WHAT’S UP TIGERLILY? ~ Tigerlily Perfumes San Francisco Pop-Up Launch

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Last night in the Mission district of San Francisco a very rare and beautiful flower opened its petals for the very first time.

At 5:30 I met up with perfume buddies Hilary Randal and Mario Gomez at Barney’s NY to head out to the very trendy and à la mode Mission District for the launch of Tigerlily Perfumery. As we battled our way through the pre-Black Friday crowds to the BART station I learned that Tigerlily Perfumer’s launch was for a pop-up at the Love & Luxe Boutique prior to its opening in a permanent location on 22nd street this coming February.

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Tonia and Betsy and the chandelier I met up with (photo stolen from Tigerlily Facebook)

The owner of Tigerlily Antonia Kohl has gathered together some really interesting perfume houses for her new exhilarating venture including Yosh, Ineke, MikMoi, Bois 1920, Amouage, I Hate Perfume, Bruno Fazzolari and Il Profumi di Firenez. And the list like the beat goes on.

We arrived just after 6 to the strikingly chic boutique and were greeted at the door by Bill O’Such and Ineke Rhuland of Ineke Perfumes. It was a real treat to see them again and to connect over Ineke’s new perfume collection, Floral Curiosities. Hilary, Mario and I were presented with cocktails based on the new collection.

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The Floral Curiosities Amazing Sample Set

The drinks were delightful imaginative, and created to reflect a taste sensation to go along with each perfume. I was the first to try the Angels Trumpet Royale. This delicious cocktail of prosecco and melon liqueur was created by Bill and his friend Gretchen Van Horne and presented to me by the very charming Ms. Van Horne herself. It was a deceptively light and yummy libation. The perfumed inspired cocktails were a big hit of the evening.

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Ineke and I caught up a bit discussing her new launch and her amazing garden where she often finds inspiration for her creations. She asked me if I had a garden so I told her of my tiny fire escape overflowing with geraniums, roses and Parma violets. Ineke is a charming woman brimming over with a great love of her work. I had so much fun with her.

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“We will have rings and things and fine array” W. Shakespeare

The owner of Love & Luxe Betsy Barron introduced herself and surprised me with a lovely goodie bag filled with samples. Now that was an unexpected and delightful surprise. Thanks Betsy! I love your boutique. The jewelry at Love & Luxe is exceptional and stunning. I was fascinated as Betsy showed Hilary some incredible pieces created by an artist from Niger in Northern Africa. If you are interested in some very unique pieces by all means when in San Francisco make Love & Luxe a must on your shopping next trip.

At this point I had maneuvered myself over to the Tigerlily pop-up and met Antonia Kohl and her husband. What a charming and engaging couple. Tonia took Hilary and I through a mini sniff-a-thon of some of the perfumes on display. I must say I was very impressed with the very wide and exciting selection. I was also very happy to see that Bruno Fazzolairi’s amazing perfumes were in the lineup. His romantic and lushly gorgeous Au Delà was on hand and I had to take a sniff to remind myself of just how stunning this perfume is. I was also very happy to see MikMoi’s perfumes in attendance and available to the San Francisco audience of perfume lovers.

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Tama and Corey (photo stolen from B.B. Baird)

Being very tall I ended up at this point doing battle with a low hanging chandelier before moving on to sample Bois 1920, Ajne. As DJ Bill Zindell spun some great party music I was joined by Tama Blough (of Ca Fleure Bon), Corry Nguyen, Elly Wang and Brooke Baird from SF Sniff. Our little group took over the pop-up for a time to explore I Hate Perfume, Danielle Sargent’s fabulous Cognoscenti perfumes, and D.S. & Durga. I was astonished, it is a small pop up crammed to the rafters with incredible product. (I can’t wait until February when Tigerlily opens its store!)

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(photo stolen from Corey Nguyen)

By now the boutique was packed with a hopping crowd and the event began to take on a very Holly Golightly party atmosphere. By now Hilary was having her aura read by the amazing Yosh Han who was so busy that I never got to say hello. Sorry Yosh! Hemmed in between the pop-up and the SF Sniff crowd I spied Mik and Jasper across the room. So like Paul Varjak in Breakfast at Tiffany’s I bounced my way to the beat of the music though the crowd to say hello and congratulate Mik on having his MikMoi perfumes in a brick and mortar venue.

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Mik and his fabulous MikMoi lineup. (Photo stolen from Tigerlily)

I finally made it outside for some fresh air and to hook up with Hilary Randall and Brooke Baird for a lovely chat. What did we talk about? Perfume of course!  We enthused over the fact that some really exciting things are happening in perfume community of San Francisco. Not only do we have world class shopping opportunities in Union Square, but with the opening of ZGO in the Castro and now Tigerlily in the Mission the olfactory selection is expanding to new levels. This retail growth in The City is giving not only the established niche houses a platform but of equal if not more importantly, our very talented local perfume houses a much needed exposure to a wider public. By all means if you love great jewelry, check out Love & Luxe, if you love great perfumes get over to Tigerlily and ask Tonia “What’s Up Tigerlily?”

As our evening wound down Mario, Hilary and I bid our farewells to our hosts and headed off down Valencia Street for a late supper and a bit of chat. What did we talk about over a great Cuban feast? I’ll give you three guesses.

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(photo stolen from Tigerlily)

Love & Luxe

(Tigerlily pop-up)

1169 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA94110

Hours: 12 – 6 Wed, Thurs
11 – 7 Fri, Sat
12 – 5 Sun

415 648 7781
info@loveandluxesf.com

Tigerlily Email: info@tigerlilysf.com

THE QUEEN OF THE BARBARY COAST ~ Gilded Lily by Ineke

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“Hi ya Lil!” The news boys along Market Street would shout out to her as she gloriously and most spectacularly passed by each day.

“Looking like a queen Miss Lily!”  Little Bobby Thomson would say every day as he gave her a newspaper “On The House!”  He thought she was “swell”.

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(The Newsboys!)

Always holding her signature Goldband Lily bouquet, Lily de Marché would smile, laugh and blow kisses to the boys knowing that in just a few short years they would join there fathers and older brothers as her audience at the Hippodrome on Pacific Street. She was the toast of the town, the belle of the ball and the queen of the Barbary Coast. The only woman the Great Caruso wanted to hear sing when he came to town. She was her own woman.  She owed no man anything more and nothing less than a beautiful song presented along with her famous cool smile from the footlights between 9 and 11 every night but Monday.

In the City By The Bay Lily was the most famous beauty of her day. She rode every afternoon down Market Street in a black carriage burnished with gold leaf drawn by four black Arabian stallions. Each prancing horse sported a gold hat of plumed red ostrich feathers that danced in the afternoon wind that came in like clockwork at 3 P.M. off the Pacific Ocean. The horses and their ruby crowns were the delight of every newsboy along the Market and Lily was a fascination to every man who caught a glimpse of her.

Each day she wore a new Paris dress with a matching parasol and hat; these along with her more spectacular evening gowns were imported by ship and then transcontinental train at great expense by her charmed patrons from Nob Hill. Once a dress was seen in public the garment was packed in tissue paper, returned to its Parisian box and delivered by her Chinese maids to the prostitutes on the Barbary Coast. Nearly singlehandedly Lily was responsible for maintaining the tradition of San Francisco’s ladies of the night as being the influential fashion plates of the West. The society ladies of the city looked to the bad girls of town for the latest trends in fashion and followed them slavishly. If it were not for her voice and exceptional beauty Lily knew she would have, most likely been working a crib at Madame Sally’s on Gold Street. Lily liked to help the girls when she could and thank her lucky stars that she had a voice.

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(Ladies of easy virtue in Lily’s hand me downs on an outing in Golden Gate Park)

This charmed rather superficial life would have gone on forever if it hadn’t been for one little thing.

Lily awoke at 5:12 on that Wednesday morning of April 18th to the alarm of the Saint Ignatius church bell ringing madly.  Just as she wondered why the 6000 pound bell was banging away at such an early hour it suddenly  stopped ringing followed by a huge crash.  At that moment she was thrown from her bed as the wall of her bedroom peeled away from the house leaving the room exposed to Hayes Street. Only then did she realize that an earthquake was ringing every church bell in the city. By the time the fires started she had the presence of mind to gather up her jewels and call for her carriage.

On her way to the safety of Golden Gate Park she made her driver stop to picked up a newsboy she recognized from Market Street. He was standing in the middle of Oak Street in his nightgown with a stunned look on his face. She pulled him into the carriage and away from the pile of rubble that was once his home and now the tomb of his parents. Bobby Thompson  never once shed a tear but let her hold him in her arms for the rest of the ride. Over the following days in the makeshift refugee camps in the park Lily found more children who were orphaned and brought them to her tent to take care of them.

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(No photos survive of Miss de Marché, so Lily Langtry is filling in for her.)

Lily never performed again at the Hippodrome after the fire and earthquake of 1906. She was much too busy with her new life as the founder of the De Marché Orphanage (and home for wayward girls) in the Hayes Valley. That is not to say she never sang again. Indeed every evening after supper she sang for the children that she loved more than she ever had for fancy Arabian stallions or Paris gowns.

A TRIP DOWN MARKET STREET 1906

(Can you spot Lily in her carriage?)

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Gilded Lily by Ineke I find to be incredibly lovely. It opens my mind to another era, a time when life was at a slower pace or so it seems in hindsight. An age when women who could afford it only wore perfume from France, dressing gowns and silk pumps in the morning while they powdered themselves under gaslights before ornate mirrors at their dressing tables. It is a gilded age perfume to perfection. It has a touch of Paris in it and speaks of glamour, seduction on a refined and delicate level.

The perfume opens with a fruity blend of tangy pineapple, sharp sweet rhubarb, a zing of grapefruit. These bright notes sparkle like champagne on the skin. This bubbly blend is smoothed and soothed by a touch of aromatic elemi. The pine elements of this note tie the opening together most elegantly and prepare the nose for what is yet to come.

There follows the beauty and glory of the perfume as it blooms within moments of these opening notes.  The gorgeous Goldband Lily makes its entrance and sings its aria of pure lily loveliness in the most captivating lilting manner. This sublimely fragrant lily is lush and full-bodied and gives the perfume a deceptively delicate aura. It is the backbone of the fragrance and has the strength and staying power of a star note that has the singular job of carrying the perfume forward to the dry down.

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Ineke in her garden smelling the Goldband Lily

(photo stolen from Fragantica)

The dry down is classic in blending the notes of patchouli, oak moss and labdanum. To me this is what gives the perfume a classy, classic French feeling. Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour loved labdanum so much as to practically bath in it. This royal note along with a rich Patchouli and the beautiful oak moss carry the fading notes of the lily to a beautiful conclusion.  The life of the perfume is moderate lasting on my skin about six hours. It is close to the skin after the opening with occasional glorious bursts of scent like a small fireworks display. It is truly the beauty of its day.

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GILDED LILY by Ineke 5 gold stars *****

A LETTER FROM VERSAILLES ~ Fleur de Louis by Arquiste

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Réception du Grand Condé à Versailles (1878) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

 

My Dear Louise,

I hope this letter finds you well in Venice. Much has happened here at court since you left for Italy and the less demanding attentions of the Doge over those of our King.

The Queen is dead; of this I am sure you are by now quite aware. Sweet and lovely Queen Marie Theresa passed most painfully into Gods care on July 30, 1683. My dear friend the Queen expired in my very arms and I am bereft.  Upon her death his Majesty said. “This is the first trouble which she has given me.”  I was told he had the cologne he wore the day of his meeting her, L’Eau d’Ange sprinkled on his mourning dress and wig and placed into all the Oiselets de Chypre infusers to perfume the chateau.

Subsequently Versailles is in an uproar! Dressmakers, wigmakers, perfumers, cobblers are arriving in droves and the corridors are crawling with them as they rush like mad bees from apartment to apartment of all the quite hysterical ladies of the court. The hunt is on and I do not mean for foxes or deer in the Versailles Forest. No matter how young or for that matter, decrepit some ladies may be they are all casting there nets to catch the kings eye. It is a comedy worthy of that charming Monsieur Moliere. (The King has ordered a revival performance of “Les Fourberies de Scapin” to ease his mourning, or so I am told)

In any case my dear is it a madhouse here in the palace. While the King is sniffing orange blossoms from the trees he brought from Spain in the Orangery for the Queen’s pleasure the lines are being drawn in the sand for a war of silk fans and lace garters. His Majesty’s current mistress, Madame de Montespan is on her way down, down, down. The king is so obviously tired of her. I can hear the convent bells tolling her name or at the very least a rustic forgotten chateau far from court is very much in her cards.

Madame du Ville, is pushing her overdressed idiot thirteen year old daughter before her everywhere like a bread cart in Paris. She might as well be shouting “Fresh young virgin (I doubt it) for the taking!” The Madames Helene Dampierre and Josephine Joussineau de Troudonnet are in open but silent battle over a certain jeweler from Pairs who has for sale the most stunning earbobs in emeralds and diamonds. They both want those jewels to lure his majesty to there beds. As if earrings could catch a king over charm and style and a perfectly powdered bosom.

As for me I am standing back and watching the entertainment from a safe distance. I did not come to court to make a fool of myself. No, on the contrary I came to court to make a name for myself and to better my lot in life. In other words I shall find small ways to comfort his majesty’s grief, to be of assistance in any way I can. In short I shall dab a bit of “Pommade de Florence” in a few well chosen strategic places, bide my time and in so doing become indispensable to the King.

Other than that, not much is going on at Versailles.

I hope all is well with you? Don’t lose your head to some rich Venetian and keep your sights on the Doge. We must make our way in this world the best we can with the talents that god gave us as women.

Yours ever and always,

Madame de Maintenon signature 3

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Photograph of young Louis XIV – The Sun King  by Alexia Sinclair

Fleur de Louis by Arquiste is inspired by the moment when King Louis XIV first laid eyes upon his young Spanish bride Marie Theresa of Spain. They met at the Isle of Pheasants near the city of Irun on the border of France and Spain in 1660. The meeting was not only to present the young princess to the King but to ensure peace between France and Spain. As it is today it was not considered good luck in the 17th Century to see the bride before the wedding but Louis being bold and of an entitled nature presented himself to King Philip IV and his daughter. To avert the awkward moment the Spanish King pretended not to see Louis and his daughter being a proper catholic princess blushed and lowered her eyes. But not before she got an spectacular eyeful of her future.

This perfume created by Rodrigo Flores-Roux for Carlos Huber’s Arquiste line captures the splendor and elegance of the age of the Sun King. It opens with a gorgeous African Orange blossom that Louis who was known as the sweetest smelling monarch in Europe loved. This orange note also brings in a touch of Spain and the Infanta Marie Theresa. Rose, jasmine signify the favorite perfume of the King, L’Eau d’Ange. Under this is a warm iris note supported by an earthy deep royally rich Orris which gives a nod to the ladies of the French court who wore Pomade de Florence which the king loved.  In the base is a sturdy cedar note that blends with a fresh bright pine note. These wood notes add a strong masculine support the waning notes in the dry down. I find that even though it is marketed to women Fleur de Louis is very much a uni-sex fragrance fit for a King and his consort (and however many mistresses he may have).

It is delicate, refined and quite beautiful and falls in feeling somewhere between a classic eau de cologne and a fine perfume. One might expect that description to mean it smells old fashioned. Not at all in fact, I find this perfume to be youthful, bright and full of colorful nuances.  Both the sillage and  longevity are of a moderate nature. It projects at about arms length which I find perfect and lasts on my skin around six hours.

This sophisticated and beautiful perfume is indeed a royal treasure to be enjoyed by all who wish to share the moment of promise that once enfolded a king and queen at the dawn of the Sun King’s reign.

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FLEUR de LOUIS BY ARQUISTE FIVE GOLD STARS *****

WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS ~ Book Review “The Hotel on the Place Vendome”

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THIS BOOK WILL BE RELEASED IN MARCH 2014. 

(The only connection this has with perfume are in the Coco Chanel stories. You see, the book was so good I had to share it with you. This is a MUST read book for sure.)

An epic human drama that sweeps across the pages of history with might, misfortune and triumph, this is the story of “The Hotel on Place Vendome”.  The author Tilar J. Mazzio who wrote the endlessly fascinating, “The Secret of Chanel No.5” has created in this book about The Ritz Hotel in Paris a real page turner of a read. Sharply detailed, witty, brave, funny and tragic, it is a brilliant accomplishment.

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Everyone goes to the Ritz..

Like in the great World War II film, “Casablanca” everybody who is anybody in this true story goes to The Ritz. What happened in real life between the covers of this book surpasses anything of reel life that every came out of Hollywood in the golden age. Over the course of the story from the opening of the grand hotel to the end of the war a parade of unforgettable characters from Marcel Proust to Marlene Dietrich and everyone in between shows up to play out the most extraordinary drama.  The hotel staff, the permanent guests, the horizontal collaborators, the resistors, the conquerors, the liberators, the beautiful and the dammed, they are all here in these dazzling unforgettable pages.

The book opens with a cast of characters much like an old classic film from the thirties. Each is presented in a small capsule of words. Just enough is revealed to make the reader hungry for the story to begin. And begin it does with a cinematic sweep.

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“That was the day the Germans marched into Paris… I remember every detail, the Germans wore grey, you wore blue.”

With the arrival of the German Army and under Hitler’s order that “Paris remain happy and gay or else” the hotel stays open. The fear was that if they did not keep it going during the occupation it might be lost forever to its owners, the Ritz family. And in keeping it running over the course of the next five horrific years the hotel becomes a hub of French resistance, glittering parties, espionage, and horrific moments.

When Claire Booth Luce unbelieving that Paris was about to fall to the Nazis asked the hotel manager Claude Auzzelo: “How do you know the Germans are coming,” She said,

“Because Madame, they have reservations.”

The last night of freedom for the city is a stunning moment among many great moments in the book. Hemmingway, Arletty, Chanel, Picasso, operation Valkyrie, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Hermann Göring and The Desert Rat, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel leap to vivid life on the page in one incredible story layered one upon the other.

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Chanel at the Ritz. Nazi spy or a heroine of the Resistance? 

I was amazed at the rich detail I found in this book. Tilar Mazzio in her research and interviews has unearthed a treasure of information about the hotel and its famed guests and fascinating employees. Research is not enough to make a great book. There has to be a great writer to tie the hundreds of story threads together and present them in a captivating way. Mazzio does this with great style, drama and timing. I just could not put the book down. Mazzio writes with such visual splendor and sweep that throughout my reading of it I kept thinking get this book to HBO. This is a mini-series crying out to be made.

“The Hotel on the Place Vendome” captures a time in history when the fate of Europe and the world itself hung in the balance between freedom and fascism. The seeds of modern Europe were planted in the Hotel Ritz and even though we know the outcome of World War II in fact, I was lost in the story and on the edge of my seat the entire time.

There comes the moment in the book when Major General Dietrich von Choltitz is sent the message from Hitler, “Is Paris Burning?”  I was chilled me to the bone at those words. What saved Paris? The answer is to be found in the Rue Cambon Bar at the Hotel Ritz and in this amazing and exciting book.

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“We’ll always have Paris.” 

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The hotel has its own scent. You can buy their perfume only in Pairs.

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Author of “The Hotel on the Place Vendome” and “The Secret of Chanel No.5” Tilar Mazzio

IGUANA! – Lanier in Mexico

Just a quick note, I am in San Pancho Mexico on vacation. Just one hour north of Puerto Vallarta. It is fabulous and vey small, like P.V. was forty years ago. When I return I will be revitalized for more reviews. Hasta la vista amigos!

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