CALL ME IRRESPONSIBLE ~ CHANEL LES EXCLUSIFS NO. 22

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Red and white automobile lights glittered in the rain choked gutters, like discarded diamonds and rubies being swept into the parched sewers of the city.  Long into the morning the three globed very elegant Parisian streetlamps along Market Street shown in a warm glow of amber which added a ribbon of gold to the rubies and diamonds in the street. The rain danced in sheets across the wide road snatching dead sycamore leaves from the nearly barren trees to bring them down to earth.  The first rains of January were the best rains of the year. So all of San Francisco agreed and no one loved the gray skies and perpetual twilight of a rainstorm more than Matt Simmons.

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(Market Street ~ Artist  Hsin-Yao Tseng)

Wrapped in a long black Dior overcoat, with a white Pashmina scarf artfully arranged around his neck he made the dash across market at Stockton just as the yellow light turned red causing an Uber driver to swerve out of his path. The diver having just missed him peeled off toward “Twitterville” up at 10th in a shower of curses. Blithely unaware as the soundtrack of “Two For The Road” blasted through his earbuds he turned on to Eddy street. Diamond like raindrops sputtered from the ends of his Louis Vuitton Giboulées Umbrella. He felt filled with love for his city and radiated a joy for life that was infectious to almost everyone. This delight in life made him seem twenty years younger than fifty nine.

Seated at his favorite table in the warm cozy wood paneled old San Francisco glamour that was John’s Grill he ordered his usual, a Vesper martini.  He smilingly told Tommy  to make it three Vespers and that he would wait for his friends to arrive before ordering lunch.   Marie and Holly would be joining him for a fun run through the Union Square department stores on a perfume hunt. They usually met up about once a month to catch up, have lunch and go shopping. It was something to do on a Sunday.

maltese140.JPG The sign announcing John's Grill seen from the second story of the restaurant. The falcon statue was stolen nearby. A replica of the famous Maltese falcon used in the 1941 Humphrey Bogart film has been stolen from John's Grill restaurant in downtown San Francisco. {Brant Ward/San Francisco Chronicle}2/12/07

Tommy set the Vesper before him just as Matt noticed that there was beautiful piano music drifting down from the second floor.

“Live music in the afternoon Tommy? I thought that was only in the evenings. That wonderful Jazz I can’t get enough of.”

“We are trying it out on the weekends. You like it?”

“Lovely.”

Tommy vanished to the bar. As Matt sipped his cocktail he recognized the song. “Call Me Irresponsible” by‎ Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn. Matt began to hum along.

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(Artist~ Seth Couture)

Just as the martini glass reached his lower lip for a second sip everything seemed to slow down around him. The glass wavered in his hand. He looked down at the swirl of lemon peel. His hand was shaking.

Had it really been only four years? Were there days now when he forgot to think of him? It was true, he didn’t think of him the first thing upon waking anymore. Matt set the martini on the white table cloth, took out his wallet and opened it. Richard’s movie star smile beamed up at him through worn and brittle plastic.   Eyes as blue as the skies over Paris and that noble nose that gave his face gravity as well as beauty.  Everything was still now only the rain outside and the piano playing.  He could hear Richard singing to him over the phone from Manhattan his broad baritone just as he used to on Sunday mornings.  His voice would come cross the Catskills and zoom effortlessly over the Great Plains. It soared over the Rockies, dipped low into the deserts of Nevada and finally climbed the over the steep shear eastern Sierra’s caressing a high note so effortlessly only to slip sweetly, softly into Matt’s waiting ear in San Francisco.

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“Call me irresponsible, call me unreliable
Throw in undependable too.”

Matt recalled the dream they shared of Richard moving to San Francisco, the promise to marry and build a mature life together. The dream that never came true

“Do my foolish alibis bore you?
Well, I’m not too clever; I just adore you.”

Richard’s last three voice mails still lived Matt’s on phone, the last one from the hospital where he died so suddenly and unexpectedly.

“Call me unpredictable, tell me I’m impractical
Rainbows I’m inclined to pursue.”

Richard’s photo glowed more beautifully than the golden streetlights on Market and it was more precious than any diamonds and rubies that were ensconced behind the rain spattered windows of Bvlgari and Cartier.

“Call me irresponsible; yes, I’m unreliable
But it’s undeniably true: I’m irresponsibly mad for you.”

Holly’s voice broke the spell. The lights brightened and the world sped up again. Marie was just behind her with a big smile.

“Sorry we are late. What a storm! It is coming down like the end of the world out there. How are you darling man?”

Matt slowly and gently closed his wallet and placed it in his coat pocket over his heart.

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 ( Hsin-Yao Tseng)

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It is a perfume of lost love and rainy afternoons. Of missed trains to warmer climates and of melancholy cocktails in the twilight when everything turns lavender in the last moments of the day. It is a beauty that rivals its creators most famous creation. No.5.  Rumor has it that it was in the lineup for Coco Chanel to try when she chose No.5 to be her first perfume launch. If that is true it is no surprise for Chanel No.22 crated by Ernest Beaux released only a year after No.5, in 1922 is a more somber, romantic and even wistfully sad cousin to No.5.

Where No.5 is stunningly glamourous and breathtaking, No.22 is of a less obvious beauty. It has mystery a, blue dreamy sad mystery.

It opens with a gorgeous Aldehyde note that is less of a blast than you get in No.5. It is more like a breeze coming up from a damp garden after a rainstorm. In this breeze are carried the lovely floral note of Lily of the Valley and a fresh sharp Neroli. It is a dewy sun dappled and perfect opening to the beauty that is to follow.

Ylang ylang dominates the middle where it shimmers in all its golden glory supported by the famous Chanel jasmine, a subtle rich rose is denuded of its thorns and then there is the tuberose. This is not your grandmother’s screechy tuberose. Now that may surprise you being that this fragrance is from 1922 but in its reissue of 2007 by Jacques Polge it is a stubble touch of the tuberose that comes to lay close to the heart of the fragrance.

The bitter note that gives No.22 is melancholy is in the dry down where a crunchy dry vetiver marries with a creamy vanilla note. This is for me where the dance of the rising vetiver and the dying flower notes make this such a stunning fragrance. Sorrowfully dreamy and beautiful in its somewhat dramatic case of the blues, it likes feeling slightly tragic for after all it has lived in the shadows of No. 5 all these years.  Like that old Frank Sinatra song, No. 22 is “Glad To Be Unhappy.”

The longevity of No. 22 is very long, lasting on my skin a good 12 to 14 hours. The projection is not overpowering but at about a foot to eighteen inches. It is noticeable in tight quarters for sure but on the street it has a subtle grace about it. It is balsamic, aldehydic and powdery but not overtly so. It is a powdery scent for the faint of heart who shy away from the powder perfumes in general.  And as with almost all of the Les Exclusifs line No.22 works well on a man or a woman. If that man or woman is in the mood to be blue and sophisticated with an air of mystery about them.

CHANEL LES EXCLUSIFS NO. 22 ~ FIVE STARS *****

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“UN-SHINED SHOES ARE THE END OF CIVILIZATION!” Diana Vreeland ~ DV Perfume Launch at Neiman Marcus.

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You better believe I had my new shoes polished to within an inch of blinding the populace when I went today to Neiman Marcus for the launch of Diana Vreeland Perfumes. It was an amazing event hosted by Tony Mendez the rep for the line at Neimans. He pulled out all the stops as you will see in the video. The documentary on Mrs. Vreeland “The Eye Has To Travel” was even running on a widescreen television. Well it was Absolutely Marvelous!

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 My review of the perfume I chose from the line will be up later this weekend. But in the meantime, won’t you join me?

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PERFUME IS STYLE, IT IS VITAL! ~ Vreeland Perfumes Launch & The New Houbigant Perfume!

dianavreelandmemos_p122October 14, 2014 …Mark your CALENDAR! Here in San Francisco the official launch for the Diana Vreeland line is happening at Neiman Marcus Union Square. Alexander Vreeland founder of the perfume line and grandson of Mrs. Vreeland will be in attendance. D.V. ambassador, Tony Mendez will be our host and he has planed for us a fabulous afternoon under the dome at Neimans.

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But hold on to your atomizers! there is more going on in our beautiful city by the Bay.  October 11 at Neimans Michal Gazinski will be presenting the gorgeous new Houbigant perfume Iris des Champs. This  stunner is a real show stopper and sure to be a hit with an adoring perfume loving public. So if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area do pop in for both events. As we tumble into Fall the most glamorous perfumes of the year are making their entrance.

Here in my video review I talk more about these perfumes and the events as well as a marvelous fragrant dinner I attended with with a wonderful group of perfume creators and lovers which for a lack of a name I call the San Francisco Perfume Salon.

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IRIS DES CHAMPS by HOUBIGANT

FESTA DI PARMA! ~ Join Me at the Acqua di Parma Event at Barney’s San Francisco

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I have some very exciting news for my fragrance friends in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Barneys New York in San Francisco, is proud to announce the Acqua di Parma fragrance collection has arrived in the fragrance department.

 To celebrate the arrival of this magnificent fragrance house, Michael Rogers the new fragrance specialist for Aqua di Parma at Barney’s NY San Francisco and I will be hosting a very exciting event at Barney’s

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Please join us on Thursday, July 31st at 6pm in the Fragrance Department on the Lower Level for a special event to showcase the newest Acqua di Parma fragrances Leather and Ginepro di Sardegna.  We will be providing personal consultations to help you discover your perfect scent and receive a special gift for attending plus a deluxe gift with purchase. 

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Steeped in tradition, renowned for its elegance and refinement, Acqua di Parma represents exquisite Italian quality, craftsmanship and masterful fragrance blends. Created in Parma, Italy in 1916, iconic Colonia was discovered by silver screen legends of the 1930’s who helped establish the brands the symbol of Italian chic. Comprised of the highest quality ingredients, both fresh and understated, Acqua di Parma’s fragrances remain exclusively hand crafted in Italy today.  

 

So do please join Michael Rogers and me, Lanier Smith for an exciting fragrant and fun filled evening at Barney’s. Ci vediamo alla festa!

Annex - Grant, Cary (Charade)_NRFPT_06(Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn ~ Two devoted fans of Acqua di Parma!) 

SMELLY FRIENDS! ~ 3rd Annual San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon

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Saturday March 15th I spent most of the day, a glorious spring in winter day here in San Francisco with many friends in the local fragrance community at the 3rd Annual San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon. Enjoy the video.

 

I am going up to Seattle for a week and when I return I will have more reviews!

 

FROM PARIS, SCENT WITH LOVE ~ The Fragrant Republic San Francisco Event

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Friday after work I hopped on the Muni underground and made my way to the Embarcadero Center for a very special evening of fragrance and fabulous fun. The event was the first San Francisco launch of the new perfume house The Fragrance Republic. The event was held at Vanity Beauty Lounge and hosted by co-founder Francois Duquesne.

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The Fragrance Republic is not only a perfume house that gives great perfumers a chance to shine under their own names but also an on line Fragrance Club along the lines of a fine wine club. Members receive each month a 15 mil bottle of perfume to sample with the option to buy a 100mil bottle if they like the perfume. Membership comes in many levels that fit almost every budget. This makes it affordable and fun. So far there are six in the line by perfumers Nathalie Feisthauer, Julie Masse, Cecile Matton, Amelie Bourgeois, Antoine Lie, and Karine Chevallier. Each perfumer has an impressive history of perfumes many of which you may own. Each perfume is number from one to six. The two that I fell in love with were FR 01/02 and FR 01/06.

Julie_NovFR 01/02 and Perfumer Julie Masse

01/02 is a succulent refined, lush rose absolute with a velvety tuberose absolute simmering in coco résinoïde. It is magnificent on my skin and  has nothing of the usual bite of white flower or the overt high drama from the tuberose that one expects. Just gorgeous, it is so wonderful on my skin and I had to take a bottle home with me after an hour of wearing it. Perfumer Julie Masse has created a rose I like and one that has class and an elegant charm that is both modern and reminiscent of the Belle Epoch. It is a perfume that embraces the history of perfume while looking to the future.

01/06 was the most popular scent of the evening. This perfume created by Karine Chevallier consists of Persian Lime, fig, vetiver and sandalwood a woody aromatic that has the chic masculine charm of Eau Sauvage. Just brilliant sunny woods filled with the smell of a summer cabin in the mountains.

KarineChevillerG Karine Chevallier

The guests who attended were the crème de la crème of the San Francisco scent society, including Bay Area perfume luminaries such as Ineke and her husband Bill O’Such, the ever evolving and glamorous Yosh, Mik of MikMoi. Also in attendance were the scent sommelier and perfume advisor Hilary Rayvis Randall, Tama Blough San Francisco Bay Area – ‎Senior Editor at CaFleureBon.com and Mario Gomez ‎Owner at Olfactory Ambassador Services who is soon to dazzle the perfume world with something wonderful. And I was thrilled to see  the very exciting and charmingly lovely Antonia Kohl owner of TigerLily Perfumery. Our guide and host Francois Duquesne charmed us all not only with perfume but with his fascinating stories and delightful wit.

cHilary Rayvis Randall, Antonia Kohl, Francois Duquesne, Yosh, and Tama Blough

The event was to run from four to seven p.m. but with the arrival of many friends from SF Sniff the party didn’t break up until eight. And it was a very reluctant end to the evening for all. But the party is scheduled to pick up where it left off tonight at TigerLily where Antonia will be throwing a soirée featuring perfumers Mik Coyle , Bruno Fazzolari, Loreto Remsing and Dannielle Sergent. Each perfumer will be presenting their award winning fragrance lines.Something tells me there will be a story to tell about TigerLily in tomorrow’s post.

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Hilary Rayvis Randall and Antonia Kohl

FRAGRANCE REPUBLIC: http://www.fragrancerepublic.net/

THE IMAGINARY LUNCH ~ L’Orchidée Terrible by Imaginary Authors

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Thrown into the hubbub holiday downtown crowd in the just after noon madness of  New Years Eve Robert was hungry. Usually he had an idea of where he would have lunch on a launch into a shopping excursion.  Yet this wasn’t really an excursion but rather a hop off on his way home on the holiday half day to pick up a few needed items at the new Super Walgreens on Powel Street. His stomach reminded him that it needed more than a muffin from Pazzo and three cups of coffee if it was going to allow him to buy some shampoo and then window shop at Bloomingdales.

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The Food Court at the Westfield San Francisco Centre was overstuffed with Christmas Break teenagers. He passed on through. Mels Dinner? Not in the mood for burgers and American Graffiti memorabilia. As he strolled through the perfume solon of Bloomingdales to the back door to Mission Street he suddenly thought of the perfect place to lunch.

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Just off of busy 5th Street at 360 Jessie Street Robert was standing at the door to The Cavalier reading the menu posted behind glass.  It looked very inviting and reasonable of an upscale menu. Oysters on the Half, Wild Mushroom Pie. Pork and Beef Bangers! The hostess was smiling at him though the open doors within the cozy darkness of the interior.

“Just one for lunch.”  he said with a well practiced “male model” smile. That’s who he would be for lunch he decided as the decidedly very beautiful young woman lead him into the main dining room.

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“Is this your first time with us?” she asked as they reached the table under the tall arching windows.

“Yes, I am thinking of bring friends here so I thought I would try it out on my own.”

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He tossed his Michael Kors tote onto the black leather banquet and settled in next to it. As he shuffled off his black wool Brooks Brother’s overcoat he looked around the room. The place was new but looked old, and English and very well appointed with a long elegant bar in the front room, shinny black oak walls hung with horsy etchings of very British horsey bent. The back room was more of the same but with a red instead of black leather banquet that ran along the wall. Robert was intrigued with what looked like stable doors opposite where he sat. Tall blond waiters slid the doors open just wide enough to disappear momentarily and then reappear to sally forth into the dining room like runway models on a mission.

“My name is Alan” Robert looked up to half smiling and very poised young waiter who placed the menu and wine list in front of him. “Would you like some water sir?”

After he ordered Lamb Scrumpets, only to be gently reminded that they were appetizers, Robert settled on Fish and Chips. He watched Alan glide away and thought that he was so graceful that he just might be the most elegant waiters in the City.  He opened his tote and pushed aside his copy of hit book of the season, L’Orchidée Terrible by his favorite French author, Audrey Blavot he found his mini iPad and jumped onto Twitter.

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Ditta Von Teese was tweeting about a photo shoot.  Make up master Wayne Goss was thanking his YouTube subscribers for a wonderful year. Ralph Lauren, Paris Review, Nina Garcia were ringing in the new year early. Sarah Colonna hoped that 2014 would bring the Angels to the World Series and a win. Then He popped up!

“I used to spend countless hours picking out which outfit I was going to throw up all over on New Years Eve.”

It was Roberts’s favorite Hollywood Twitter Wit, Tony Gee.

Tony Gee: My New Years resolution is to just continue being fabulous.

RobertSF: @TheTonyGee that is not a resolution, that is a manifesto!

Tony Gee: @RobertSF you speak the #truth.

RobertSF: @TheTonyGee At lunch at The Cavalier and it is #TonyGeefabulous! Handsome waiters, want a photo?

TonyGee: Need I ask?

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TonyGee: Why is the waiter trying to escape?

RobertSF: That’s the back room.

TonyGee: What kind of place is this that has a back room?

RobertSF: A San Francisco kind of place. The Cavalier is the new IN spot in the City.

TonyGee: if you are there it is the IN spot.

RobertSF: You must come up sometime for lunch.

TonyGee: I will hire a private jet.

RobertSF: You will make a sensation when you enter the joint.

TonyGee: I make a sensation where ever I go even if it is just to the bathroom.

RobertSF: Oh yes, I forgot, you must be so very tired of causing glamour riots.

TonyGee” not at all, in fact I thrive of inciting glamour riots.

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When lunch arrived Robert sent Tony an Instagram of what he was about to consume. They had a wonderful time, the two friends who had never met in real life being WI-FI wits over fish and chips followed by piping hot coffee and doubly delicious Double Crusted Crumble. The age had arrived when one can lunch with someone who isn’t even there.

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Nowadays, when you can have lunch with a friend who isn’t there, you can also wear a scent inspired by a book that doesn’t exist.  The perfume house of Imaginary Authors is all about just such an imaginative approach to perfume. Each scent is named after a book and has a back story centered around the book and its author. Now that is taking the idea of fragrance as a story in a bottle to the maximum level. What could be more fragrant fun than that?

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AUDREY BLAVOT

1919 – 1999

Josh Meyer is the nose behind the house and I am happy to report that his work is beginning to find a lot of love with fragrance bloggers and YouTube reviewers. The big hits right now are Memoirs Of A Trespasser, and the just released Cape Heartache. Both are lovely to say the least, but I want to give some love to another in the line. The tragically beautiful L’Orchidée Terrible.  The “book” on which this perfume is inspired by is the tale of Honey Martine, English fashion model on a glamorous downward spiral in the fashion houses of Paris in the 1950’s.  And it quite possibly could be a thinly disguised autobiography of the author Audrey Blavot. Now what more could you ask for from an inspiration? High Glamour, high tragedy and haute couture are the order of the day.

The perfume opens with a nod to Ernest Beaux and the French Style with brilliant streamlined and modern aldehydes which do not fizz like champagne but pop like flashing paparazzi flashbulbs to announce the arrival of a star to center stage.  Clad in the synthetic but lovely note of Satin our star slithers over the skin awash in notes of golden honey, with a spray of muguet in her upswept hair. This is all in service to a sweet powdery orchid whose beauty is undeniable and the star note of the perfume.   What holds it all together and keeps it from careening into what would be a tragic over sweetness is the base of clean and warm white musk. It is scrubbed in white musk. It is very unique and at times angular, like the legendary supermodel of the 1950’s Dovima. The angularity of this perfume is what makes it so modern and fresh. L’Orchidée Terrible is all high cheekbones, poise and chic with a hint of danger in the undertones.

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Dovima

It remains linear on my skin and after the first hour moves in close lasting about seven hours. Like most niche perfumes L’Orchidée Terrible is marketed for both men and women. But to me it is walking the catwalk in heels and a ball gown.  But I suppose on the right guy on the right occasion it can be white tie and tails. Where ever it falls on the gender scale with your nose it is a beauty that should be explored. In fact the entire house of Imaginary Authors invites discovery and exploration.

L’Orchidée Terrible by Imaginary Authors Five Gold Stars *****

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IMAGINARY AUTHORS: http://www.imaginaryauthors.com/

THE CAVALIER: http://thecavaliersf.com/

Address: 360 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone:(415) 321-6000
FOLLOW TONY GEE ON TWITTER
HE IS LOADS OF FUN!
@theTonyGee

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 CRIME OF PASSION ~ Nautica Voyage

At the bracing first spay of Nautica Voyage it puts me in mind of sailing on a crisp bright spring morning on San Francisco Bay. Fog rolling like cotton ball breakers over the Golden Gate tasting of salt and meeting the low East Bay heat from the interior.  It swirls crisp and cold up over the water until it evaporates near Alcatraz Island. This is pretty typical for a spectacular spring day on the bay. Summer on the bay is colder still and only in fall is it really more like summer anywhere else but here. Well, like we say here in The City…If you don’t like the weather wait three days.

But Nautica is not all sunny spring or foggy summers. There is another side I picked up on from this fragrance, one of danger and excitement.

In the depth of winter there is another place that I find entrancing if a bit dangerous, Highway 1 just south of Pacifica on the way to Half Moon Bay. Devils Slide it is called and for a very good reason. In the fog or shattering rain the Slide is a thrill ride not easily forgotten. Every winter when the rains come some, of or all of it shears off with a great thunder crack of angred earth. Wrenched from its perch hundreds of feet above the storm torn Pacific it crashes into the sea taking everything that is on it with it down to the icy fingers of Poseidon. (He winters in California…I thought you knew that.)  And when I ride along this patch of the highway as a passenger in the midst of a winter squall I peer over the edge of the cliffs and grip the sides of the car seat wondering if we will survive the ride. It is on the worst teetering leaning parts of the curves of Devil’s Slide that I remember this is where Lana Turner and Anthony Quinn pushed Efrem Zimbalist Jr.’s car with him in it off the cliff in “Portrait in Black” I have never passed that spot without thinking that scene in the film. The wet rainy smell of the sea and the sage on the hills around this spot on Devil’s Slide is wonderful. Yet still, it is a lovely spot for a little murder.

 

The first spay from the beautiful bottle delivers a very brisk and cool Green Apple opening that delights the nose.  The middle notes are watery with sweet Mimose and Water Lily. The Mimose is not too sweet and just a hint of fruitiness. Once out of the water and on the beach you meet with the notes of amber, musk, cedar and Oakmoss. This is where that sage like scent that I mentioned comes in.  Nautica Lasts on my skin a good 7 to 8 hours and at the dry down the projection is not intrusive. At the end it is very close to the skin yet still can get a nice complement at the end of the day

(It was all just make believe! Lana with director Michael Gordon at Devil’s Slide.)

Nautica Voyage was a blind buy for me. What attracted me initially was the beauty of the bottle. How shallow am I? Very! Let’s face it; I have a fondness for beautiful things. But back on point now, I was pleasantly surprised by the truly refreshing fragrance. It is a great spring or summer scent. In winter it should only be worn to commit a crime of passion.

Four Solid Silver Stars ****

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