how well they will hold up, but at 2/$10 I’m willing to find out. My only advice is to try on every shirt (even the same style) before you buy, because their sizing’s inconsistent.
Anyhow – I’m now working in downtown Washington DC. Other than coming down to the museums, special events, etc., it’s been years since I spent any quality time in the central business district. DC’s had something of an urban revival after hard times; in addition to the farmer’s market and plenty of eateries and food trucks, I was surprised to discover Hermes, Kate Spade and similar stores clustered together just a couple of blocks away.
The Hermes boutique is of course a haven of understated luxe, with be-jeweled and be-scarved ladies standing by to offer assistance. I’m not exactly projecting a clear status message with my pleather commuting tote (on the one hand) and pearls (on the other hand) but they were friendly enough.
Is there an Hermes equivalent to Guerlainade? I’m beginning to wonder. Wandering their aisles alongside office workers on lunch hour (as opposed to ladies who lunch) I was struck by how appropriate the Hermes fragrances are, in general. The Hermessences were lined up and lit from beneath, ready to soldier forth into suitable daytime deployment in neighboring law firms, consultancies and non-governmental orgs. On another display pillar, the Jours are clustered together prominently. A third area features the Jardins. The older scents like Hiris are set back on less prominent shelving. I think it’s a safe bet to say that, in general, I could have sprayed on three or five of those featured scents on my lunch hour, and not killed anyone back at the office.
Which is a good thing, because that’s pretty much what I did. I did a multi-day romp through some old favorites and then focused on the Jours (regular, absolu “with more apricot,” and gardenia).
Jour d’Hermes came out in 2012, although I didn’t sample it until recently. It’s got that misty-watercolor-memories Jean-Claude Ellena thing going on, and it’s a little stronger (but not that much stronger) than the collective Hermessences. It’s a citrusy-musky white floral (if there are notes listed anywhere, I can’t find them) but it’s Hermes and thus the white floral element is less fleshy and more abstract. Jour d’Hermes has that chilly elan of some of the older Hermes frags. It’s pretty enough; I’d even say it’s office-appropriate if you don’t drench yourself right before you head into the building.
The Jour d’Hermes Gardenia I had high hopes for (I love gardenia). It’s the newest one, and the SA says it’s been very popular. From Fragrantica: “Jour d’Hermes Gardenia is described as a bouquet of gardenias that convey scents of tuberose, rose and jasmine.” Doesn’t that sound delightful? I’m sad to say despite my best attempts it reads to me as less white-flower and more … brown-sugar-hairspray? HUGE failure to connect with this one. The nicest thing I can say is it doesn’t stick around long on my skin, either.
However, the Jour d’Hermes Absolu is delicious. Tt seems like almost an entirely different scent. (Via Fragrantica: gardenia, sambac jasmine, apricot flower.) There’s an abundance of grapefruit-marmalade tartness at the opening; as that fades the white flowers are more prominent, although it still reads as “white flowers” and not anything specific, and certainly nothing dirty. But it’s the drydown that gets me; a spicy, honeyed musk, such a lovely counterbalance to the earlier tartness. It’s the only one of the three that has a glowing warmth instead of cool angles; there’s a hint of sweaty ol’ Merveilles in there too, so check it out if you liked the original Merveilles.
My only quibble is the bottle, which (while lovely) is so large and blocky that I had to sorta-hold it with one hand and spray with the other, which always makes me feel a bit silly.
I know I’m a bit behind — did you try any of these? How do you feel about Jean-Claude Ellena’s creations for Hermes? If Hermes was handing out a free bottle of perfume tomorrow to you, the lucky customer, which one would you choose?
image from the website jourdehermes.com which, frankly, is kind of a riot — there’s a soundtrack you can download, random thought-burps, and arty photogs of nekkid wimmin, because art.