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Last Dance: Arquiste’s Ella (2016)

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If you want me to pay attention to a new perfume release, all you need to do is tell me that it is a revival of the chypres of the 1970’s. Ella, a 2016 release from Arquisite designed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, stakes a forceful claim to this legacy: according to its creators, its sources of inspiration are said to be Armando’s Le Club, Acapulco, Mexico, in December 1978, on a “a sultry night of disco, plunging necklines and champagne-soaked skin.”

Harmony and Me–We’re Pretty Good Company

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Parisian Niche House The Harmonist Opens Doors in Feng Shui-Compliant Los Angeles

It was with some trepidation—and excitement—that I entered the beautiful Los Angeles boutique of The Harmonist, a Paris-based niche perfume house using the ancient Asian concept of Feng Shui as its creative brief.  I mean, I am a middle-aged Aries with a penchant for powerhouse masculines and an inability to tolerate Bikram yoga—just how harmonious am I going to get?

The boutique is in trendy Melrose Place (the only other location besides their Avenue George V flagship) and is truly beautiful.  Sleek, pared down luxury completely realized in black and white (the Yin and Yang about which much more is to come) only relieved by the green of counter tops in precious malachite and plants growing in hanging glass terraria.  The Paris-trained staff, led by the amiable and knowledgeable Erasmo and Bobbi (also in pared down, luxurious black and white attire), patiently take you through the complex, yet simple, inspiring world that is The Harmonist. KEEP ON READING

Same same but different: Féminité du Bois from Shiseido and Serge Lutens

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The life of Féminité du Bois is far from being boring and some big names from perfume industry are connected to it. In 1992 Shiseido created the scent under the supervision of Serge Lutens who has collaborated with them since the `80s as a designer and make-up artist. He had a huge impact on the image of the brand and I remember vividly those ads that became emblematic for Shiseido with lithe models in stretch black costumes posing in a theatrical manner. An year before, in 1991 Lutens has already launched his own brand presenting the first scent Santal de Mysore and in 1992 he added a few wonderful creations all inspired by the wood theme called “Bois” (de Violette, Musc, Fuits, Oriental and Sepia) – all sharing the same DNA with the classic Féminité du Bois from Shiseido – proving that the original had a successful recipe. An interesting aspect is that Shiseido`s version was created by Pierre Bourdon in partnership with Christopher Sheldrake who later moved as in house perfumer at Lutens. After that both perfumers, Bourdon and Sheldrake made other versions of Féminité du Bois – Sheldrake made that Bois series while Bourdon Dolce Vita for Dior a happy scent which despite many reformulations still maintains a cheerful sun infused character.

So Shiseido`s and Lutens versions coexisted for more then a good decade until Shiseido decided to remove it from production somewhere around the mid 2000`s (I have no official information, but I remember in 2006 it was still available in Germany and I cannot tell you how much I regretted later not buying a few bottles) and concentrate instead on the crowd pleaser Zen collection that now includes numerous editions (although none of them manages to beat the original woody-rose from 1964).

Photo credit: "Mreaja" by Georgeta Ranga
Photo credit: “Mreaja” by Georgeta Ranga


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