A NEW KIND OF LOVE ~ Red Door Limited Edition by Elizabeth Arden

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They were so red! Vanessa watched as the Elizabeth Arden beauty technician applied the second coast of varnish to her nails and tried to figure out just what kind of red it was. Somewhere between Fire Engine Red and Candy Apple Red and so shocking on her nails that she wasn’t sure just yet how she felt about it. She never wore make up let alone nail polish. This was a whole new world.

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   “It looks beautiful Mademoiselle.” The technician somehow knew just when to say those words to cement Vanessa’s new positive opinion on nail polish. “It is called “A New Kind Of Love” Red”

“It suits you ma chère.” Vanessa turned to the very elegant and rich looking lady in the next chair who was having her nails done in the exact same shade. The woman had the same color of eyes as her grandmother, Samantha.

Samantha Sherman hugged her granddaughter one last time at the entrance to the security check at San Francisco International.

“When you get to Paris go to  number 7 Place Vendome and tell them that your Grandmother is paying for a full day spa and makeover. They will be expecting you. Then afterwards go to Fouquet’s on the ChampsÉlysées for lunch.”

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Vanessa’s Granny at Fouquet’s 1963

 

“But Granny I have never worn make-up. I wouldn’t know what to do.” 

“Nether did I when I was your age. It was all about my career at J. Bergner Inc. 5th Avenue ‘The working girl’s friend.’  

“You’re all about fashion and I am all about music and finding a way in this world to make life a little better for others.” 

“Absolutely darling and there is no reason why you can’t have a little fun on the way to your destiny and on my dime. I want you to have the same experience I had when I met your grandfather in Paris. If I hadn’t gone to Elizabeth Arden, you would not be here.”

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Getting “The Works” at Elizabeth Arden!

“Alright Granny for you I will do it.”

“And one more thing, I want you to go to the statue of St. Catherine at the corner of rue Cléry and the rue Poissonnière and leave some flowers.”

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Saint Catherine

“Why? We’re not even Catholic.”

“Just do it for Granny?”

When the visit to Elizabeth Arden’s came to a close Vanessa again met the elegant lady from the nail salon at the big red door that lead out to the street.

“Ma chère! With the new hair and makeup and in that charming white dress, you look like Sofia Vergara!”

Vanessa blushed. “Oh my goodness, no! How sweet but no…”

“But Yes! So let me guess; now you are off to Fouquet’s?”

“How did you know?”

The woman winked at her. “I am Felicienne Courbeau, an old friend of your grandmother’s and she asked me to keep an eye on you while you are in Paris.”

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A woman of a certain age, Felicienne Courbeau

Vanessa’s laughter bubbled up like a champagne cocktail. “Oh no, this is too funny!”

Felicienne offered her arm to Vanessa.  “Shall we go then ma chère? My car is waiting just outside.”

Vanessa took Felicienne’s arm. The doorman opened the great red door and they stepped out into the embracing warm fall sunlight of Paris.

“And we will stop at Durocher, a little flower ship I know on the way and buy some flowers for St. Catherine.”

“Yes, Red ones to match my new look!”

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VANESSA GONSALVES A NATURAL BEAUTIY WHO INSPIRED ME WITH HER PASSION FOR NEW ADVENTURES

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Red Door Limited Edition by Elizabeth Arden is not a perfume a young woman like Vanessa would most likely find appealing. It is a little to grown up for ladies under thirty with young noses still enamored of the sweet and yummy smells of the recently abandoned teen years. That is of course unless they have a nose for something more sophisticated than the hot house fruity florals or candied confections that are all the rage these days. And how does a young woman expand her horizons in a world drowning in Floriantals and exploding cotton candy machines? As in our story sometimes a young lady needs the counsel of an older woman of the world, someone with experience who can open that Red Door of possibilities to a wider world of Yes.

I have wanted to try this perfume and see what it is all about for some time. I have smelled the “original” and found it to be interesting and lovely, so when I came across a 30mil bottle of Red Door Limited for twenty dollars I thought why not?  I was very pleasantly surprised at what was in this little red bottle. This is a new take on the old classic, a tiny bit more modern without loosing the sophisticated allure of a really elegant perfume. It is a bouquet of red roses wrapped in rich creamy satin tied with a velvet ribbon.

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It opens with a shimmery and sparking bell notes of lily of the valley. The lily is followed by a dash of peppery freesia blended into a purple tinged green haze of violets. This is an elegant and inviting opening of promises made in midnight misty gardens.

The promise made is sealed with a warm deep kiss of Roses whose petals are brushed ever so lightly with honey. Never too sweet the honey rises like burnished gold from the base notes to titillate and make hungry where most it satisfies as it falls from the rose petals to the notes below.  African Orange flowers, Ylang-Ylang, and jasmine are the three sisters who benefit from the marriage of the rose and the honey.

As it dies down into its dry down it becomes something more intimate in feeling, there is the scent of expensive body powder and that rich warm yummy smell of pancake make-up. That wonderful scent must come from the meeting of creamy sandalwood, Oakmoss and the honey.

It is a real find for those in the market for something with more of a classy, classic feel to it. And unlike the more watery roses and lilies that fell into the jam jar it lasts a very long time. You will get millage on this one, eight to twelve hours at least. The sillage is impressive, like a great ocean liner moving languorously though the sea with a gently widening wake behind, people will notice you as you pass. And after all, great ocean liners and elegant ladies engender great admiration. Three cheers of Red Door Limited Edition and all who wear her.

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HOW GRANNY AND GRANDPA MET IN PARIS!

“A NEW KIND OF LOVE” 1963

PAUL NEWMAN AND JOANNE WOODWARD.

THE BOUQUET OF MADAME VIBERT ~ White by Undergreen Paris

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It was all white. Everything was white, the iced chestnut trees in the Tuileries, the clouded winter sky, the doves eating baguette crumbs from the old woman’s hand by the Place du Carousel. The snow over all of Paris was new clean white.

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He walked toward the Rue de Rivoli past the Louver he leaned into and against the blanching freeze that turned every thought east to a distant spring. His winter coat lined in white fox could not keep the cold out, the cold came from within. A longing for her that could never be satisfied, only staved off by the smell of white flowers.  He had to get to the flower shop and smell her flowers again. The tuberose and delicate Amyris that she always wore in a corsage in May, The Jasmine and Ylang Ylang in her perfume, the orange blossoms of their wedding day in Giverny, the bouquet he carried always in his heart.

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  He crossed under the arches of the Palais Royal and turned west along the Rue de Rivoli fresh snow the color coconut shavings fell like feathers from dying angels. The Angels of Paris he knew who had no souls or tears or compassion for the living of the city, but only watched and waited like the gargoyles of Notre Dame for nothing other than the white cold night.

He pushed on to Durocher nearly knocking over delivery boy unloading boxes of white mint for the chef at Le Dali. When he burst through the double doors of the flower shop his glasses fogged over white in the sudden hothouse induced tropics of the establishment. Blindly he thrust a fist of Euros to the shadow figure before him. Madame Durocher had the bouquet ready and into his hands at once. She knew so well now his daily routine and bid him adieu with a sigh. She watched from the door as a flurry of white snow enveloped him.

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   The taxi was waiting on the corner near the statue of Jeanne D’Arc just as it had yesterday and as it would be tomorrow. The driver knew how important this fare was and never missed the pickup. The man with the white bouquet said nothing as they sped south east across the city toward the Place de la Bastille. Half way around the monument in the Place the taxi turned on to Rue de la Rouquette. They were almost there.

Monsieur Vibert stood nose buried in the spring flower bouquet before her tomb marked with the little soulless angel of white marble. He wanted to smell only the bouquet and not the dying iris mixing with the styrax from the next crypt.  Everything was as white as the dress she was buried in. His tears, one by one fell to freeze on the petals of his bride’s wedding bouquet.

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“White” by Undergreen (Paris France) is such a beautiful melancholy perfume. One expects a tuberose, jasmine perfume infused with aldehydes to be overwhelming. But here I have found a delicate romantic broken heart of a perfume that is purely lovely.  The ingredients are listed by Undergreen as 100% natural and they certainly smell fresh. Not laundry fresh but fresh cut from the top coconut note to the iris used to make the orris butter in the base of the perfume

The first aldehydic blast opens the perfume with white mint and coconut which is stunning and modern. It embodies the feeling of a bright euphoric white light that draws you forward into the heart of the perfume. As it calms in the first moments of the shift to the middle notes the aldehydes stay to open the heart notes and give them a classic elegant support.  It is here in the heart where the jasmine, ylang ylang and the orange blossoms create an envelope of gorgeous white insolent beauty, indolic accords that waft in and out with the ever rising note of the tuberose that comes up from the base of the perfume. In the dry down the aldehydes fade into a supporting roll for the balsamic styrax that blends with an earthy orris butter that is simply put, creamy and lush. There is a touch of white flower Amyris wood that with the orris butter and the rest of the base notes work well to keep this tuberose open to any sex that prefers to wear it. It is a male friendly tuberose in fact. “White” is marketed as uni-sex but lets face it, the notes in this perfume don’t care who wears them, just that you enjoy them.

The perfume has a moderate sillage and lasts on my skin about six hours.

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Many find tuberose to be just too heady a floral to wear but here in “White” I find it is a tamed tuberose and quite charming. “White” would be a good place to begin to explore the white indolics and make friends with them before moving on to the big guns.

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WHITE BY UNDERGREEN 5 GOLD STARS *****

On a final note I must mention that I got my sample of “White” from Olfactif. A wonderful online service where for a nominal fee you are sent each month three beautifully packaged and generous samples of new niche perfumes. In my first box there was “”Perfect Coconut Milk” by Sarah Horowitz Perfumes, “Bombay Bling” by Neela Vermeire (see my review) and “White”. I am so thrilled to have found this wonderful source for perfume sampling.

Olfactif Link: http://www.olfactif.com/

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THE MANHATTAN MAD HATTER ~ “Summer Rain” perfume 1939

DOLLY DUPUYSTER

THE MANHATTAN MAD HATTER

By Dolly Dupuyster

Summer is here darlings and the heat has hit our island like a Sirocco sandstorm blowing over a camel’s back on the Sahara. Where to go to get relief? Well there is always cocktails at “21” or a matinee in the air-conditioned cool deco comfort of Radio City Music hall or if you really want to, a weekend escape to Newport.

Tempo of the City 21, Fifth Avenue and 42thStreet, New York, 1938

HIGH SUMMER ON 5TH AVE.

  But for me, the high priestess of pulp reportage on the high and low of Manhattan High Society there is really only one place to go on a hot afternoon in New York. (And after all I can’t leave our island, I might miss something delicious.)  So off I go to that bastion of high fashion and fabulous frivolity, Black’s Fifth Avenue.

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BLACK’S 5TH AVE.

   I get all my duds at Black’s as well as my scoops and scopes on the darlings of the Upper East Side. The very upper Upper if you know what I mean and I know you do!  Well my dear readers this very morning I walked into Black’s, and deposited my angel Chow, Mr. Choo Choo Chow Chow with the doggie check (like the coat check at El Morocco, but for dogs) and wound my way over to my favorite counter girl in all of Black’s, Miss Crystal Allen in the perfume department. This honey is no wet firecracker and has a reputation for being one of the top sellers to the male clientele of the establishment. Men in the perfume department you say? Well, And no wonder! She is a stunner. And the boys have to buy there wives and Chorines perfume from time to time so off they go to see darling Crystal.

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CRYSTAL ALLEN

   Olga at Black’s who is a rather chatty manicurist told me just last week that Crystal may be seeing the husband of one of our most beloved socialites on the sly. She referred to Crystal as a “Terrible man trap” and said. “She has the kind of eyes that go up and down a man like a search light.”   Well a certain Mrs. S.H. should pay a visit to Olga if she knows what’s good for a marriage.

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OLGA GIVES SYLVIA FOWLER AN EAR FULL

   But back to the perfume counter. The charming Crystal and I chatted a bit before I told her I was on the look out for something new in perfume. I mean I have been wearing last season’s “Oomph!” so much of late that even Mr. Choo Choo Chow Chow is turning his nose up at me in shear boredom not to mention the doorman at the Stork Club. He no longer tips his hat to me but gives me the stink eye and the high hat in one fell swoop. Something had to be done!   Crystal said she had just the thing, brand new and just in from Pairs, “Summer Rain”. My dears to begin with the bottle is divine! A little crystal naked lady sporting an umbrella is the stopper! Magnificent madness must have possessed the bottle makers when they came up with this one!  Crystal pumped the air around me full of the fabulous fragrance and it was Midtown madness magic time for your Dolly! I have never smelled anything so heady, lovely, exotic, spicy, and sweet and sour! Like Dim Sum in Chinatown in the middle of a fragrant garden in Versailles while riding on the back side of a spice caravan from India. Crystal told me that it is an Aromatic Oriental Woody Chypre Floral Fougere eau de Cologne. She said it has EVERYTHING in it. And you know I believe her. It just goes on forever opening bright and citrusy aldahyde cocktail with mid-notes of every flower in creation and then drying down a dark amber oak mossy vetiver musky lushness. I was sold on the spot and bought ten bottles!  They say the Depression will be over soon anyway and did my share to boost the economy. Well the economy of France anyway. So darlings I have found my new signature scent. Forget Chanel No.5, Joy, and Tabu. This is the one for me.

And darlings on the way home in the limousine Mr. Choo Choo Chow Chow agreed that Summer Rain is the perfume for the summer of 1939.

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A CERTAIN MANHATTAN SOCIALITE WITH HER BOTTLE OF “SUMMER RAIN”.

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Perfume in the movies is always a fun moment for those of us who are fumeheads. Be it in the wonderful “Perfume, The Story of A Murder” or Addie Loggins dousing herself with Evening In Paris in “Paper Moon”.  Perfume plays a key roll in so many “reel” lives just as it does in our real lives.

One of my favorite movies where perfume makes a very important appearance is “The Women” from M.G.M. released in 1939. The film boasts all the top female stars of that studio from Joan Crawford to Norma Shearer right down to Hedda Hopper as gossip maven Dolly Dupuyster. (Exactly the same profession ex-silent film actress Hedda had at this point in real life as a Hollywood tongue wagger for the Los Angeles Times.)

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When it came time to cast the bottle for the pivotal roll of “Summer Rain” art director Cedric Gibbons found the perfect “actress” in Czechoslovakia. The bottle was created by the son-in-law of glass designer Heinrich Hoffmann, Curt Schlevogt who along with his father-in-law created beautiful Art Deco bottles for perfume houses throughout Europe. This particular bottle was from the “Ingrid” collection of bottles. Gibbons added a plastic umbrella a label and some festive ribbon work to the nude figure on the stopper and “Summer Rain” was born an M.G.M. star.

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A SURVIVING BOTTLE WITHOUT THE UMBRELLA

At the time of the film’s release M.G.M. gave as gifts bottles of the perfume. No one today knows what the perfume smelled like but I would like to think that Dolly Dupuyster’s description is pretty accurate. There were two known forms of this giveaway, one clear crystal square and the other with a clear stopper and dark obelisk shape bottle.

This bottle design created in 1937 was one of the last Schlevogt bottles to come out of Czechoslovakia from before the out break of World War II. With the Russian Occupation of Czechoslovakia the factory was confiscated.  Curt Schlevogt ended up in Paris on the rue de Paradis dealing in quality glass by other designers.

 

“SUMMER RAIN” 5 GOLD STARS ~ “THE WOMEN” 1939, FIVE GOLD STARS

NIGHT LILY ~ Lys Mediterranee Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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Noël Cherubin was shy shopper, in fact he only felt comfortable going out at night to make his purchases, and to dine. To those who noticed the pale handsome young man as he passed, he seemed to float along the avenues of the Left Bank the bright cheery widows reflecting off of his dark glowing eyes.  On this particularly beautiful July evening he was on the hunt for a new perfume and had heard from some very old friends that there were now wonderful shops on this side of the river that sold the most interesting fragrances. What did they call them? Niche perfumes? He smiled at this new word for to him niche meant something quite different. Like a hiding place in a cathedral in the daytime.  He felt a small yet very sharp pang of hunger. He decided to wait to eat until after he had found his new signature scent. A late night supper was always more scrumptious than one just taken after sunset.  His thoughts returned to the task as hand, the perfume hunt. It seemed like he had been wearing Jicky for decades. Noël had a very poor sense of time these nights so in the end it might as well have been a hundred years or so since he last bought a new perfume.

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He turned off Boulevard Raspail onto the charmingly austere Rue Grenelle. As he passed number 37 with an awning of the most perfect blood red he sensed something and turned back to look in the window. There was a low warm glow from inside the shop. Noël raised one hand to touch the black lacquered window frame. He stood a good five minutes staring in and feeling the sensation that had first grasped him as he passed.   She was glowing golden, the woman behind the counter. She pulsed with youth and life. She looked like a goddess to Noël, like an immortal being of pure light. He watched in fascination as she helped a young man and woman complete their purchase.

As the couple turned to leave Noël stepped back into the street and looked up at the awning which now seems to glow an oozy red of its own accord under a sad lamp in the dark street.  He saw the words, “Editions De Parfums Fredric Malle”. How perfect, just what he was on the hunt for. The door to the shop swung open and the young couple left leaving it invitingly ajar behind them. Every single floral, animalic, vegetable, and spice scent held captive in the shop shot out that door and washed over Noël with memories of life, love and desire.  In the clamoring center was one smell that nearly sent him into a swoon. The fleshy, earthy almost rotting lovely smell of the lily, the smell of death and rebirth in one, the scent of a woman or a man’s inner thigh. It was irresistible.  He opened the door and waited on the threshold until the beauty behind the counter looked up.

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“Oh!” she was startled by his sudden appearance. “I didn’t hear you.”

He smiled showing his perfect white teeth. “Bonjour Mademoiselle May I come in?”

“Please do….” She said half mesmerized by how handsome he suddenly was.

“May I show you something? Is there a particular…..?”  He crossed the room to her so quickly it left her breathless.

“Lily.” He said leaning ever so slightly toward her over the counter. “I love a good lily perfume.”

She smiled and felt she could not take her eyes from his. “I have just the thing. Lys Mediterranee. It has a major lily note that is quite lovely and…..”  His cool fingers hovered over her hand as she reached for the bottle of perfume. “Would you like to try a sample?”  His hand infolded hers and the bottle of Lys Mediterranee at the same time. Slowly he drew her close to him.

“Mademoiselle, I would like to sample everything in your shop. And, I mean everything.”

“Yes… of course Monsieur it would be my pleasure.”

The shop seemed suddenly filled with the smell of lilies, lilies as white as his sharp beautiful smile.

“And maybe after, if you are free, you might join me for a little bite of supper?”

Noel the Vampire

 NOEL CHERUBIN KNOW AROUND PARIS AS “THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL”

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FREDERIC MALLE

Lys Mediterranee is a seductive, mesmerizing, bite of the night full of romance and a hint of danger. This perfume by Editions de Parfums Fredric Malle was created in the year 2000 by the nose Edoaurd Flechier who also created such perfumes as C’est La Vie by Christian Lacroix and Poison for Dior.  Here with Fredric Malle as in all cases with this perfume house the nose gets his or her name in lights along with the perfume. Usually the Parfumeur is never mentioned.  It is the house or the celebrity who gets the name in up front and center. So Bravo to Fredric Malle for giving the Nose its due.

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EDOAURD FLECHIER

The perfume is a sensual and subtle uni-sex fragrance that really is perfect on both men and women. There is a fleshy sexiness in the mix that I find most enticing. It opens with a salty wave of an oceanic note that is spiced up with a strong dose of ginger. This opening is as bright as a spring sunrise in Saint Tropez. It sparkles and jumps off the skin for a moment and then it sinks down very fast into the wet earthy heart of the perfume. Like a vampire at dawn, it goes to ground.

Here in the heart notes is the star, the lily full of fleshy ripe indolic sensuality. The note is ripe and rich bordering on the verge of a delicious sumptuous rot. Not to worry, it never tips into compost but stays airborne above the skin curvy and lush and ready for almost anything. It smells a little dirty too and naughty as well. This might be aided by the pungent dirtiness of the Angelica but never tips into nasty boy or slutty girl territory due to the buoyant beauty that comes from the water lily note and a sweet spray of orange blossom.

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The lily note hangs in there throughout and into the dry down with finds its support from a curling and creamy vanilla that elongates the sultry aspect of the perfume. There is a musk note but it plays way in the back more as a longevity aid than anything else.

The projection on this perfume is not too strong. It is a romantic scent that demands closeness not a boisterous hey come up and see me sometime fragrance. More of a lets get cozy and intimate perfume. The longevity is very good at about eight to nine hours.

Lys Mediterranee is of the three S’s in my view, Sultry, Sensuous and Sexy. I find it to be full of life and utterly inviting. I must thank the charming and very beautiful Chase at Barney’s NY in San Francisco for leading me to this wonderful perfume and for sharing her expertise and time with me on the house of Editions de Parfums Fredric Malle.

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LYS MEDITERRANEE ~EDITIONS DE PARFUM FREDERIC MALLE 5 GOLD STARS *****

IO SOGNO DI ROMA ~ The Dreamer by Versace

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The Italian police at the airport customs carried automatic rifles! That was the first thing Charlie Finn, short for Finnegan, noticed.  His first trip Rome, his first to Europe in fact and at 49 Charlie was suddenly a kid again. Full of giddy excited anticipation. When the stern looking customs agent looked him up and down Charlie couldn’t contain his joy at being in Italy. He grinned and said. “Buon giorno!”  The customs agent smiled at the very moment the Italian sun cut through the morning clouds and filled the customs hall with angelic light. “Welcome to Italy Mr. Finnegan.” The agent said as he stamped Charlie’s passport.

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Fiumicino International Roma

   The flip flops multiplied in his stomach as the bus pulled away from the loading zone at Fiumicino International, He had jumped into the front seat on the “Bella Italia Tours” bus so he could see everything head on and agog at what zipped past him.  His new best friends (for the next two weeks) chattered to each other or scanned the guide book provided by the pretty tour guide as they sallied up the highway along the Tiber toward Rome. The city he had dreamed of since 1959 when “Ben-Hur” captured his imagination from the back row of the old Loews Theater and opened up the possibility of Rome to his dreams.

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EUR ~ ROMA

   As the bus crossed the Tiber river to the east side he saw the great modern edifices of EUR. Mussolini’s master plan for the new Rome he had hoped to build before the Allies put a stop to it all on April 25, 1945. All Charlie saw when he looked at it was a giant Anita Ekberg towering over the city tempting Dr. Antonio to drink more milk in “Boccaccio 70”.

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DRINK MORE MILK!

   Charlie couldn’t believe this wasn’t a dream.  The bus pushed into Rome and past the pyramid tomb of Cestius where the Via Ostiense turned into the Viale Aventino as it passed though the ancient gate of Porta San Palo. Then with heart stopping suddenness as the mad roman traffic engulfed the bus the immense field of the Circus Maximus unfolded on the left. Just above it where modern Romans jogged on the track chariots once raced, the majestic ruins of the imperial palaces climbed as they have for centuries up the Palatine to look out over the city in their arrested glorious decay. And there were Umbrella Pines everywhere!

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CIRCUS MAXIMUS AND THE PALATINE

   At the end of a tree lined Viale past the remains of the Aqua Claudia that once fed water to the Emperors stood the gleaming newly cleaned Arch of Constantine. His favorite Arch in all of Rome since Elizabeth Taylor had passed through it on that great black stone Sphinx in “Cleopatra”

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VIALE AVENTINO TO THE ARCH OF CONTANTINE

It loomed before him only to be outdone in majesty when the bus burst out of the trees at an alarming speed onto the great circle that encompassed two thirds of the most magnificent sight of all. The one thing that proved to Charlie he wasn’t dreaming, the Coliseum. The chattering on the bus suddenly stopped and every face on the left side of the buss was pressed against the glass. Everyone at the same time on the tour hit the massive fact that they were no longer in America but in the center of the Roman Empire.  But for Charlie it was a different realization. He was no longer dreaming. He understood to his very core that his heart was finally united to his soul and at long last he had come home.

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THE COLISEUM

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The Dreamer by Versace has for the longest time eluded me. The scent has always reminded me of something I could never quite put my finger on, Clouded and veiled it teased my memories and laughed at my stumbling block that kept me from finding the key which would open me up to The Dreamer.  In the past when I would spray it on my skin it smelled so familiar and I would smile and enjoy it but still not connect in that way that makes a fragrance special to me. That all changed today.

This morning I pulled my gorgeous bottle of The Dreamer out of the back of the line up in my fragrance cabinet and looked at it. It really is very beautiful with the embossed Versace Medusa with its clever gold and black cap that you don’t remove but simply press down on to spray the clear juice. Looking like an eau de cologne bottle from the toilet of a long forgotten nineteenth century Sicilian Prince. Who are you Dreamer? Why can’t I decide if I like you or not? What is your mystery?

I sprayed it on a tester strip, waved it under my nose and boom! It all came together. I, like Charlie Finn made my first trip to Rome in 1999, three years after The Dreamer was introduced. And smelling it on paper, not my skin I recognized that this was the smell of Rome in the last year of the 20th Century. Everyone that year must have been wearing Dreamer. It permeated the Via Veneto and the lobby of the Excelsior Hotel. It was in the museums and cafes and on the bus to Pompeii or the train to Florence. During my first week in Rome the smell of The Dreamer entered my memories and then somehow got buried.

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(photograph by Lane Tibbs)

I understand it now and I have fallen in love with this fragrance because it takes me back to Rome and like Charlie it feels like home.

The Dreamer opens with a dry lavender blast that finds warmth in mandarin orange notes and a dusting of Clary sage. It recalls the mix of smells one encounters in the Campo de’ Fiori in Rome around one in the afternoon when the morning odors of fruits mingle with the heated afternoon scent of herbs and flowers.

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CAMPO DE’ FIORI ROMA

In the heart of the fragrance you find an interesting mix of those Campo de’ Fiori flowers, and something extra in the rose and carnation, and germanium permeated by a smooth rich tobacco. It reminds me of those wonderful tobacconists shops in Rome where you go in to buy your bus tickets and you smell the rich aroma of boozy un-smoked pipe tobacco mixing with old woods and the perfume of the man behind the counter. This middle is really warm and cozy like a classic 1980’s man’s fragrance in the best possible way a man’s fragrance can be.

Up from the bottom notes comes the note that most connects me to Rome and that is the fir note which is so reminiscent of the beautiful umbrella pines in the city. Redolent with green resin and wonderfully bright and sharp this note dominates the fragrance from the late middle though the dry down. There is a touch of Tonka bean which is ever so light like the cream on the top of a morning cappuccino. Vetiver and Cedar round down the notes and it all seems like a lazy summers dream under the afternoon sky in Rome.

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Lanier in Saint Peter’s Basilica Rome

(photograph by Lane Tibbs)

The longevity of The Dreamer is as immense as the Roman Empire. After twelve hours on my skin is still quite decernable and projects extremely well at about six feet for the first three to four hours.  It is to be applied with a light finger or you might find you are overpowering as you pass the innocent bystander.

I am so happy I didn’t give this bottle away when I first purchased it. The beauty of the bottle kept it in my cabinet. The Dreamer by Versace proved to me that not all fragrances are love at first sniff but given time and the willingness to revisit them you might just find the lost key to your dreams.

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THE DREAMER by Versace 5 Gold Stars *****

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