People who are stimulated and inspired by perfume usually have more than a few other louche interests on the go. With the portals to sybarite pleasures thrown wide open, why stop at fragrance? Elena from Perfume Shrine recognized this by inviting a group of fume bloggers to share their fall favorites across the sensory spectrum.
Does makeup count as a sensory discovery? In my book (admittedly an absurd, rather disjointed book) it does. I'm absolutely twitterpated over the Burberry Beauty line after I had a chance to fully explore it when I was at Harrods in London three weeks ago. My initiation was the Lip Glow lipgloss in Brick Red, which I think is THE perfect terracotta/coral/rose (the red in this particular brick is well-faded by the sun). I'd scored it at the South Coast Plaza Nordstrom, which is one of only eight stores in the US that carries the Burberry Beauty line.
I've worn the Brick Red lipgloss in most of my YouTube videos for the past nine months or so, and I love how it gives my lips a pillowy and youthfully smooth look without any yack-attack glitter, sparkle, or other gleamy crud. It's well-pigmented, and thick enough to stay put without making you feel like your mouth is covered in flypaper. The only drawback is the smell, which strikes me at first as a bit wash-your-mouth-out soapy. But the soap fades soon enough, and I'm just happy that it doesn't smell like a Little Tree version of caramel-dipped strawberries, or whatever else often funks up a perfectly serviceable gloss.
After my devotion to the Brick Red lipgloss, I was keen to explore the rest of the line when I stumbled upon it at Harrods. Here's what I ended up with -
Heather Rose lipgloss: a my-lips-but-better, deep, muted rose that doesn't skew too cadaver purple or (90s) soccer mom brown.
Brown Sugar Lip Mist sheer lipstick: A++! If you've toiled in the lipstick mines for as many years as I have, you'll know that sheer lipsticks are either too greasy or too dry, often come in simplistic colors without a lot of depth, and seem to rely on horrid white shimmer to compensate for the aforementioned lack of depth. Not Burberry Lip Mists! They're creamy and gleamy without metallic shine or too much slip, and the colors are sophisticated. Brown Sugar is kind of a caramel-raspberry shade that looks polished. Anyone who can't handle drying matte lipsticks but steers clear of glosses should run crying with joy towards the Lip Mists.
Porcelain eyeshadow: a pale peach that reads as amplified perfect skin (on my skin color, anyway). I wear it as a wash over my eyelids, and it has a marvelous gleam that reads as “dewy aliveness” rather than “crepe-exaggerating hooker frost.” The Burberry eyeshadows are so stunningly finely-milled that they almost feel like cream when you touch them in the pan. (Hey! That part fits in with “Sensory Discovery”, right?)
Rosewood eyeshadow: a purplish taupe with more of a metallic shimmer than Porcelain. A daytime color that suggests nighttime mystery.
Midnight Black mascara: when the SA told me this was the best-selling item in the line, she'd nailed me in full, self-indulgent flow, so I bought it. No buyer's remorse here. It makes my lashes look defined and feathery, not showgirl/party doll clumpy. I'm well aware that many ladies put in long hours precisely so that they can achieve the showgirl/party doll look, but not me. I aim for the appearance of a multitude of luscious dark lashes feathering my eyes, not 4 black spikes jutting out from each socket like I've just been drawn by Matt Groening:
And lash lusciousness is what the Burberry mascara (with its not-too-fat, not-too-skinny wand) gives me.
I'm not Mrs. Grandma Tea-Drinker or Crunchy Health Beaver Tisane-Sipper or anything (though I will admit to brewing a strong cup of Bedtime tea well before bedtime when the going gets rough). But ye gods how I flipped for this rose petal oolong tea, impulsively chosen at the Miller Harris perfume shop and tea room in Mayfair.
Sometimes, rose in food or drink is just too perfumey, like that rosewater ice cream I keep trying at Mashti Malone's in Los Angeles. But Lyn Harris' Thé Pétales is the ideal balance of lush, winey roses and clarifying tea. The flowers never overpower the tea leaves. Drinking it is a joyously synesthetic experience.
Just today I smelled the three latest additions to Frédéric Malle's candle range, and they're fascinating enough to tempt me away from my “no scented candles in the house” rule. (Too much clashing potential with my perfumes, doncha know.) The candles further Malle's interest in interpreting the atmosphere of beloved places, both real and imaginary. Here's what M. Malle has lined up for us -
Notre Dame: frankincense and myrrh, brothers and sisters, frankincense and myrrh. I immediately “need” this one. As an inveterate incense lover, I've been circling Cire Trudon's Spiritus Sancti for a few years, another candle in the grand cathedral mode. Spiritus Sancti is rather harsh and aldehydic, even borderline ugly. But within Notre Dame's austerity is loveliness. The myrrh weaves sweet humanity throughout the icy frankincense. The combination is hugely resinous, but not smoky. Notre Dame also captures a mineral quality that suggests cold stones unburdened by sunshine. Count me as a believer.
Marius and Jeannette: named after a 1997 French film about a working class couple in Marseille gingerly overcoming their emotional baggage in their search for love. I've not seen Marius and Jeannette the movie, but I've smelled Marius and Jeannette the candle, and can tell you that it's a crisp, clean, lilting waft of Pastis, the aniseed liqueur. I don't have any Pastis, but I do have a bottle of Vintage bourbon, which is what I'm drinking now. Which goes beautifully with the third candle -
Chez Monsieur: classy French expression for “man cave”, this one took a little time for me to warm up to. The punchy, mentholated patchouli and worn leather first struck me as “gum-snapper in a recliner” - which fits perfectly with “man cave”, as it happens. But as the patchouli opened up into friendly herbal dirt and the leather into more of an intimate, tough-guy skin smell, Chez Monsieur reasserted itself. So evocative of a rough-hewn yet handsome fellow, you'll be looking around the room for him as Chez Monsieur burns. Out of the three new candles, this is the one I'd love to smell as a fragrance - preferably on a man, chez monsieur.
Click on the links to read participating bloggers' favorite fall sensory delights:
Top photo: Alison Goldfrapp with owl friend