Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Perfume hunting – north Italy

It is so that once you get into perfumes every trip becomes a perfume hell and haven. I would get in a new town and start hunting for perfume stores, with my family following me confused because at this point I wouldn't care for anything else, architecture, atmosphere, nothing. I need to check all possible perfume stores. When I find one I know at a glance if I want to check it or not, mainstream or I go on with my hunting.
What I have learnt over last 2 years is that you have to give any perfume shop a chance. You don't know what you can find, thrown in a corner.

Take this one in Riva de Garda, Italy. Looked pretty mainstream from outside. I went in and first of all I see Cabaret of Parfume Gres (which I didn't have the chance to try yet). Looking better, they have Black Cashmere of DK (which is almost impossible to find in Germany), there is Theorema Fendi and there is Calandre Paco Rabanne. The shop had also leather goods in a next room and I just gave it a short look and there, in the corner, there is the heaven. I started shaking, I could see Lanvin, My Sin from far away. Old packs of My Sin nobody wants and for almost nothing. And there is also Asja Fendi, Eau de Cologne and Bel Ami Hermes, Ma Liberte Patou, some Gres parfums from eighties, Parfum Sacre Caron. All old packs. Do you know how that feels like? I go to Schnitzler in Düsseldorf or Galerie Laffayette in Berlin and I know what I can expect. I check the websites in advance and I'm looking forward to certain perfumes, what I want to check. But to find such a goldmine without any warning, huh, that's overwhelming.
That was my beloved perfume shop for a week, the ladies in there where really nice, let me try whatever I wanted as many times a day I needed it.

And I talk about the nice ladies because around Garda Lake the ladies in shops are not always nice. In Riva, too, small shop, I see Serge Lutens in the window so that's a sign it might be something more in there. Sonja Rickiel and then I can see old bottles of Diorissimo and some Patou's. And other, I can't remember. Because the lady would stay in front of them and not even move while I try to have a closer look. She was waiting for me to live. The shop was empty and didn't look like big business anyway.

Or Verona, there is this wonderful shop: Amouage, Lostmarch', Montale, Clive Christian, Killian, Penhaligon's and Floris, most of L'Artisan etc. Wonderful! Three tourists were trying different perfumes, the ladies in the shop being very helpful. As soon as they left the ladies in the shop rolled their eyes and made remarks. And that in front of me, a customer! It was the same with me, they were nice and got me whatever I wanted. Which was overall Geste of Humiecki&Graff (I live in Germany and here is almost no chance to see Humiecki&Graff, you have to go to Italy for it!). I don't even care what they did after I left. I was happy with Geste on my wrist (not great sillage, though).

It was on my last day of holidays that I checked in Riva some other shops, looking randomly at some clothes. And, wow, in the back of small boutiques, I found Ineke and Crishian Clive in one and Lorenzo Villoressi in another. Just little miracles.
Which made my trip to Italy. Plus the best olive oil money can buy. And three pairs of italian shoes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Histoires de Parfums

What it struck me first at Histoires de Parfums was how effortlessly modern they are. No, I don't want to make a cheap pun here. Now it doesn't matter the name of the company. I just found myself thinking, yes, this is how all these modern mainstream perfumes thrown on the market everyday should smell. These are modern perfumes. And I say that, my most beloved perfumes are between 85 and over 100 years old. But if it was to be new, modern, that would be.

First of all, they smell like perfume. You put them on, any of them (didn't try though the last ones, Moulin Rouge and Tubereuses) and you smell of good perfume. You don't go for experiments, innovation. You don't go for classic either. It's nothing too less or too much. You smell like a lady with a good perfume on.
Secondly, they don't smell artificial. I understand that most of perfumes use synthetic ingredients. I also understand that there are huge differences between the quality of these synthetic ingredients, as goes for natural ones, too. While in most of the new perfumes I can detect immediately the artificial, the plastic notes, or be bothered by bad quality of naturals (like jasmine sometimes) Histoires de Parfums avoids that in all their perfumes. Either I found them be my taste or not, it was not one of them to feel like washing it up because I can't stand it.

And most important, Histoires de Parfums smell like modern which can become classic. They don't smell like big innovation, it's rather that they take what is new and make it real perfume, more complex, wearable, easy, elegant, warm on skin. And they don't yell. For me this is what Jacques Guerlain would have liked today. For tomorrow, too.

And now coming to the outer appearance, all the image concept is great. I like the name and I like the packaging. I would love to have a boutique and sell these sophisticated bottles. I prefer them around ten thousand more then By Kilian, for example, which I wouldn't dare to offer as a gift to anyone.

PS I try Histores de Parfums now and then. Today, still being in my spring hunting for a proper perfume, I tried Collete, 1873. I was hooked by the smell on the skin, on the paper keeps the grapefruit for too long and dominant. And few minutes ago I went to Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez' 'Guide' and what I read: '1873 runs a close second' after 'Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune which is the most successful fragrance ever built around (…) grapefruit peel'. AND!!! `the basic structure is a beautiful orange-blossom oriental that shares something with L'Heure Bleue'. I knew it! My beloved L'Heure Bleue.