My first stop in Milan was the big department store in the center of the city, on Piazza Duomo. Located in a beautiful old venue, La Rinascente is famous like Harrods in London or KaDeWe in Berlin. The ground floor is devoted to fragrances and cosmetics. There were renovations going on (remember, it is August and everything is at least partially closed, it seems!), so not the entire floor was open.
The fare at La Rinascente is pretty conventional on the perfume side, although I spent a good amount of time at the Acqua di Parma counter, sniffing my way through and aquiring samples (very generous SA!) and the Tom Ford counter, where a scarily close-to-the-real-deal Tom Ford look alike was on duty. On closer inspection, he was at least ten years younger than the original, but my heart skipped a few beats when I saw him, stopping in my tracks and preparing to be starstruck. He was looking incredibly like his apparent idol.
I smelled the now discontinued Moss Breches, they still have a few bottles left, and was sorely tempted, but then I didn’t go for it, the price is very high after all. I struggled even harder with wanting Amber Absolute, which is – of course – totally my thing, but I have many a similar amber already in my closet, so I passed here as well, although Amber Absolute has its fixed place on the eternal wishlist.
The cosmetics department had some very nice lines that are not found everywhere, namely Burberry and Dolce&Gabbana, I happily swatched my way through the lipstick offerings and left a happy woman with a quite recent new release, Burberry Lip Mist in Cinnamon.
After the unlucky visit to Calé (I was separated from Brezza di Seta only by a glass front!), I discovered a small profumeria, La Vecchia Milano, as I mentioned in my previous Milan post. This “mom and pop” store had a sizable niche collection, featuring (and that list is by no means complete) Bois 1920, Molinard, Washington Tremlett, Geo F. Trumper, Creed, Robert Piguet, Knize, Mark Birley, Etro, Nicolai, Hanbury, Laura Tonnato, Odori, Brousseau, Caron, Dr Vranjes, Eau de Pierlot and Guerlains in perfume concentrations and rare limited bottle editions.
A fragrance fanatics paradise…
I smelled some Bois 1920 scents, with Sushi Imperiale the strongest in my mind, for its name more than the scent itself, although it was nice. I smelled Bal á Versailles (not for me, as I suspected, but still a must-smell for Perfumistas), and swooned over various Guerlain extraits.
In a cupboard near the floor, hidden behind a desk were bottles of Yohi Homme, which is coveted by many, and Gucci L’Arte de Gucci, also Dior bottles from at least the eighties.
The proprietor was very nice, she spoke no English or German and my Italian is unfortunately only good enough to order food. She let me look and smell to my hearts content, though. Perfume lovers need no words to communicate.
Later that same day, we went to 10 Corso Como. 10 Corso Como is a lifestyle store, a concept store, what ever you call it. Almost invisible from the street you have to go into a courtyard, where here is a beautiful café amidst lots of trees and greenery, further in, there is the beautiful black and white glass surface dominated store. They sell pretty much everything that can be designed – clothes, jewellery, handbags, furniture, toys and tada! – Perfume!
Their niche selection is pretty comprehensive and includes L’Artisan Parfumeur, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, L’Agent Provocateur, Serge Lutens, Roger Vivier, By Kilian, Diptyque, Honorè des Pres, Jo Malone Home Scents and Comme des Garcons.
I was pleasantly surprised to find long discontinued scents there too, (or at least testers of them, I didn’t inquire further) for example L’Artisan Fleurs de Narcisse 2006 (no love lost for me here), Iris Pallida 2007 and Fleurs D’Oranger 2007, or Comme des Garcons Calamus by Bertrand Duchaufour (truly lovely, should have asked whether they still had it, but one knows always better after leaving). I smelled and applied Serge Lutens Chêne on one arm, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue pour le Matin on the other. I will try to acquire samples of both. Of course I tried the house scent 10 Corso Como, but was a bit underwhelmed, it might be nice but did not leave a huge impression upon first sniff either on paper or hand, at least that first impression did not propel me to buy it in the least and they wouldn’t part with a sample. Well, their loss.
The By Kilian display was so beautiful, I was compelled to stay and smell the roses, or rather Rose Oud and liked it, although I find it very much like so many other rose and oud combinations out there. And I gave Back to Black another chance and lo and behold – I did a complete 180 and liked it, a lot. But fear not, that is not the bottle I brought home, I am not that mad to invest in such an expensive perfume when I had mixed reactions to it. (I think you can call blank horror and pleasant surprise, a mixed reaction.) but I am inspired to give my By Kilian set another go, right now I am wearing Cruel Intentions quite happily, oud or no oud.
I left 10 Corso Como armed with a heap of blotters and a satisfied smile, and my boys strolled out nonchalantly weaving fans that had been presented to them by courteous sales assistants, when they collapsed in a heap on some sofa immediately upon entering the premises.
Before we left that hot city, busy with tourists and empty of Italians in August again, I skipped once more into La Rinascente and purchased a bottle of Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile. Review will come up soon (ish). Only so much, my dear husband loves it, and it has proven beneficial in many a way, to keep him happy.