…and a bit of etc.
Saturday afternoon lying in the garden on the park-type bench that moved with me from London and was refurbed a few years ago. We’re having another bit of Indian summer (sun, blue sky, high 70s) – through mid-week and then things fall off a cliff (ie, heat might come).
The bakery in the next village over had a pumpkin ‘thing’ with meringue. Gorgeous. Maybe they are practicing for Halloween. No point in getting a picture as I’ve eaten bits off ends and it no longer looks pretty.
Awaiting the farm shop’s announcement of when I can participate in pumpkin picking in the field. They do have pumpkins available, but I’ve never done ‘the pick’ so planning to this year.
Finishing up a great book, The Only Street in Paris – Life on the Rue des Martyrs, by NY Times journalist Elaine Sciolino. Part travelogue, part memoir, part ‘this is my street’, etc – beautifully written and makes you want to parachute in and live aspects of her life.
Small bits of sublime.
Sigh, so, onward to perfume.
Why do companies do this – these city exclusives with availability for a short period (and why did I feel the need to cave and buy a sample)? I just made it within the 1-30 September window here for LL Myrrhe 55. My sample was stupid money (£10 for 1.5ml – offers a sense of how much the full 50ml bottle might cost) but it caught my curiosity after another blogger mentioned it. It’s now no longer even on the UK LL website.
(A truly out there pic of Shanghai)
So, clearly this was just released. It’s listed as a chypre, with the following notes sort of (as ever, you’re getting different short melanges from all over the net): bergamot, ginger, myrrh, jasmine, tuberose, patchouli, oud, ambergris and musk etc etc.
The comments on Fragrantica are all over the map, from hot mess floral to fulsome. Website faff is ‘dark and electric, old and new, just like Shanghai’. Well, ok.
I think I actually bought this simply because I’m always interested in what Le Labo does and the noise was ‘refined’, ‘old school’, etc, etc which is in nice contrast to the fruity floral juvenile mess of Hermes Twilly I finally managed to try last week after getting my hair cut (I do like the little bowler hat on top of the spray mechanism).
Anyway, M55 (tired of typing out the name) starts out fruity ginger carrot on me. And no, that’s not positive. It feels sort of like SL Iris Silver Mists: cold and rooty even with the fruit with some weird ginger thrown in for good measure. This aspect clings and then gets modified by what I think is tuberose menthol-rubber (not listed). So, it’s still cold plus has become a bit minty in the soup.
I then get rooty incense (ie, the myrrh and maybe a bit of oud). It’s still too cold for me even though the incense is pleasant (that’s awful: pleasant incense).
Finally – it took me around four days of wearing this to actually pay attention to the drydown. This smells nice in the end. Gentle incensy waft, slightly floral but still with that weird gingery etc thing going on. Decent longevity. At least 5-6 hours (I lost interest after that so no idea if it lasts longer).
Anyway, I’m not in Shanghai so definitely not buying this.
Briefly in a different direction.
A friend recently posted on Facebook about how she had gotten tired of her (her words) sort of hippy-ish middle aged mum look and wanted ideas about how to update herself. A lot of people chipped in with a lot of ideas.
Mostly these were decent, if a bit unimaginative, ideas about different silhouettes and/or combos of skirt, trousers, shoes, boots, tops; and shops to try mostly in NYC which offered (to my mind) expensive but not terribly interesting clothes. Way too much in the way of weird patterns etc.
I’ve always aspired but certainly mostly have not lived up to my presentation aspirations.
After the friend’s post on FB, I happened to re-watched the 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. I know there are those who prefer the Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway version from 1968 but not me (even given the chess scene and that dress).
Maybe because I’m thinking about when I’ll have more freedom to be in the world we’re talking aspiration here which relates to Rene Russo’s wardrobe.
Just oh, my. Mouth-wateringly good. Apparently, the wardrobe mistress started on the production very late. So couldn’t make anything from scratch. Instead, with Russo’s advice, she mostly used pieces from a 1997 Celine collection (plus a bit of Halston, including an outrageous gown – but that’s not really where I’m going).
The clothes revolve around basically four colours/shades (beige, grey, black, brown). Nothing (bar that specific gown) is revealing. Tight but not stupid looking sweaters, pencil skirts, opaque tights, high-necked things, a wide boat-neck dress with a load of pearls. A strange but enticing maybe bustier over white shirt thing that could simply be a bit of white shirt at the top sewn on to fabric from the chest down. Looks good in any case.
All incredibly imaginative without implying she tried too hard.
I guess the thing is: the Catherine Banning character has a load of money and can do what she wants clothing-wise. But everything she wears points to incredibly good and interesting taste, but also sense and self-awareness and imagination. You probably think I’m making too much of this.
But between my own vague aspirational desires and all the comments on my friend’s post she/this character is where I landed in terms of what looking good means to me and how to get there.
There is always so much yack out there about how we present ourselves – about that saying a lot about 1) self-respect and 2) a sense of showing those around us that we give a shit (whether we do or not or simply know we have to look a certain way to prove that we can – eg, interview clothing or working in a certain environment and adhering to its implied requirements – lordy me, I remember the period when I worked in-house at an investment bank before ‘business casual’ took hold and the suits and pumps, and specific makeup, I wore every day).
So, there we go. Every once in a while someone here posts about clothing etc but I don’t think we’ve really covered the outside looking in – ie, what we think the world expects of us and whether we care at all about that – and what deep down we actually aspire to.
So, pitch in. Have you tried the LL Shanghai perfume? Do you think much about personal presentation and has that changed much over your (work) life? In the best of all possible worlds, how would you present yourself?
Pics: Pexels and Wiki — I am having trouble transferring from iPhone which is why no pic of the Le Labo sample