As expected, Sniffapalooza in New York was a blast, even though the weather was craptastic (cold, blowy, rainy and inside-out-umbrella-ish) and I am still getting over a cold and sound all raspy. Here’s a report of my personal highlights and helpful tidbits from Saturday –
For me, Bergdorf is the highlight of the day. Those people really know their customer service, and the more time I spend shopping elsewhere, the more I admire their CS overall. I spent a long time chatting with the wonderful Tom Crutchfield at Annick Goutal, I know some of y’all know him. He’s full of great stories about Annick and working with the brand, and he really loves fragrance. Anyhoo, he had literally unpacked his Mandragore Pourpre the day before the event, he was not expecting his shipment until November. So they have it in, he can hook you up, they have the square and the round bottles. So I soaked myself in it to see if I felt the same way as I did in my review, and … well, I do. It’s a little darker and sweeter and missing the sharp-clawed top of the original. But if that part gets on your nerves, hey – try this one. I think my notes say $115 for 100ml. I also wanted to tell you about the AG Noel room spray he’s got on preorder, he’s waiting for his shipment, it’s a seasonal LE thing. No, it does not smell like potpourri or Christmassy – in fact, I can tell you what it smells like! It smells exactly like the smell when you walk into a chiller at a high-end florist – sweet white flowers (think lilies, tuberose, freesia) with a little green and a slightly mentholated chill. I thought it was lovely, I can’t wait to try that in a room. I ordered one. It’s $44 for 3.4 oz(!), and here’s Tom’s number – 212-872-2768. Also btw he says he’s been told they’re going to stop shipping the Ambre Fetiche to the US due to poor sales, although that doesn’t pose much of a barrier to us determined folks in perfume-land.
The new Robert Piguet Futur is loads of fun as well, a retro-modern 60s scent that is green and woody, but still floral (ie not too green and woody for me). The drydown on my card makes me think of something along the lines of Norell meets vintage Vent Vert, but softer. This is a reintroduction and has been done (and I can only assume, reorchestrated) by Aurelien Guichard. I’ve really liked most of the offerings of the line, and this is another worthy addition. I’m bummed that I missed the sample handout of this one, my own fault, I’m going to try to get ahold of it and do a decent review. Notes are bergamot, neroli “a green spring-like bouquet of violet and the sweet richness of jasmine and ylang,” vetiver, cedar and patchouli. And, they had a bottle of the parfum, which smelled tremendous.
I spent a ton of time, as did everyone else, with the delightful, totally up-for-it Francis Kurkdjian, who … look, the dude did scented bubbles, you know he’s going to be fun, right? So he was blowing those in the air over us and we were popping them, it was hilarious. The hordes of crazed perfumistas did not faze him. Now, the fragrances … there are seven, including two colognes, and I got to try them twice, Catherine and I snuck over there for a preview Friday night. Here’s a link to FK’s interview with Sniffa, also Patty’s been reviewing them on here including yesterday. I have samples, I’ll likely do a more comprehensive review when I’ve had time to reflect on them more, not surrounded by 150 other things. They are interesting and worth smelling, they seem very unified as a line… oh, the bottles are cool, the caps are I think zinc? They’re spotty-looking, so the bottles are spare and clean but also organic-looking. Attractive. So, there’s homme and femme for two EDP scents, to me the vibe of the line is a little herbal/aromatic. My point being, these are not sweet, “perfume-y” scents. I’m getting the feel that FK did exactly what he wanted, which is as it should be, no? They’re all unisexy. My two personal favorites? Acqua Universalis, which was featured there as an EDT and apparently you can get it as a laundry detergent, how fabulous would that be? I can’t even tell you why I thought it smelled so great (notes are bergamot, Sicilian lemon, lily of the valley, sweet orange and blond musky wood) but it did, and not like a conventional cologne. My other favorite was Cologne Pour le Soir (notes of cashmere and leather) and OH MY GOD (insert moaning sounds here.) It’s … it’s not uber-heavy. Let me be clear here. These are not, say, something with the weight of Caron. They’re newer and cleaner smelling. Having said that, ask Tom how long the group of us stood around and sniffed it on his wrist, I mean, it was a little embarrassing. It’s a glove/book/belt leather, not some ol’ birchtar thang, but if you like a refined leather, hooboy. THIS. Tom said his boyfriend liked it!
Also there were the new Van Cleefs, which I didn’t pay as much attention to because they gave us a sample set and I know I can sniff them here. I also sniffed the Boisé Torride at Guerlain and while I can’t exactly say that I gave it a huge chance, it didn’t make much of an impression one way or another, except to make me giggle at the name. I guess I was hoping for, you know, more wood. (Why oh why won’t someone do me a fragrance called Morning Wood? in French, of course – what is that, Bois de Matin? I’d buy it.) Oh, and they have the new Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile, and I thought it was awfully pretty (I could see a decant), but it doesn’t smell a ton like actual magnolia.
In the Someone Else’s Fault category – Edward Bess was there, he’s the sweet young guy with his own lipstick line and a couple other products (blush and eyeshadow?) I want to call him cute as a button but it doesn’t sound very respectful and I have nothing but respect for the business acumen and drive that got him a counter in BG. His lipsticks are lip-colored and very nicely done, nothing radical just good basic colors, I bought a lippie and a gloss. I bet he can’t buy a drink in a bar without being carded. I talked to him and his gals for quite some time about marketing and yadda yadda, he was loads of fun. He tested and developed the colors on his mom and sisters, how sweet is that?
I skipped the Sniffa lunch so I could indulge my favorite thing, which is eating lunch in the BG café on the beauty level. If you have not done that, you need to. Seriously, tea sandwiches, deviled eggs and chopped salads the size of your head? And strong coffee? And great people-watching? What’s not to love? Also right this second BG is having a multi-floored show of Chanel vintage. Check out the accessories in the Chanel boutique on 1, the vintage clothes in the store’s exterior display windows, and the dresses upstairs (floor 6, maybe?)
Takashimaya offered us cupcakes, mango tea, and Keiko Mecheri, who was there very helpfully explaining her scents and matching people up with new favorites. They have the Ineke line, and I tried Field Notes from Paris, but need to sniff further, it made me think of L’Artisan Navigateur a little (coffee and spices.) They still have the Fragonards but seem to have gotten rid of The Different Company. I’m still mad at them, I confess, for moving their beauty floor down from the top floor, which I think worked better as a space. The cool think about Tak is I see lines there I never see anywhere else, but their selection is so small now that I couldn’t get excited about anything new on this particular visit.
Bendel has jammed their entire fragrance department into one of those back alcoves, the one on the left. No, seriously. I wish you could have seen 120+ of us trying to wedge ourselves into a place that would probably feel claustrophobic once you had more than ten bodies. So I only lingered in there long enough to hork down some black and white cookies alongside Chaya (yes, in case you are worried – between that and the cupcakes at Tak I did get my daily dose of sugar.) I managed to sniff Etat Libre’s new Fat Electrician, which is mostly vetiver, and sure it smelled nice but I am not the queen of vetiver, so I can’t make some dazzling pronouncement about it. I answered a friend’s question honestly while standing there – for as much as I liked a couple of the Etats when I reviewed them, somehow I never felt moved to pursue it further, I don’t wear samps or have decants of any of them. Just not my thing somehow.
Then we were supposed to do a couple more things, but … did I mention how craptastic the weather was? And I was getting sniffed out? And so an anonymous partner-in-crime and I ducked into the ginormous theatre that is in the side of BG, directly across from The Plaza, and watched Coco Before Chanel, which – let me tell you – was a damn fine way to finish up a day of sniffing. It’s probably a good thing that nobody was sitting right next to me, because I am sure I was wafting some pretty intense sillage at that point, including from a frag or two that are not new at all but that I’d somehow overlooked and now love, reviews to follow soonish. A great time was had, if not by all, then certainly by me, even on a blustery day that feels more like February than October.
Oh, and PS — I got several compliments on my understated stormy blue-gray mani, for the two gals who asked me to put it in the post, it’s Barielle’s Slate of Affairs from the All Lacquered Up collection, I got mine from barielle.com
Anyone have any questions or comments, fire away!