…AND THE WINNER IS, ~ White Diamonds By Elizabeth Taylor

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Tomorrow night is the 85th Annual Academy Awards.  

I would like to present for your consideration. 

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Yul Brynner ripped open the envelope paused with a half smile looked up and out across the audience in the packed Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to find her eyes.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR OSCAR NIGHT 1961

“And the winner is…..”

The scandal would have ruined any other actress’s career. Only a few years before Ingrid Bergman had been vilified and exiled to Italy for leaving her husband and daughter to marry Roberto Rossellini and other lesser stars had fallen from the heavens of Hollywood for much less.

Yet she is still here, dressed in Dior, sitting back in her chair not expecting anything, waiting to hear if she is going home with Oscar.

She was the little girl with the grown-up face who had won the hearts of America when she dressed as a jockey and won the Grand National at twelve years old, the teenage girl who found her place in the sun when she steamed up the screen with the hottest kiss ever filmed and uttered the line that would define her for many.

“Tell mamma, tell mamma all….”

She had taken West Texas on at twenty two and tamed a rebel in the bargain. She revisited F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Paris, went mad in the midst of the American Civil War. But when she was that cat Maggie on a hot tin roof all hell broke loose.

Suddenly a few summers before this Oscar night the most beautiful widow in the world had stolen Tammy’s husband. This sealed her image as a modern day Cleopatra and in so doing convincing a failing studio that she was the only woman who could save them by barging down the Nile in style. But first she had a debt to pay. Metro said she had to play a prostitute before they would release her to play a queen. She hated the role and swore she would sleep walk through it. She took no direction from her director and had her crooner husband inserted into the film. The first few days of shooting where a nightmare but something happened to change it all. Her innate professionalism took over and her forth Oscar nomination was the result.

The housewives of America where horrified and fascinated all in the same breath by her performance on screen and off, she was the home wrecker they loved to hate and envied for her beauty. After playing the Park Avenue call girl she was off to London to make history as the woman who nearly brought down the Roman Empire. It didn’t start out so well and in a month she had to be carried on set for her costume test ill with the flu. Within hours she was fighting for her life when the flu morphed into a deadly form of pneumonia. A London newspaper announced her death at the very moment she came back from the edge at the urging of Mike Todd.

“Go back baby. You have more to do. I’ll be waiting for you when it is time.”

The tracheotomy scar at the base of her neck would be her badge of survival, one of many.

The world suddenly realized what a loss her death would be too their collective dreams. They had almost lost that beautiful little girl, the girl who had everything they needed to remind them that there was still magic to be found in flickering images on a silvery screen.

“And the winner is, Elizabeth Taylor….Butterfield-8”

 ELIZABETH TAYLOR OSCAR NIGHT 1961 WIN

The Santa Monica Civic Center exploded in jubilation. They and the world had forgiven her.

“I lost that Oscar to a tracheotomy” Shirley MacLaine whispered as she joined in the applause.

When Elizabeth still weak from her ordeal in London reached the podium she was visibly moved.

“I don’t really know how to express my gratitude for this and for everything.  I guess all I can do is say thank you, thank you with all my heart.”

All was right with the universe; everything was back in place in the heavens. Our National Velvet had won the prize and come home to us. All that was left for Elizabeth Taylor to do now was to fly off to Rome to meet her new Mark Antony.

 Loris Loddi, Elizabeth Taylor, and others., in scene from CLEOPATRA, 1963

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White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor is one of the most popular perfumes on the market. It has been a huge seller for over twenty years and a winner of the Fifi award (the Oscars of the fragrance industry). It has eclipsed Taylor’s first perfume Passion and outlived the many flankers of rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

It is in my view the best of her line. This Floral Aldehyde is sure to be viewed by the younger audience as an old lady scent. That would be a mistake. White Diamonds is really a nod to a classic and classy approach to perfume. It smells vintage, rich, elegant and glamorous. This perfume is a star and she is at ease in her skin as a stunning beauty with a great sense of humor. And she owes a lot to Chanel No.5 in her make-up. In fact you might agree that White Diamonds is a Hollywood star playing the role of No.5.

When the lights come up on set the star walks on with a glorious blast of fizzy and fabulous aldehydes that flash a stunning set of gems made up of bergamot, Neroli, orange and lily. This opening is a glittering  Bulgari necklace that accentuated the lush fullness of her décolletage.

Then she gets down to the business she excels at, drama! Her violets flash purple lights and she throws out petals of roses and laughing narcissus. She smiles with wisps of ylang-ylang and sensuous jasmine.  Then all is banished by the queen, Egyptian tuberose. How can you resist her?

At the end of the shoot just before the assistant director calls a wrap. She settles into her director’s chair with a relaxing cocktail of fuzzy comfy oak moss, patchouli, musk, creamy sandalwood and warming relaxing amber.

Like all great stars White Diamonds has longevity. (It is long lasting in more ways than one. The bottle I have is from 1991 and smells wonderful.) She lasts for hours and hours, eight to ten hours tops and that is fabulous. She remains young on the skin like a dusting of Max Factor powder that stays smooth and creamy well into the night. Her projection is professional and no need for a body microphone. She lets you know she is in the room and all eyes are on her.

White Diamonds like Elizabeth Taylor is unforgettable.

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WHITE DIAMONDS, FIVE GOLD STARS

“There is no deodorant like success” Elizabeth Taylor

IT’S ALL ABOUT ME ME ME! ~ My Interview on The Perfumed Dandy.

“To the women of America… no make that, to the women everywhere!” Maggie Prescott

Maggie Prescott

I am a Sunday Supplement! I am so flattered and honored to be the subject of an in depth and entertaining interview by The Perfumed Dandy.  His very first interview ever. So if you want to know more about ME ME ME, pop over to his wonderful blog and take a peak behind the curtain at the wonderful wizard of Ahhhhs.

LINK:http://theperfumeddandy.com/2013/02/17/fragrances-latest-star-lanier-smith-of-scentsmemory-the-sunday-supplement-interview/

AN UNNERVING CHILD ~ Arpege by Lanvin Paris ~ Guest Review

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Dear readers it is time to celebrate the opening of The Perfumed Dandy’s blog with a guest post by none other than the Dandy himself!  Today he takes us to Paris where he fist fell in love with women’s perfumes. Now I ask you, where else but in Pairs would a dandy fall in such a way for such a thing.

Without further ado and such may I present Monsieur Dandy and his little friend Mademoiselle Arpege!

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Arpege by Lanvin

She appears at first to be such an unnerving child, though she is not a child at all really.

You arrive at the neat counterfeit of a country cottage that is her parents’ home.  Your dear friend Andre and his wife Jeanne’s ‘little piece of the Languedoc ‘ in Paris’s Beaux Quartiers.  Not far from the Musee Marmottan, a little before the Bois de Boulogne.

She greets you: all gamine beauty but wilful and headstrong, almost unhinged.

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Her mother asks her to collect flowers for the house from the Fraysee’s beautiful garden.

She – Margaret is her given name, used exclusively by her mother when upset with her, which is often – turns more than a touch feral.

A  teen on a chemical kick she rushes around the manicured borders that pretend after the style of rural meadows pulling up plants careless, or perhaps all too conscious,  of their complexion and the destruction she is reeking.

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Her mission completed, she dumps the result of her floricultural firestorm:  a frenzy of Jasmine, Rose, Iris, Lily, Lily of the Valley, even the precious camellias from the cloche, in a series of unwashed carafes still sour with the stench of last night’s rough white wine.

In the music room, where she places three bloom burdened vessels in a row atop an apparently out of tune upright piano the smell is approaching the unbearable.

Then she starts to hammer out her chromatic scales.Konachan.com - 49447 blue_eyes clouds flowers instrument isou_nagi long_hair megurine_luka piano pink_hair rose vocaloid

You notice that it is her playing and not the instrument that is off-key. Then you notice that she is doing it quite deliberately.

You catch and then return a sly smile with the daughter of the house. She is affecting inability as acutely as only a true musician can.

What feels like a moment’s conversation of an hour or so follows. She excuses herself to change for dinner.

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Whilst the women are preparing themselves you talk politics and the economy and the desperate state of things since the Great Crash and Andre teaches you a new aperitif – vanilla Martinis – the latest American way of forgetting.

Jeanne enters, elegance as ever.

And after her mother, the daughter appears. Her ebony hair tied up to reveal her ivory neck, the style held in place with artist’s pencil.

At dinner she grows, with a glass of wine in hand, into what you realise she now is: a beautiful young woman.

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Well read, she speaks eloquently of Eliot and that woman Woolf.

Her fragrance? Is it her mother’s sandalwood or father’s vetiver that envelopes her, or both?

After eating you retire to sweet Amarettos and honeyed Chopin played by the same delicate hands that earlier tore up roots with angry urgency and blundered through elementary piano exercises.

Then she is gone: upstairs for an early night.

She is merely on the cusp of womanhood, holding within her the promise of future greatness, perhaps even an echo of her mother’s magnificent past.

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Arpege, even in her reigned in contemporary form is a perennially prickly perfume, quite impossible to get to know at once.

Her behaviour in the opening notes is by most measures quite unseemly and to some noses downright upsetting.

But forbearance and a little understanding see this slightly acidic aledhyde blossom first into a full-bodied floral and then a warm-hearted almost wooded amber scent that never loses her edgy integrity.

Arpege can give the best in class – including the biggest names – a run for their money.

People speak in hushed tones of her family heritage and I would have loved to have met her mother in her vintage days.

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The part of Arpege played by Francoise Hardy

Please do pop over and visit our guest reviewer The Perfumed Dandy

THE PERFUMED DANDY LINK:

http://theperfumeddandy.com/

IN THE SHADOW OF VESUVIUS ~ Oscar for Men by Oscar de la Renta

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“Can you imagine the sound it must have made?”  I said almost to myself in the garden of the House of the Faun as I caught sight of Vesuvius over what remained of the ruined back walls of the villa.

“Or how frightened they must have been?’  My mother said as she came up beside me. She took my hand in hers and held it. She hadn’t done that for a long time. Not since I was a little boy. Not like that.

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August 24, 79 A.D.

It was February 14, 1999, my mother’s birthday. My step-father had brought my mother to Italy on a tour with his old Alma Matter to celebrate her entry into her seventieth year. He had invited me along because since I was a boy I was fascinated with Pompeii and all things Roman.  I was so enamored of the civilization that after the rains came to Southern California I would build roman cites in the wet adobe mud. They would bake in the sun until the other kids in the neighborhood found my roman cities and destroyed them.  I called those children “the barbarians.”

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RECONSTRUCTION OF A POMPEIAN GARDEN ATRIUM

Pompeii is deserted in February; it is the only way to see it. Our group of fifteen on the Cornell University Alumni tour was as it turned out on this chilly afternoon, the only living people in the entire city. As we wandered the remains of the House of the Dancing Faun our Italian guide explained that when the gardens of Pompeii were excavated the archaeologists found remains of the plants that had been living at the time Pompeii died. The remains were analyzed and all the gardens were replanted and look just as they did exactly 1920 years before. Almost the same as they had been that noon day in August when the city was full of people none of whom knew that there was a continent beyond the Pillars of Hercules that would one day be called America or for that matter what a volcano was. The guide explained that there is no word in Latin for volcano and that the Romans had no idea that Vesuvius was one.

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THE FIRST OF TWO GARDENS IN THE HOUSE OF THE FAUN

After lunch we had a little free time and I told the guide I wanted to explore on my own. He gave me I had a half an hour before we were to leave and said we could meet up by the gate to the city. In agreement he volunteered to tell my parents where I had gone.

I strolled into the Forum and peeked into a warehouse full of objects found in the excavations. Rows of amphora behind a wrought iron gate, and in the center the plaster cast of a crouching man in the position he had been in at the moment that the pyroclastic flow from the mountain hit him.

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Further on the garden courtyard of the temple of Apollo found me at its center.  I took in a quick and deep breath of awe as I stood before the one remaining statue of the god. He looked from where I stood as though he was about to set the top of Vesuvius alight like an ancient lamp. The smell of the garden was soft and full of aromatic evergreens, cypress and a few very early plum blossoms. I closed my eyes and I could hear off in the distant voices murmuring on the edge of reality.

“Hello? Do you speak English?”  I opened my eyes to see a beautiful young man standing under the statue of Apollo.  “Are you lost?”

I smiled and told him no, that I wasn’t lost. I turned to point to the entrance of the temple courtyard.

“I am with my family and a group off…..”   I turned back and he was gone. The wind came up from the sea and made a low moan as it pushed against the trees and through the columns of the portico. It was so sudden and strong that I staggered against it. The distant voices grew clearer. They were calling a name, my name.

What had just happened? Everything was suddenly intensified a thousand times, colors, sounds and most of all smells.  I was flooded by the smell of, rich resinous fir trees and garlands of roses, jasmine and lilies, violet leaves as purple as the roman sea. I could smell the ancient market filled with oranges, nutmeg and cloves and a bright sharp dark Indian pepper that bit into my senses.  There was leather and sandalwood from the humming workshops along the edges of the forum and the musky smells of pack animals entering the city. Above it all swirled the intoxicating heady aroma of temple incense. The perfume of the gods used to carry offerings and prayers to the very gates of Olympus.

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THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO, POMPEII

I stepped back and reached out to steady myself against a marble column older than anything I had ever touched before. The voices were more urgent now that called my name seemingly over the centuries; backwards or forwards I could not tell. I walked to the gate leading to the street. Turned for one last look at the statue I shook my head to clear it.

“There you are!” My mother came up and swatted my arm. “Why did you wander off without telling anyone?”

“I did tell the guide.” I mumbled still in a fog.

The others in the group were laughing and my stepfather patted my back. “You gave your mother a scare.”

We walked through the city gates and down to the waiting bus that was to take us to Sorrento. I was seated next to our guide as the bus navigated the corkscrew that is the Amalfi road. He studied me with knitted brow and then smiled. “Something happened to you in Pompeii, didn’t it?”

“What do you mean?”  I said.

His look was all knowing and warm. “The city remembers you. It happens sometimes. ”

Not until today when I first sprayed Oscar for Men my Oscar de la Renta did I think again of that moment in Pompeii when time slid away and I just may have met Apollo, the god of the Sun.

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POMPEIAN WALL PAINTING

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Oscar for men opens beautifully and instantly transported me to the smell of Southern Italy and the gardens of Pompeii.  The Top notes of this very masculine perfume are mandarin orange, fir resin, bergamot and pepper; middle notes are nutmeg, lily, lavender, jasmine, violet leaf, cloves and rose; base notes are leather, sandalwood, musk, balsam fir, vanilla and incense. It lasts on my skin for a good ten hours and the projection is immense. This is a spicy, woody incense blast that would do any roman emperor proud. It could fill the Flavian Amphitheater and eradicate any other offending smells of bloodstained gladiators, lions, senators or saucy prostitutes under the arches.

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OSCAR FOR MEN FIVE GOLD STARS *****

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BBC DRAMA ABOUT THE LAST DAY IN POMPEII

MISS AUDREY TAYLOR ~ The life of a Star for Madame Weebles

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(Audrey at the Ball of the Century)

(Audrey Taylor was the name given to my Halloween persona by my late friend Neal Fitzgerald (Kay O’Pectate) the the following story was presented to me on my birthday as a Life Magazine article. I posted this for Madame Weebles enjoyment. Oh and Audrey has been retired now for many years.)

Story by Neal Fitzgerald (edited by Lanier Smith)

 Audrey Taylor was born in the small English village of Highteasing On Wigg, Her family moved to London shortly before  the war and during the blitz Audrey suffered hearing damage that left her tone deaf (all her singing in later musicals was dubbed) After the war the family emigrated to the U.S. where they settled in Riverside California. On a class field trip to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Audrey stormed the stage and began belting out the old Baby Jane Hudson song “I’ve Written A Letter To Daddy” There was as Hollywood luck would have it a casting agent in the audience and the raven haired child was offered a screen test despite the fact that she could’t sing. It was her charm and un-natural beauty that got her a contact at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

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Her first film shot her to the top of the star roster at the studio. “Gassie Come Home” the story of an English farm girl and her flatulent old collie. At 18 she landed the part of a runaway princess to shacks up with a reporter in the enchanting “Neapolitan Holiday” who can forget the lithesome young Audrey being chased through the back alleys of Naples by a leering Van Johnson?

After her divorce from first Husband Nicky Six (heir to the Motel Six fortune) Audrey plunged headlong into a stream of hits, “The Girl Who Had Everyone”, “Elephant Stomp” and the delightful “Seborrhea” about the chauffeur’s daughter who marries a millionaire.  “Humongous!”  from the Edna Ferber bestseller about Oklahoma pig farmers. She stole the picture from co-stars Rory Calhoun and Sal Mineo as the gal with the biggest spread in the west.

Up next was “Funny Puss” with Pipi Chanel and Gene Kelly. Audrey wore a sensational wardrobe as the shop girl who becomes a lingerie model in Paris  Although her singing was dubbed by Marnie Nixon, she danced up a storm with Kelly and Chanel.

At the premiere of the film, Audrey met the man who would become her second husband, larger-than-life producer Jack Rodd. They began a whirlwind romance in which he wooed her with fabulous gifts including a famous diamond engagement ring. Audrey’s life long passion for collecting jewels began at the time. I was Rodd who gave Audrey the fabulous” Tears of Russia” Tiara which she often wears to this day. The couple had a huge Hollywood wedding at which sexpot Annie Day burst out of her gown lunging for the bridal bouquet.

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(Audrey in the delightful “Breakfast At Woolworth’s)

The newlyweds moved into a huge Bel Air mansion that had once belonged to fallen screen star Margaret Elliot. Audrey’s happiness was to be short lived, however. Tragically Rodd was struck by a tourist bus outside Van Cleef and Arpels in Beverly Hills and killed instantly.

At the time Audrey was finishing production on the Civil War epic, “Wetbush County”. Ever the trooper she missed only one day’s filming to attend the funeral of her husband, at which the grieving Audrey, (Elegant in a black Dalian et rae) was mobbed by reporters. When “Wetbush” was released she received great reviews and another Oscar nomination, but despondent Audrey began having problems with the pills she had taken steadily since childhood and the massive quantities of caffeine that fueled her star’s shine. On a weekend bring at Las Vegas’ Hideaway Casino Audrey was introduced to nightclub singer Bobby Sailor by actress Kay O’Pectate.

The two stars began an affair that shocked Hollywood and the world when Sailor left his wife Debbie Dallas to marry Audrey, now dubbed by the press as “The Black Widow”.

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Thou the marriage was never a happy one, Audrey did some of her finest work in the next few years. First there was “Kitten on a Cold Wood Floor” Adapted from an ill-fated Broadway play with Helen Lawson and Annie Day. Audrey took over the Day role and made the picture a success.   Then came “Butifico-8” and “Breakfast at Woolworth’s”

Her greatest triumph was in “Suddenly Last Call” a shocking tale of a barfly who is institutionalized after the closing lights in her bar illuminate her cousin’s grizzly murder.  For this role she receive her seventh Oscar nomination.

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(TIME cover for “Suddenly Last Call”)

Shortly before the awards ceremony Audrey was dining at Perino’s with Joan Crawford when she choked on a chicken bone and had to be rushed to the hospital where she nearly died. It was a visibly weakened Taylor who appeared at the Oscars. When her name was announced as the best actress the audience cheered as Audrey resplendent as always in a magnificent Dalian et rae gown, ran to the stage to accept the prized statuette.

Big Win

 

Scandal followed upon the heels of acclaim when in Rome on the set of “Pompeia” she fell for married British actor Richard Bourbon. As the affair blazed across the newspapers of the world  and her marriage to crooner Bobby Sailor crumbed the film ran into huge budget overruns nearly bringing Imperium International into bankruptcy. Suffering from a weak script the film was a huge success due to the scandal. Its highlight was an elaborate scene of Audrey entering the Baths of Pompey astride a golden bull borne by Nubian slaves.

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 Then came the film version of the Broadway hit “Low Fair Lady” (again dubbed by Marnie Nixon) Audrey was woefully miscast and the film was her first flop. A great big FLOP!  The Bourbon’s decided to work together again on “The Sandcrabs” this proved to be another flop and the marriage began to show strains. Richard was a notorious drinker and Audrey was often wild on caffeine. The fights became legendary.

Desperate for a hit but nervous about carrying another picture on her shoulders, Audrey took a secondary role in her next film, “Who The Hell Am I, Anyway?”  The film was a psychological thriller featuring Irish star Kay O’Pectate as a woman with multiple personalities tormenting her sister played by Annie Day. Audrey had the pivotal role of the neighbor  but it was not a highlight of her career.

It was Bourbon who coaxed his wife into her next film, “I’m Afraid of Virginia Graham!” Audrey gained thirty pounds to play her first frump who shouted vulgarity all night long at Bourbon and co-stars Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. Dee was hospitalized with acute hysterical blindness because Audrey’s performance on the set was so disturbing. The film brought excellent reviews and one more Oscar nomination for Taylor.

It was at a post-Oscar party at the home of Dinah Thurst that Audrey (in a snit over loosing the Oscar and high on champagne, pills and her usual caffeine) stunned the party goers by doing an impromptu strip tease. Caught by a photographer the pictures were flashed around the world.

Financial difficulties followed. Despite huge salaries, Richard spent million alone on Audrey’s appetite for jewelry, designer fashions and wigs. On top of that there was the mansion in Bel Air, the homes in London, Mismaloya, and a huge villa outside of Rome.  Strapped for cash the famous couple appeared in a string of regrettable flops that last being “Bang!”. Shortly after “Bang!” fizzled at the box office the battling Bourbons were divorced.

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(50th Birthday Photo and single again. )

  Audrey took what cash was left and her jewels and moved to the Roman villa where she went into semi-retirement. She made a few screen appearances in the following years. There was an Italian production called “Incoerente” (“Incoherent”  in Britain and the US) and a cameo in “Airport 81”. Her last TV appearance was as a guest spot on “Dynasty” as Alexis Carrington’s good twin sister. She was killed off after only three episodes.

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(Still a Tabloid favorite!)

Today Audrey lives alone in her lovely Edwardian home in San Francisco where she entertains close friends such as Annie Day and Rusllyn Rozzel. When asked if she would ever return to the screen she declined to comment from behind her heavily veiled face.  When we pressed her to name her favorite perfume she smiled.

“Chanel No.5 darling. What else could it be?”

Her home is on the grey line tour of the city and often fans are thrilled to see Audrey at the window waving to them. Always the gracious star to her adoring public.

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AUDREY TAYLOR ~ STAR!

Audrey Sex And The City

  Audrey                      Annie                        Kay                Rusllyn

WHO IS THAT MYSTERIOUS MAN? ~ The Perfumed Dandy Goes Live

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(The Perfumed Dandy 1809)

It is unofficial and very hush hush but my dear friend the mysterious and debonair Perfumed Dandy has just today opened his blog!  Now mind you dear friends that the official premier event opening is still Valentines Day, but please do pop over to the dandy blog and get acquainted with the new guy at the party de perfume. There is lots to see already, the all about Mr. Dandy at the Who Is The Perfumed Dandy page.

Then mosey on over to the “Matters of Import” pages and see what lies in store for you to participate in a great and exciting adventure starring you and Mr. P. Dandy.

It is all so very exciting and quite frankly I am breathless with anticipation to see  all of your calling cards on the silver tray in foyer of The Perfumed Dandy’s stately Dandy Manor House .

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DANDY MANOR

So lets all give P. Dandy a great and wonderful welcome to our world of fragrance and fantasy.

LINK:http://theperfumeddandy.com/

Invitation

A SPECIAL VALENTINE GIFT ~ The Perfumed Dandy !

549843_437695019636119_1888320209_nMy friend and guest poster here at Scents Memory, The Perfumed Dandy will be launching his blog on Valentine’s Day. To find out more about him and the blog please visit his Facebook page. If you enjoy my blog, you are going to love The Perfume Dandy.  If you live to love perfume this will be a great occasion to celebrate a wonderful new voice and talent in the fragrance blogosphire.

Facebook Link:http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Perfumed-Dandy/413774028694885

PIMLICO PETTING PARTIES!!

SHANGRI-LA ~ Fever Pour Homme by Celine (100th post!)

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Leisurely the veils lift and fall and curl in the fir perfumed air high above the valleys of India.  Veils made of silk dyed a thousand years ago in saffron reds of the maharajahs  golden yellows of the sheikhs and violets of the princesses of Persia. The worn but still splendid and nearly transparent with age the veils are all shot with golden threads. Here in the Himalayas in the abandoned palace of the fallen Chauhan there lingers a memory of the old gods of India.  It is buried in the faded wall paintings of elephants and monkeys in jungle gardens stained with centuries of faded incense.

Occasionally someone stumbles upon the abandoned palace on their way to Kathmandu and beyond in search of fabled Shangri-La. When sudden twilight traps them here they crawl into sleeping bags laid out on old woven vetiver mats and turn to the walls against the bitter early spring cold night.  They huddle in corners way from the broken sandalwood fretwork windows and fall into exhausted sleep. It is only then when the fever dreams of the searchers come upon their heavily closing eyes does this place reveal its secrets.

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The painted monkeys awaken in the walls and begin to chatter as they eat petals of pink jungle roses and cardamom seeds and look down upon the sleeping visitors. Musk deer bound from one wall though a cracked plaster corner to the next. A bull Elephant trumpets a call to the herd to move deeper into the now steaming lush forest away from the river where the sage grows.  A hundred or more eyes open within the green painted fronds of palm, bamboo and rubber trees. Brown kohl painted and deep the imperious eyes look down upon the mortals who have invaded their sacred palace. A far radiant and distant music, ethereal, primal and sensual comes from deep within the walls. The eyes in the forest fronds shift to the windows of the palace and the veils flutter separating the world within from the mountains of the Himalayas. The monkeys laugh like humans as the veils swirl to the music of the gods in seductive undulation.  Within the silk shot with gold are a thousand dancers moving as one. The world of dreams is alive and floats inches above the sleeping men. Those mortals who paralyzed to myth and magic have forgotten how to dream.

Upon the touch of the henna orange fingers of the first rays of dawn the air stills. The veils fall straight again and the painted walls fade to amber hues and only the memory of burned incense hangs in a Morpheus cloud above the now stirring bodies of the strangers. Awake at first light to push on in search of Shangri-La not knowing they have just spent the night within its very walls.

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Fever Pour Homme by Celine is a remembered dream of incense perfume. It lies lightly upon the skin where is stays close and soft.  It opens with a fresh whiff of mountain sharp fir and a spicy sweet cardamom. This aromatic opening gives way fast to the lightly smoky incense which is the main focus of this perfume. Not heavy catholic incense but rather ethereal eastern and almost balmy incense. This note is made more interesting by the rose and at the same time tamed a bit by the dry influence of sage.   There is a solid masculine dry down of a sturdy blending of sandalwood, patchouli, musk and vetiver toward the end it becomes paper dry.

Fever is not a spectacular oriental incense perfume but rather a dreamy dry woody spicy well blended perfume that is light enough to wear in close quarters and still get away with a touch of glamour in the burning of incense cones. For what it is, the silage is light thus it has the ability to capture the attention of those who come into close orbit. Once they are within range, say kissing range, the gravity of the perfume will pull them closer and you will more likely than not have a complement to deal with. The longevity is moderate, about five hours at most on me. A short duration for me is no problem. I enjoy the ceremonies involved of perfume application. There is a sensuous joy I find in that act.

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In the end there is much to be said for a subtle touch in a perfume. This is a nice change of pace when you are feeling exotic but you don’t want to awaken the gods by ringing every gong in the temple.

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FOUR GOLD STARS **** 

(DHOOM TAANA from OM SHANTI OM  2007 INDIA

PRESS PLAY)

1919 THE RAGE OF PARIS ~ Mitsouko by Guerlain

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Paris 1915

The wafting breeze of chiffon along with the heavy slid of pearls against each other announces, only to the most attuned ear her arrival at her box at the opera. Young men and not so very young men turn as one animal toward her. How they can hear her approach above the din of the clamoring throng that is the Paris opera crowd is beyond understanding or science. Or is it? Perhaps Mademoiselle Du Chandonnet has a secret weapon which makes her, of all the courtesans of Paris the most desirable of all. She was the fist to bob her hair, but that is not the reason. She wears the latest shockingly short skirts with silk stocking rolled to just above the knee.  These revolutionaries in the new book of fashion have stormed the couturiers and come into vogue so suddenly since the end of the Great War. Blame it on that Chanel woman some say. But this too is not her claim to temptation to half the men of the city. Is it her cynical air of disdain for the men who adore her? Could it be the allure of danger one catches in her casual sidelong glance from a panting victim to a tray of glittering Cartier iced diamonds?  That look which with a half smile promises nothing but financial ruin and a broken heart? Perhaps so, perhaps no.

 M. DU CHANDONNET

    What each of the men so eager to pay the most exorbitant fees for her favors does know is the smell of this courtesan. Cet amour fou d’une prostituée est dans l’odeur de son. This crazy love for a whore is in the smell of her. And what perfume she decides to wear behind a diamond and sapphire encrusted ear will be instantly transfigured into the rage of Paris by dawn simply because Mademoiselle Du Chandonnet decided that night to wear it. All her suitors will be wearing it tomorrow and in the weeks to come their wives and fiancées will soon be shopping for it at 68 Champs Élysées.  She is wearing Mitsouko.

The men in the orchestra are facing her as the lights go down and the orchestra begins the first strains of The Planets. Only the low glow of the refracted light of the rising chandelier illuminates her face in a diamond prism glitter. She is bored beyond endurance and as the men turn toward the savage new music she rises and leaves for the more jazzy sounds of the left bank. Rive gauche is the only part of Paris where she can forget what she has lost since the 28th of July, 1914, the only place in Paris where she really ever smiles.

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The mysterious and utterly enchantingly seduction one finds in such a woman or a man for that matter one finds in Mitsouko. This wonderful perfume from Guerlain is a masterpiece born out of the end of a horrible war and at the dawn of the jazz age. It is a perfume of possibilities and lively excitement couched in a loss and sadness that is glossed over with verve and champagne sparklers.

 

The brilliant Mitsouko inspired by the Japan craze of the era and born to celebrate the end of war opens with a bright shimmering rush of citrus, jasmine, bergamot, and rose.  This fizzes in a natural way and bubbles over into the heart notes of a kind of honeyed Lilac, mouth watering summer peach, and aphrodisial honeyed ylang ylang all in silky summery yellows. This is punctuated by a hearty brilliant May rose. At this point it is all about fun and a bright and shiny future of joy and bliss. But in the dry down comes the drama and real majesty of this perfume. A mix of warm exotic spices and a snap of cinnamon sticks stir the lush almost animalic amber into a blending of exotic eastern flavors the peach lingers and ripens here. This is the melancholy romantic part of the fragrance and my favorite part of the experience. This is all layered over a base of inky dry oak moss that extends the magical elixir on for hours of enjoyment.

Mitsouko is well suited to men and women because of its spicy tones. A Chypre with fruit overtones that never over whelm the dry champagne like sensation one gets from first spay onward  The Eau de Parfume has a long lush life on the skin lasting for eight to ten hours. Be frugal when applying so as not to overwhelm all your suitors with your fabulous silage. Rather tease with a light ease and a whisper of delights and dangers ahead. And remember just as it is with a great courtesan, there is a lot to learn about life and love and men and women from a wise and worldly old classic like Mitsouko.

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FIVE PLATINUM STARS *****

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