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Life Well Played

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An homage to the great designer Oscar de la Renta, whose favorite game was dominoes, Gentleman encapsulates all that he loved in life which was, by all accounts, a life well played.

Born Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo, Oscar del la Renta (1932 – 2014), was the Dominican-born American fashion designer who was the darling of the society set. Trained by Balenciaga and Castillo, he worked for Balmain and Lanvin before launching his own design house. The only thing more elegant than his fashions was the man himself—suave and charming, he understood women and made them look and feel fabulous. KEEP ON READING

Iris Quest: The Beginning

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Chandler Burr writes that iris is “liquid good taste” and that description has stuck in my mind when thinking about, and wearing iris fragrances. I am not a natural lover of the note, but lately I’ve been charmed by the silvery elegance it brings to any fragrance, as well as by its ability to manifest itself in a myriad of ways ranging from violet, leather, vegetable roots, cosmetic powder, wet earth, metal, rising damp, and even (disturbingly) dirty, unwashed hair. Depending on what notes iris is matched to and what materials have been used to recreate the smell of either the iris root or petals, iris can mean a hundred different things. KEEP ON READING

Palais Jamais: The Green that Chose Me

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I’m Irish and I have a secret: I don’t like the color green. Maybe it’s because it’s the color of the uniform that I had to wear day in, day out for eight years under the unforgiving glare of the nuns at the convent school I attended. Or maybe it’s because it’s the color of the grass in Ireland, which only got that way because it never stops raining. Personally, I blame my mother (don’t we all?) for making me ingest boiled-to-death kale at least twice a week until I was old enough to say, “No thanks, I’ll be having some of those French fries instead.” KEEP ON READING

Une Rose by Frederic Malle: Too Much Rose

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Une Rose by Frederic Malle


Une Rose by Frederic Malle

I have a confession to make, and I fear that my perfumista card is just about to be revoked, but here it is: I don’t like Frederic Malle’s Une Rose. Cue horrified gasps.

I know, I know. You don’t have to say anything. There’s already a sort of Greek chorus going back and forth in my head every time I wear it, and it goes something like this:

Une Rose is the most photorealistic rose in the world.

Yeah. It is. It is almost hyper-realistically real, especially in that first hour when it explodes onto your skin, all huge and red and dripping with dew. But here’s the thing. Despite the fact there are thousands of different cultivars of rose, about a hundred different species, and over four hundred separate chemical compounds or ‘flavonoids’ that make up a rose scent, my unsubtle mind persists in linking the smell of a damask rose with the bottle of cheap attar of roses my grandmother had on her vanity table for more than three decades. To me, the smell of the Bulgarian damask rose, when not mixed with other notes as in a chypre or oriental, will always be the old-fashioned smell I associate with closed-up front rooms, handkerchiefs scented with rose oil, pressed flowers, and powdery, grandmotherly bosoms. KEEP ON READING

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