Takashimaya and Fragonard

I went to the feast. And I knew there would be a lot of food, wonderful food, food I´d never tried before, only read about and dreamed of. And I couldn´t eat it all. So I had a plan. I´d only order the most special things, the things at the top of my list, and ignore the rest of the things, especially things I´d eaten before, no matter how tempting. Of course, once I got there, that plan was hard to stick to à¢â‚¬” because, for example, who can pass up an entire illuminated table of Guerlain at Bergdorf, with Plus Que Jamais and Cuir Beluga and Jicky parfums (two bottles!) just lying there like body mist at the Dollar Store? So à¢â‚¬¦ okay, I´d just have a taste. Just one forkful. Of a lot of things. A lot of things.

And how does this impact the clarity of my impressions? Since the whole visit ultimately resembled an orgy more than a meditation, maybe some of my impressions are inaccurate. And fleeting. And I´d do the same thing all over again.

Today I´m talking about Takashimaya. I´m not easily intimidated by retail, and it still took me, oh, 10 minutes to come to terms with the extremely edited, uber-chic ambience in Tak. What a store!! I believe Patty and I were on the 6th floor. We went twice, on two different days, and if I lived in New York I´d probably go once a week. I´d go so often they´d get a restraining order.

I´d go once a week to visit Danielle, the SA of a certain age who has that whole precise, immaculate, extremely-polite-but-no-BS thing à¢â‚¬” which I think of as quintessentially Parisian, if not French à¢â‚¬” down to a science. She did advise us that we shouldn´t, perhaps, try to smell every fragrance they carried in the same visit. And we laughed and said, we know! We know! Oh, well! We´re here for the feast!

The Fragonards were delicious. Okay, not all of them. The Soleil, de Tout Coeur and Belle de Nuit were just okay to me à¢â‚¬” they´re various flavors of rich florals, and my personal tastes don´t often run that direction. The Diamant they characterize as a sweet-oriental, but it´s too sweet for me to love it. Grain de Soleil I am kicking myself for not trying à¢â‚¬” it was lighter-colored so I assumed incorrectly that it was a summer version of Soleil. However, the Fragonard website makes it sound frantastic à¢â‚¬” à¢â‚¬Å“A marriage of rose, iris and jasmine enhanced by cinnamon, amber, vanilla and incense, Grain de Soleil is an eau de parfum that exudes mystery.à¢â‚¬? I so want to exude mystery à¢â‚¬” next visit, maybe. I devoted more of my attention to what I think are the men´s scents, especially Cyprien and Vetyver à¢â‚¬” I think they had four altogether, and they were extremely well-priced. I also enjoyed their Confidentiel line. The Soudain (mandarin, lemon, cardamom, jasmine, orange blossom, gaiac wood and musk) and Apres Tout (rose, bergamot, violet, raspberry, crystal rose absolute, oak moss, amber and musk) were both quite pretty. I liked the incense-spiciness of Mensonge the most initially (grapefruit, ginger, green leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, clove, jasmine, vetiver, sandalwood, lavender) but it took on that acrid note I hate à¢â‚¬” although in a way that was good, because I could have Patty smell it on me and weigh in. To my nose it´s the acrid sharpness of almost-armpit. To her, though, it´s more spicy-pepper, and while it´s strong is not unpleasant (we were both smelling it on me), proving the point that personal perceptions are so varied and so much a part of the experience.

Anyway, the one Fragonard that really stuck around and haunted me was Cette Nuit La (galbanum, neroli, essence of coriander, Bulgarian and Turkish roses, and iris absolute); I don´t have anything in my wardrobe that smells like that. It´s a little too green for me at the top, and (the truth?) I sprayed it on because it smelled so peculiar sniffing the cap. But eight hours later at the airport, the drydown continued to haunt me. It was rich and warm and distinctive and, notes aside, didn´t smell much like roses to me. It smelled like spices, incense, and October.

Coming up soon: more Tak, in which our heroine March embraces the Divine, waxes Nostalgic, and finally falls in love and purchases some eye makeup, narrowly missing being bitch-slapped by her blogmate, who spent two days displaying humor and Job-like patience about the multiple eye makeovers. And the JARs at Bergdorf. We have to talk about the JARs, don’t we?

SPECIAL NOTE: Marina and I did some blind swappage with Ina at Aromascope. Come laugh at me here on her post today.

  • March says:

    Katie — we are working on it right now!

  • March says:

    Chaya — I think you would be very happy, living on the 6th floor. They can send up an excellent tea and assortment of goodies from the basement cafe.

  • Katie says:

    “It smelled like spices, incense, and October.” Ay! I want. That is all.

    No wait, y’all are killing me with the suspense here: I must have a JAR post soon, I’m begging you…

  • chaya ruchama says:

    I shudder to think that I have relatives living so nearby, who would never ever dream of popping in for a fix-I mean sniff-

    If I were in the vicinity, I would LIVE there…sigh…

    Probably the reason I chose not to attend school there- too many temptations for a voluptuary like me…

  • March says:

    Elle, once I got over my initial whisper-y trepidation, I just fell in love with the whole quiet vibe. They are VERY soft sell, as opposed to, say, Henri Bendel — 😮 have you been in there? Like the souk in Marrakech. And the items were beautifully displayed. Judging by the comments above, Cette was a favorite.

  • March says:

    Ylva — wow, that isn’t what I would have pictured at all — you mean, they are out there aggessively hawking their wares? That would be about as far from the Tak experience as one could get.

  • March says:

    Vi Noir — honey, why is it I am thinking patience is not your main virtue?:-w No, me neither.

    I have emailed a draft of my JAR post to Quality Control, and hope to hear back from her shortly. She seems to be buried in work today.

  • March says:

    Ina — it was actually really funny, Patty and I walked into the foyer of the building adjacent by mistake, thinking it was the entrance to Tak. So this security guard is sitting there, staring at us. And I’m thinking, wow, these people are REALLY pre-screening their customers!! Duh.

  • Elle says:

    I am going to have to go dig around for my Cette Nuit La sample. I remember loving it and thinking it would be a future FB purchase, but then too many other lemmings elbowed their way into my consciousness and it sort of disappeared in the background. It’s not a loud, pushy scent.
    I love Tak! If I still lived in NY, I would indeed be there every week.

  • Ylva says:

    Imagine one can feel so differently about scents Like the Fragonard’s… When I was in Grasse I went into their perfume boutique, their store for home decorating etc and their “factory/museum and even though some few scents spoke to me at first sniff, I found the drydown quite uninteresting. The museum part (small though and sadly the Perfumery Museum is undergoing massive re-contructions and is closed for two years) was very nice and there where parts that induced a strong sense of greed in me 😉 But you should have seen the downstairs selling area, now that was not a perfumery like experience, more like mass-psychosis interesting. A bit like a country fair, where the sellers with the loudest voices sells the most:o Fun to have seen anyway.

    Fragrant greetings,

  • violetnoir says:

    The JAR’s, girlfriends, the JAR’s! I’m waiting patiently…really, I am! :d


  • Ina says:

    March, I was at Tak once, in my early days of MUA, and I still smack myself on the head for not doing a better job at sniffing stuff there. I was sort of intimidated back then, I guess. Wah! But it’s such a cool store. Cette Nuit La was my fave of the three, too. 🙂