HOW INSENSITIVE…. Prada Amber Pour Homme

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At the door to Dior he tried to clear his mind and continue his morning walk along the Avenue Montaigne but it was no use.  As he strolled past the minuscule and austere square park next to Gorgio Armani he realized the street that usually made him happy did not make him happy on this very early clear late June morning. The lush green fingers of the Horse Chestnut tree leaves seemed to point down at him in disdain.

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The snappy click of his red soled Smoker Flats seemed not smart but rather muffled, scuffed and sad. He had been walking all night unable to sleep since the opera ended and he said goodnight her and then without much thought a sudden and final goodbye.

There were no tears this time, usually there were. No slap in the face. That too was de rigueur with some of them in fact it had never gone out of style. Euros had not been flung in his face. No name calling, no pleading, nothing. Nothing but that last look.

Ending an affair had never been so easy. And yet he could not sleep and only walking had gotten him through the night and to this early dawn under the accusatory trees. Rene Michel Petriz had no idea that for the first time in his life he was caught by something so foreign to him that he didn’t recognize what it was that would not leave him alone. His heart had no room for words like regret, guilt, remorse or the most dangerous word of all, love. He was built for speed, designed in fact to please the eye, to entice the touch and the sound of his voice had more than once obliterated a woman’s defenses. Born with the lucky combination of looks, charm, intelligence, and most importantly sans regret had made the most desirable gigolo in Paris. So this little fling he had ended, a gratis diversion from the wealthy women who kept him secure should have never started. It was best for all that he had killed it last night. And it was good for business. She had cost him a lot of time and money. He looked into the dark windows of Armani and was shocked when all he saw in them was the reflection of that last look in her eyes, not cold, not crushed, simply disappointment.

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  If only it were later in the day and the stores were open. Silk ties and fine linen shirts would take his mind off of her and that final look when he told her it was over. He walked on. The ruby geraniums on the balconies of The Hôtel Plaza Athénée glistened with diamond like touches of morning dew. He smiled remembering the rich Argentine woman whom in that very hotel had dropped her Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and ruby cocktail ring in his glass of champagne as payment for the night. It was a cold memory and his smile faded. He needed to get back to work.

For the rest of the way, to the end of the avenue he was oblivious to the passing windows of Bottega Veneta, and Prada filled with things he would never need. At the Place de l’Alma he crossed to the intersection of Avenue Montagne and Avenue George V and stopped in front of Chez Francis.

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It was just opening. He took a seat outside on the sidewalk just behind the green hedges. The young waiter brought him a coffee and then retreated back inside to leave Rene Michel uncharacteristically slouched in his chair long legs stretched out before him exposing his scuffed Louboutin soles, He took a sip of his liquid breakfast and contemplated the light traffic on the Pont de l’Alma. Slowly the flame of liberty across the place de l’Alma came into focus.

kvefr1466sIt marked the entrance to the tunnel where in 1997 Princess Diana died. On the balustrade above the entrance to the tunnel and just behind the Flame of Liberty thousands of messages were scrawled in many languages lamenting the loss of the Princess. Messages of love and farewell. The spot had become an unofficial memorial to her.  Rene Michel starred at the flame of Liberty, his coffee untouched turned cold.

When, the night before, he told her on the steps of the opera house that he was leaving her for good. She looked at him in disappointment.

“I love you.” She said.

He just stared at her in icy silence then turned and walked away. He walked all night.

Gregory fitoussi as Rene Michel Petriz

***

Prada Amber pour Homme (2006) created by perfumer Daniela (Roche) Andrier under the guidance of the head of Prada Miuccia Prada is an interesting fragrance to me. One that challenged me and in so doing became a good object lesion in the understanding that sometimes a perfume takes time. You see, I almost ended the affair before it began. How insensitive of me.

This oriental fougere is not a bold in your face amber based fragrance but rather a soft, distantly elegant men’s fragrance that in my first encounters left me disappointed.  This was a case of expectations from the name not at all from the actual understated beauty I came to know in this fragrance. Amber! Amber in the name of the fragrance was my downfall. Expectations. I forgot for a moment what I have learned in life about expectations. If you leave expectations at the door you will never be disappointed and often times you will in fact be surprised.

I was hoping for a full lush symphony of deep romantic amber such as one finds in Ambre Nuit by Christian Dior.  But in truth I can find no amber in the fragrance per se but rather an accord of amber created by the blending of notes. Thus it is more of an amber veil rather than a smooth polished and hard amber note.

The fragrance opens bright and bracing with a beautiful mandarin, neroli and bergamot combo that is given an interesting edge of masculine sweat that shimmers the citrus with a glistening dash of cardamom. This gives it a touch of the sensual. But the sweaty aspect is never off putting or in need of a bath but rather like the salty deliciousness of a lover’s skin. The opening lingers for some time before the mid-notes enter.

With the arrival of these mid-notes we are awash in clean soapy musk, which is sweetened by a spray of orange blossoms. There is a really great geranium here as well along with a touch of bitter green vetiver gives the fragrance its strong masculinity. This is layered over with an exotic surprise of myrrh that is just the right touch. This is one of the best soapy accords I have found. Very complex and rich without a detergent brashness to make it common.

In the dry down there is more sensuality but of the understated variety coming from labdanum. It is smooth and soothing as it meets a note that Prada is famous for, Leather. It is suede like leather and very expensive smelling. Sandalwood and saffron add elegance to the mix. There is, I have read supposed to be tonka, vanilla and patchouli in the fragrance but they escape my nose if there are in fact in the game.

The silage is not overwhelming but respectable. It entices notice to those nearby rather than commanding their attention.  Prada Amber Pour Homme lasts a very long time on my skin clocking in at a good solid ten hours. Its wearablitly and versatility ranges in my estimation from office wear to evening. You will find that it will carry you thought the workday and into evening with great ease and elegance.

Overall it is understated, sophisticated and accessible. Commercial and wearable by a wide range of men and women. It may not be what one expects. But it surprised me in its development once I let go of what I wanted it to be and allowed it to stand on its own and be what it is, a fine masculine fragrance.

Prada Amber Pour Homme Bottle

PRADA AMBER POUR HOMME

FOUR GOLD STARS ****

 For the next installment go to: WINTER IN ROME

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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

THE COOL BLONDE ~ Prada Infusion D’Iris

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For days she has eluded me, cool  remote and untouchable. I thought at first this woman was that blonde so distantly desirable who radiates a frozen heat that stings the eye and captures the libido then slips away with a hot forty thousand dollars in her purse on the road to oblivion.  I thought I had lost her only to find she turned up next as a haunted somnambulist wandering aimlessly with  deceitful purpose over the hills though the city to a graveyard, to the bay,  to a tower and again to oblivion.

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   She confused me in her teasing enticing nearness that always turned into escape. I must understand her, I must possess her. This woman who the whole evening watches me across the dinning table as her mother loaded with diamonds goes on about how over finished her reserved daughter is.  All the while the blonde studies me daring to expose my secrets. Later I cautiously watch her unlock her door, with a seductive turn sheathed in chilled blue chiffon she drapes one bare arm around my neck and pulls me into the shock of her lips meeting mine.  Before I can speak she steps back and swings the door shut between us. The only sound is the beating of my heart and the click of the dead bolt. Again she is gone.

 -0GRACE KELLY TCAT

   My brain is scrambled as I try and grasp at clues to her identity. She keeps changing. Every time I met her over the next few days she stole something of me and then vanished when I was about to surrender my soul. On a train, into the arms of a spy or simply into a deadly dark apocalyptic aviary leaving only an impression of her image on the rear window of my soul, who is this woman?

When I finally gave up and turned to walk away from this ambiguity, a woman brushed past me carrying a suit case. I turned at the recognition of her insinuating scent. The woman who was walking away from me on the train platform couldn’t be her. Her long loose black hair fooled me at fist but then as she boarded the train at the very moment it pulled away, I caught a glimpse of her profile.  I stood frozen on the spot as I watched the train for Baltimore disappear.

MARNIE ESCAPE

Standing alone on that platform I finally I had the clue. She was a master of disguise and deception. The combination of the dyed black hair and that distinctive perfume held the key. She wasn’t Marion Crane on the run, or doomed Madeline Elster, she had even fooled me into believing in Monte Carlo that she was Frances Stevens. At one point the thought fluttered its wings in my mind that she was evil and the whole mystery stared when she came to town. But no, she wasn’t Melanie Daniels. She was none of the women she pretended to be. I had to follow her to Baltimore.

A blood red sky opened above me in that field where I finally found her a week later. She rode up wild and fast on a black stallion. The horse reared at the sound of thunder in the distance.  She shivered and her eyes shifted as she tried to cover the terror that approaching storm brought upon her. She looked down at me from astride that hard panting dark animal and I saw that she understood that the chase was over.

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“I’ve come to take you home Marnie.”

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Like the character of Marnie in the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock, Infusion D’Iris by Prada is elusive, mystifying and duplicitous. It is cool and blonde and mysterious and to understand it takes a while. For me it took two weeks of chasing to capture it and come to love it.  It is ever changing in its complex almost psychologically challenging nature. Just when you think you have pinned it down to a pure floral, it shifts into dry woods and then again into a light oriental powdery musk perfume. Created by the “Nose” Daniela Roche Andrier who also brought to us many other perfumes for Prada this one is a softly dazzling incense iris perfume that is purely wonderful.

The perfume is smooth and soft in its opening notes of Mandarin orange, soothing galbanum and African orange blossom. Those notes waft over you in a whisper like butterflies brushing your ear and are quickly gone. The central notes are dominated by a cool earthy iris that is elegant and refined. This iris blends with a pine like mastic and cedar with a layer of grassy green vetiver that come up from the base notes. The dry down is pure incense and benzoin that powder the end of the scent ever so lightly. Not heavy powder but rather more of a soft dusting of modern clean lined elegance.

The longevity of Prada Infusion D’Iris is very good but not spectacular. It lays somewhat close to the skin in its projection and when caught in passing it is subtle in its invitation to come closer to its mystery just as one would expect from a Hitchcock blonde. This perfume is for a lady or a man who embodies a modern sophistication and wears as well in company as it does outdoors.  But be warned not to fall in love with Prada Infusion D’Iris, for once you surrender to her cool seduction you may find you can never let her go.

 Infusion d'Iris Ad

FIVE PLATINUM STARS *****

(Marnie Prelude and Theme by Bernard Herrmann)

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