TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR ~ Bulgari Exhibit at the deYoung

-0 Bulgari

Yesterday I went with three of my closest friends to the M.H. deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the exhibit, The Art Bulgari ~ La Dolce Vita and Beyond 1950 – 1990 .

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It was my birthday present to my friend Joe (a link below to his fabulous blog, The Way I See It.) The museum was amazing, the show was incredible. As the four of us entered the show we were greeted by three tremblant brooches.

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They are designed so that the stones tremble in there settings with movement. And the do!  They were like three little galaxies on the outer edge of a spectacular new universe that only hinted at the splendors that waited us. 

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 The jewelry was astronomically beautiful and within this universe of diamonds, rubies, Emeralds and more there floated such stars as Ingrid Bergman, Monica Viti, Claudia Cardinale, Sophia Loren and more. All photographed dripping in Bulgari. The show consisted of four rooms dimly lit with the art of Bulgari in windows along the walls and in small cases in the center of each room . Every decade from the 1950 to the 90’s unfolded in glinting glittering glamour as you passed from room to room. You were presented examples of how Bulgari introduced multi-color settings in the 50’s, The use of ancient coins in necklaces and bracelets in the 80’s and the huge very Roman dog collars of the 90’s. All of this was inspired by where the jewelry is made. ROME. The traditions are blended from ancient Rome, Renaissance times and the 19th century to create the unique and very modern look that is so identifiable as Bulgari.

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Ingrid Bergman

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Monica Viti

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Claudia Cardinale 

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Sophia Loren

But at the center of the this universe of glitterati was the mega star with a room devoted just to her.

Elizabeth Taylor 1964

“The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari: Richard Burton.  

We were speechless at the treasures that once hung from the ears, rested on the bosom and graced the writs and hands of Elizabeth Taylor.  There was window after window exquisitely lit to show off the magnificent gems. An interactive picture album on a table that when you turned the page the page became illuminated with photographs that moved from the book up a curved wall for all to see. Some were stills and some were motion pictures of the star accepting awards or arriving at an event always in Bulgari. Elizabeth was gifted in many ways and for many reasons some of the most incredible jewels in the world. Sometimes as Burton once said he would give her some little treasure from Bulgari, “simply because it is Tuesday.” Here is a video that can say more about this room than I can.

After the show the four of us went to the museum cafe and had the most wonderful lunch of lobster bisque, Salmon Salad, quiche and Italian red wine (what else would you drink at the Bulgari show?)  It was the perfect last Saturday of 2013.

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when you wish upon a star……..

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JOE’S BLOG, THE WAY I SEE IT : http://josephb54.wordpress.com/category/elizabeth-taylor/

THE BEYOND ~ Au Delà by Bruno Fazzolari Editions

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Glinting in the winter morning light, freshly varnished and perfectly manicured nails drummed on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. They were exactly the same shade of Vreeland red as the magazine with a laughing Kate Hudson on the cover. She was unaware of this little serendipity of color as she looked out over her vast living room to the snow dusted terrace that hung twenty eight floors above 5th avenue.

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New Years Eve morning. L’Ascension by Olivier Massiaen was playing on the radio.  She sighed, and flipped open Harper’s Bazaar. A beautiful girl with a perfume bottle, The page turned. “Kate Hudson gets festive in this season’s hottest styles. Welcome to Holiday Glamour……”  And indeed the actress looked very festive and hot and stylish and all the rest. Turned page. Chanel models in Chanel, Page on to Dior bags followed by Louis Vuitton.  A blond having too much fun being a blond in Michael Kors. The smile that made Julia Roberts a mega star smiled over her shoulder from the page for Lancôme. Still a pretty woman.  Austere Armani, proud Prada, Gucci Gucci Gucci. Any other day it would have been fun, like it always was.  Magazine meandering usually ended up in a trip down 5th to Bergdorf, then Barneys and always Bulgari for a bauble. She tossed the magazine aside and sank back into the silk over stuffed pillows of her now back in style Michael Taylor sofa.

Another Sigh. The sun shifted and a beam bounced off the ice on the terrace banister, glance a crystal on the chandelier and hit the facets of her pale violet diamond Deco inspired engagement ring. All twelve of the flawless carats caught fire. She lazily wiggled her ring finger and watched Tiffany & Co. dance within the stone. She pushed against the pillows, rose up from the sofa and tightened the sash on her Stefano Pilati silk robe.

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The deep pile of the Nepalese rug caressed her toes as she sauntered to the terrace doors to look out to the West over Manhattan. She had hours to get ready before dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Hours to think. The trees in the park encrusted from the ice storm the night before looked like a Swarovski forest from Doctor Zhivago. Beautiful and cold, it looked as if there were wolves down there howling at the silver plated sky. Only last month she had been warm in San Pancho under the November sun on the Nayarit coast of Mexico. She met Jane and Earl Miller and fell in love with them when she went to stay at their little hotel. Getting to know them as she lounged by the pool at Roberto’s Bungalows was when it began, slow and steady and building over Thanksgiving and into December. The realization that she wanted what they had. She couldn’t put her finger on just what made their marriage seem authentic and real. But she knew now that she would not find that kind of love staring at her across the well appointed table at the Waldorf on New Years Eve.

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Late in the afternoon as she applied the finishing touches to her make-up she felt terrible for what she was about to do.  She knew he would not understand, she understood that he thought he loved her. She realized nether he or she had any idea what love was really about. Finished dressing by five-thirty she called for her car, put the engagement ring into its box and into her purse. There was only one thing more to do. She looked at the array of perfumes on her vanity. She picked up the small unassuming bottle of Au Delà and applied it to her wrist and neck. The old world yet modern beauty of the perfume enfolded her, comforted her, and promised of life to live beyond tonight. It whispered very softly just behind her ear “…the beyond.” She smiled for the first time, just a tiny hint of a smile really. After Auld Lang Sine she would be free to find out who she really was.

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(Bienvenidos paraíso, Roberto’s Bungalows) 

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Au Delà by perfumer and artist Bruno Fazzolari is something very special. I first smelled it along with the other perfumes of his initial launch into the perfume world last March at San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon. You can read about that event in my post, “Meeting The Magicians ~ SF Artisan Perfume Salon 2013”.

Au Delà immediately struck me as a fabulous perfume that recalled the great days of the house of Dior in the early 50’s. It is so reminiscent of such beauties as the old original Miss Dior. Not the silly girl she has become today in her reformulations but the beautiful confident woman she was at the dawn of post war glamour. I have to give credit to Hilary Randal who was the one to pinpoint for me what I was smelling in that bottle of Au Delà that day back in March.

Bruno has in his collection all of which was released in 2013, Lampblack, Jimmy, Five, Monserrat,  It’s Better Not To Worry Abut It and Au Delà. Each are exquisite and should be explored by any and every perfume lover, but for me Au Delà is the masterpiece of the line. It is the goddess in a bottle, the essence of French chic created by and artist who grew up in both in France and the United States.

This perfume was inspired by one of the major French composers of the 20th Century, Olivier Massiaen. And in this inspiration there is music, glorious music. To equate this fragrance to the inspiration just listen to L’Ascension by Massiaen and you have the tones and notes of this perfume.

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(Au Delà is right for any woman with the slightest chic)

It opens with a simple clear, glowing note of coriander. This note is almost immediately obliterated by an unfolding song from a beautiful jasmine that is wreathed with Neroli and orange blossoms. This plays its melody with increasing sensuality as it is aroused by the arrival of the base notes of Amber, Oakmoss and something magical created by Bruno known as Immanence. Immanence is a fantasy note that is as ephemeral as a dream and as real as fairy dust. It is the God note that encompasses everything and exists in all creation. It is there in the base of the perfume and gives it wings, shimmering wings on which to fly.

NYC Man(Au Delà is perfect for a man with great personal style)

This Chypre is indolic, intoxicating and inspiring. It loves to live on the skin of both men and women and in so doing finds the essence of male or female sensuality in the meeting of perfume to flesh. Since its release Au Delia has won both the Gold Medal for Top Artisan Perfumer at the International Artisan Fragrance Awards and the Gold Medal at the San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon.

I found this award winning perfume to be sublime with a respectable sillage and good longevity. You can find it at Bruno’s Webpage and at Tigerlily in San Francisco. Tigerlily is the first brick and mortar store to carry Bruno Fazzolari Editions. For a debut perfumer Au Delà is exceptional and I look forward to watching Bruno Fazzolari’s journey as an up an coming perfumer.

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Au Delà by Bruno Fazzolari Editions  Five Gold Stars *****

BRUNO FAZZOLARI WEBSITE: http://brunofazzolari.com/

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

ROBERTO’S BUNGALOWS: http://robertosbungalows.com/

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Listen to L’Ascension by Olivier Massiaen

Christmas Postcard to Lanier

Jordan River, The Fragrant Man sent me a postcard. I am so deeply touched. Please do check his blog for it is wonderful.

The Fragrant Man

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Dear Lanier,

There are so many stars in The Fragrant Stratosphere. I love bathing in the light of your star and becoming lost in your Perfumed Plots.

Is that a book or a vignette-style movie I see for you in 2014?

A star filled Christmas night and a season of Joy to you; Joy cometh in the morning. Your mourning has become a Good Morning for those of us that read you with at that time of the day.

Shine On,

Jordan River

Perfumed Plots
Holiday Reading on Scents Memory
A Letter from Versailles
Appointment at Tyburn
Madam Pageau at the Café
Rajdulari Goes to Bollywood

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MADEMOISELLE VALENTINE ~ Grand Cuir by Parfums Rétro

PARFUMS RETRO

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There simply was no need for gloves in December in Palm Springs. She found the long forgotten gloves in the back of her closet; in the long orange box with the black coach logo . They were buried behind the rows of Chanel shoes that were too high to wear anymore. She hadn’t worn the gloves since, how long ago was it? Fifty years, the last winter of haute couture when it was still about the chic elegant lines of Hubert de Givenchy, and everyone wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn in ‘Charade”. She had just turned 21 that December.

She opened the box and sifted past the ancient tissue paper that held the faint and faded memory of a forgotten perfume. The mink lined black leather gloves were as supple as if they had just come from 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. She slipped them on over her once beautiful hands. They were so lovely and warm. Only then did she notice that there was something else in the box, a man’s lavender silk tie. She closed her eyes.

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Valentine Bayard scampered recklessly against the traffic light in front of the new 1963 Citroën which nearly hit her. She and had no idea just how beautiful she looked in her leopard coat with the black mink trim and matching hat. But it was the new black kid gloves that gave the look just the right touch of elegant chic that seemed to blossom overnight in young French women of her age.

She waited in front of the Cinéma Gaumont for her friend Danielle to arrive. Unaware of the admiring looks she got from the men who passed she looked up at the marquee at the huge poster for “The Leopard” and thought how impossibly beautiful Alan Delon was. At five minutes to show time Valentine realized that Danielle had stood her up. She hated to go to the movies by herself so she turned on her Chanel heels and strolled up the Champs-Élysées with no particular destination in mind. She quite simply loved to walk under the Christmas lights that festooned the bare trees along the Avenue. It was her favorite pastime each December.

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Heads turned as she passed and not just men’s heads. Little boys too. “Mama, look! It is Anita Ekberg!” A little boy shouted as he tugged on his mother’s hand. It was lovely to be compared to the actress who had made such a hit in “La Dolce Vita”. Valentine blushed and touched her lips with her be-gloved hand and blew the boy a kiss.

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She crossed the avenue to look in the window at number 68 and had not the faintest clue that she was now being trailed by two smitten young men. The glass was steamy and made it hard to see the perfume bottles on display. She could smell the mingled aromas of rose, lavender and clary sage wafting past her each time someone opened the doors to the shop. By the time she crossed the avenue back to the other side and reached Fouquet’s there were four young men in her wake and one on a bicycle. She left them bereft on the sidewalk as she went in for a café au lait and cinnamon pastry.

She could smell fresh tarragon from the kitchen and the tangy pine smell from the Christmas tree as the waiter lead her to a single table in the center of Fouquet’s. On the rosewood table was a vase with red geraniums chosen that morning to match the awnings outside. After she placed her order she removed her gloves and took out her compact to check her make-up. She smiled when she caught a little girl in the mirror watching her with admiring eyes.

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After Fouquet’s she went into a little shop just off the Champs-Élysées that smelled of old oakmoss, birch and the patchouli and sandalwood eau de cologne that the old proprietor wore. He helped her pick out a beautiful lavender silk tie.

“Is this to be a gift?” the old man asked.

“Yes it is!” She smiled sweetly into his warm brown eyes. “For the man I love more than anyone in the world.”

She waited while he gift wrapped it in violet leaf scented Christmas paper.

Back on the street she looked at her watch. The film would be letting out soon and he would be waiting there for her and Danielle to come out. She rushed back up  rue Arsène-Houssaye and then along the Champs-Élysées gathering another small entourage of beautiful men who followed like enamored guardian angels.

He was waiting, tall, handsome as ever in his brown wool overcoat and Fedora.

“Papa!” She called.

The wind caught the corner of his cashmere scarf as he turned and it fluttered up over his shoulder like a beautiful multi-color flag. His luminous smile was crooked beneath his clipped mustache. She ran to him and gave him a hug.

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“I bought you a present Papa.”

“What is it?”

“You have to wait until tomorrow to find out.”

Monsieur Bayard winked at his daughter. “As if that would be possible? “

The sky was turning an inkblot indigo and the lights around them were winking on. “I am going to take my beautiful daughter to dinner. Where would you like to go?”

“Let’s be tourists and go to Maxim’s. I love Maxim’s at Christmas.” She took hold of his sturdy strong arm and looked up into his smiling face. “Let’s make a memory Papa. A beautiful memory to keep for every Christmas to come.”

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(Maxim’s at Christmas)

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Grand Cuir by Parfums Rétro is a dramatically stunning perfume that recalls the lost last age of elegance. Created to be worn by both men and women, it is very classically French in its olfactory signature. Grand Cuir is purely rich and evocative of Pairs. It recalls an age of beautiful women who dress in chic elegant style at every hour of the day, who, for every occasion, had a perfume to match each mood, atmosphere and destination. Be that a shopping excursion, a romantic interlude or an evening alone at home reading “Bonjour Tristesse”. Yes it recalls all these things about women but when a man wears Grand Cuir it takes on the memories of women whom he has loved.  The perfume’s tag line reads “A leather with soul.”  This is true, it has soul, but it is not the soul of cool like in the late 60’s. It has the soul of chic from the earlier and too brief period between 1960 and 1964. It is complex, interesting, a bit demanding of your attention and utterly devastating. It is a brand new perfume created in 2013 that shows you can be modern and yet reflect elegance from the past.

The perfume opens with a little naughty slightly skanky labdanum which gives it its initial Gallic flavor. There is birch tar, clary sage and a resinous pine needles that keep it from wandering into Place Pigale nasty mademoiselle territory.  It is perfectly controlled, bright and pops with an aldehydic shimmer without being to loud.

None of this lush French opening is lost as the heart notes come into play. There seems to be a note from every arrondissement of Pairs here and it works the perfume to perfection. Green from the geranium, violet leaf and a pinch of tarragon start to waft up from the Marais then from the Left Bank we get orange blossoms and cinnamon. Montmartre chimes in with lavender and finally a beautiful rose from the gardens of les Bois de Boulogne.

In the base it is all about warmth, sensuality and a masculine edged of expensive leather. The dry down is packet to baroque levels with leather, patchouli, sandalwood and rosewood. The musk and moss notes support and finish off the perfume at about eight hours.

There was only one thing that did not impress me about Grand Cuir and that would be the bottle. Such an elegant rich and expensive creation should be if at all possible presented in an equally stunning flacon. What we are given is a generic “perfume” bottle that is used by every new perfumer around. But I am being picky here. For really what is most important is what the juice does on the skin. And what Grand Cuir does to the skin is something wonderful. It creates a world of sophistication and beauty from which memories can be made.

Joyeux Noël à tous mes lecteurs!

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Grand Cuir by Parfums Rétro Five Gold Stars *****

You can purchase Grand Cuir at LuckyScent

http://www.luckyscent.com/shop/detail.asp?itemid=62300

or if you are in Los Angeles visit their brick and mortar store Scent Bar

7405 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90036

323 782 8300

(Screen captures of Anita Ekberg and Michael Caine from “Woman Times 7” directed by Vittorio De Sica) 

THREE A.M. ~ Dior Homme by Christian Dior

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Her eyes were half closed in her trademark lets make love look. With  lips that shimmied and shimmered in a lush Max Factor red lipstick, she seemed to be reaching out from the screen and all the way up to the second row in the third balcony of Radio City Music Hall. She was looking at him and only him.

“The French are glad to die for love.

They delight in fighting duels.

But I prefer a man who lives,

And gives expensive……”

Jules…..Jules….JULES!”

“Huh? What?” he mumbled half awake trying to figure out where she went?

“You are singing in your sleep again.”  His wife said overflowing with three a.m. frustration. “Gentleman may prefer blondes but I prefer that you didn’t do showtunes in the middle of the night.”

“Sorry honey….” Jules whispered and waited.

A heavy sigh was her reply. He took quiet short breaths until he could hear her low adenoidal snore. He turned over in the bed toward the glow streaming though the window of Manhattan after midnight.

“Hi!” She was tangled in white sheets and propped up on one elbow right next to him in the bed. “Who’s the grumpy tomato? She doesn’t like showtunes?”

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(Photograph by Douglas Kirkland)

He squinted and then rubbed his eyes.

“Well?” she said not in her breathy movie voice but in her own natural and beautiful voice, a voice melodic with a hint of melancholy and on the edge of laughter.

“ah….no she likes showtunes… it’s just that I can’t sing.”

“Nonesense! I think you sing like Frank.”

“Frank?”

“Sinatra silly!” she laughed and pulled the sheet up a little higher over her bosom, lifted her head to the left and looked over his shoulder.  “You didn’t answer my first question, who’s the tomato?”

“Believe me, she’s no tomato she’s my wife.”

Was she really here he wondered. Did it really matter? Don’t question the night just keep talking.

“How did you get in here?”

“I don’t know.” She looked up at the sleep tossed lock of champagne blonde hair hanging down over her right eye. With a crooked kiss she blew it back into its cinemascope ready place.   “I just turned over and here you are.”

“Me too!” His eyes wandered slightly. “Don’t you have anything on?”

She wiggled her shoulders and gifted him with that sleepy half lidded smile. “Just this sheet, and some perfume.”

They talked until the sky began to brighten.

At 6:30 the alarm went off and he woke up slightly dazed and a little dazzled. His wife moaned. He hit the buzzer and then hit the shower. While dressing for the office he remembered her from the night before and smiled. What a strange and somehow lovely dream it had been.

He absently picked a white Brooks Brothers shirt from where it lay folded with the others in the cedar closet.

There it was as real as sunlight and twice as lovely, a red lipstick kiss on the back inside of the collar. He put the shirt on . He could almost feel her lips brush the back of his neck. For the rest of the day he could smell the luscious Max Factor red lipstick kiss from Marilyn Monroe

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Dior Homme is a man’s fragrance famous for it’s lipstick on your collar smell that trails and lingers about a man’s neck like the playful fingers of a beautiful woman.  When you first put it on, it entwines into your hair and runs along the pulse points of the body in a warm sensuous touch that is both sexy and enticing. The amazing thing is how simply masculine it is and that is all about the Iris and falling in love with a man’s skin.

The fragrance opens with a dry hills sage smell warmed buy a summer sun. This is layered over by bright bergamot citrus zing and clean fresh lavender. This hangs around for a very short time just setting you up for the main players.

From deep in the base opens smooth refined leather note that encases the middle notes like a finely made Dior handbag. Yes it smells a bit like the inside of a woman’s purse. And in that purse is a right rich, lush and powdery scent of make-up. This aroma specifically reminds me of the old Max Factor pancake makeup my mother used to wear in the 50’s and 60’s. The make-up scent is carried off by the Iris which is huge but not overbearing. Then with the addition of cacao there comes a waxy sensual lipstick smell which is enriched with a very deep and luxe amber. It is so well designed that I find myself sniffing my wrist repeatedly in the first of many hours of long wear.

I know what you are thinking, Lipstick, makeup and masculine? How can that be?  It is all in the base where the testosterone resides and pumps relentlessly up and into the fragrance giving it its more masculine edge. Vetiver all rooty and rough mixes it up with a punch-drunk patchouli. These boys hit the dry down with the afore mentioned refined and long lasting  leather, The three carry Dior Homme into a lingering finale. At this point I found that from time to time it would  on occasion, rise up to envelop me as if my body heat had revived it from the dead long after I thought it was finished.

Dior Homme surprised me. I originally bought it to use as a layering scent, something to give oomph and panache to more understated scents like for instance, Dior Bois D’Argent. (That is a stunning combo created by my friend, Dior Fragrance Specialist Hilary Randall). But what I found it that this fragrance which is dearly loved by the online fragrance community is a stunning standalone beauty. It is complex in its simplicity, chic and sleekly masculine in its style, And it says something, that something is: I am Dior Homme, women love to wear me but they love it even more when you wear me.

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Dior Homme Five Gold Stars *****

Gatsby’s Garden ~ Shalimar Parfum by Guerlain

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“When I was a girl of 17 I went to all of Gatsby’s parties. That’s were I met Bill .”

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It was just before dawn. Mark Post closed his great grandmother Marie’s ancient diary and put it in his backpack. He looked at the rusted gates of 111 Kings Point Road and took a deep breath. The no trespassing sign hung sideways from one screw and was almost completely covered with ivy. He looked up and down the road. There was no sign of anyone watching. In a scrabble of arms and legs he was over the gate in fifteen seconds. When his feet hit the driveway he could have sworn he heard music coming from the beach beyond the trees.

It was a quarter of a mile though the trees overgrown with ivy along the cracked and buckled drive to where the house once stood.

“I never met Jay Gatsby. No one ever saw him. We just came there every weekend from the city because the word was out that he gave spectacular parties. The place overflowed with free liquor and the best jazz bands from Harlem.”gatsby pool party

A robin’s egg blue predawn sky dimly lit the pit overgrown with weeds where the chateau of dreams Gatsby had built for his Daisy once stood. Three Corinthian columns were all that remained of the portico that opened to the terrace and the formal gardens that stretched from the house to the beach of Manhasset Bay.

Mark hopped up on the low foundation wall and made his way gingerly to the columns. He stood in silence and looked out over the expanse before him. In the distance across the bay twinkled the lights of Sands Point where Daisy’s house stood until just a few years ago. The cloudless sky behind those winking fading lights was turning pale pink. When he walked down the broken steps to the dirty marble terrace once again he heard distant strains of an old tune.

“Bill was an odd duck. He was not a rich boy and had no prospects. But he was handsome and could dance like nobody’s business. He wore Shalimar. All the girls called him sissy to his face because he wore that perfume.  They thought he was “funny that way”.  But I knew he wasn’t and I didn’t care because it smelled wonderful on him. Bill just laughed at those silly women and then swept me onto the dance floor and held me tight as we pivoted into a fox trot.

Mark moved slowly across the terrace and down the last sweeping set of stairs to the haunted remains of the formal garden. There were wildly overgrown roses on ether side of the wide path that lead to the beach. They seemed all to be leaning toward the east in anticipation of the sunrise. Ancient flowers filled with perfumed memories of  past loves long dead. Only the sunlight could make them bloom and bring love to life again.

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“On the day I married Bill he gave me his bottle of Shalimar and said he would never wear it again. He told me that he only wore it because he knew that it was the perfume that would lead him to the woman he would marry. ‘It is your perfume now’ he told me. And ever since my wedding day, it has been and always will be my perfume.”

Mark reached the place where the garden ended and the beach began. Rotting wooden posts reached out from the shore into the bay where the old dock once stood. They seemed to be forever reaching toward the lights of Sands Point and a long forgotten green light.

Mark opened his backpack and took out a small silver box and a tiny bottle of Shalimar.

“Bill has been gone now for many years.  And now in my 104th year I know I will be joining him soon. I hope that heaven is like those glorious parties at Gatsby’s and that I will meet Bill there and dance forever in his arms enfolded in an eternal cloud of Jazz music and Shalimar.”

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(Photo stolen from Mr. and Mrs. David Aylor)

At the edge of the garden where Mark imagined Marie had first met Bill he buried the silver box containing a few mingled ashes of his great grandparents. Then he opened the bottle of Shalimar and dabbed a bit on his wrists and behind each ear. He swore at that moment that he would wear Shalimar until he found the woman it belonged to.

He could hear the music from the past clearly now. The fist ray of sun hit his eyes and blinded him. He turned around and for a shimming moment Gatsby’s house was ablaze with lights, the music roared to life and the party was just beginning.

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Shalimar the classic (and very first) oriental perfume created in 1925 by Jacques Guerlain is one of the best selling perfumes in the world. It remains today a perfume of magical and romantic qualities. But in the 1920’s it was a bit of a scandalous fragrance. It was said that there were three things a good girl didn’t do, “Bob her hair, smoke cigarettes and wear Shalimar.” That certainly didn’t stop the new modern women of the age who agreed with Mae West when she said. “Good girls go to heaven, but bad girls go everywhere!”

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Shalimar is a grownup perfume. Heavy on incense and leather, blooming with rose and jasmine and insolently overflowing with opopanax, civet and sandalwood it is a glamorous sumptuous and sensual perfume. Very French but at the same time very universal.

Shalmar Woman

It opens with blue rhapsody of a jazzy clarinet solo in citrus. This consists of the notes of mandarin orange, bergamot, lemon and a note that usually can be found in the base, Cedar. That Cedar note tells you right off that this is going to be interesting.

The heart of this jazz age symphony is replete with more mixing of high and low notes. There is a rooty iris mixed in with a grassy vetiver. This comes in to lush harmonics with a rose dressed to thrill and all a sparkle is a sexy seductive jasmine.  The low dark and slightly naughty patchouli rushes in to stir the entire center of the fragrance into a pure lush modern jazz ballet.

Finally there comes the boozy slow blues after midnight dry down. From opening to the end of this perfume there is a huge billowing fabulous incense note that pushes out into the room. The body and soul of the perfume is here in its smoky presence as the incense pares up with opopanax and the two get kinky with the dominatrix leather note. This trio is not shy about slapping things into submission as they pull in a scampy civet that plays around adding a dash of danger and bite to the party.  Lush sandalwood is made more creamy and sexy by the arrival of Tonka and vanilla. The jazz age urgent sexy pulse of this perfume is made to last for hours by the ever present support of a beautiful musk.

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This perfume may be a challenge to some for its complexity and adult signature. A signature I might add that is no where to be found in the realm of immature perfumes of this day and age. It is something many have to grow into. Another aspect of the perfume is its sexual ambiguity. The meeting of florals with Cedar, citrus and a snappy leather make it most wearable for men. Not an office scent by any means for a man but something that works well after dark and on formal occasions. But weather for a man or a woman Shalimar is the height of elegant chic confident sexy jazz drenched glamour.

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Shalimar by Guerlain Five Platinum Stars *****

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