Mansur Gavriel Backpack And Nothing Much Else To Say…

Hello my dear readers,

I have been silent again for a while, and the reason for that is mostly that I don’t feel I have anything to say. It is not a good feeling but definitely one powerful enough to keep me away from the computer.

It might be lazyness, it might be a need for privacy at the moment, what ever it is, I have to drag myself to the keyboard. (Interestingly once I am finally there, it is not half as bad as I thought, it is the getting to it part that I fail in so miserably.)

So since I am here, I want to show you a few pics of my birthday gift, a Mansur Gavriel backpack in black with red lining (black/flamma). Since I am on crutches most of the time since last week, I could not be happier with the perfect timing of this practical bag, at least I am able to carry stuff despite the crutches and I look rather stylish to boot. ;)

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Beautiful AND practical.

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A drawstring closure without any hardware and a peek at the gorgeous inside colour (it is a special kind of paint coating over raw leather.

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A peek inside: I use a MaiTai Collecion insert to protect the bag and organize my stuff. The Bolide insert is a perfect fit!

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How are you doing? Do you know this kind of procrastination/don’t start writing problem?

What is new with you?

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments

Bejewelled: Review – Ann Gérard Rose Cut

By Tara

I first encountered Rose Cut at the Perfume Lovers London “Roses Revisited” event. We tried an awful lot of rose fragrances that evening so it must have made an impression for me to request a sample.

I think the Ann Gérard bottles are particularly stylish.

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Parisian jeweller Ann Gérard released her first collection of three fragrances in 2012. They were composed by her long-time customer and friend, Bertrand Duchaufour.

Rose Cut (also by Duchaufour) joined the trio in 2014. It is named after a very old technique of cutting diamonds which creates radiance and gives the gemstone the appearance of a rose.

I rather like this quote from Ann Gérard about who she envisions wearing this scent:

“Rose Cut is for someone that knows what she wants. I imagine that she smokes and drinks and is very powerful.”

The composition contains notes of aldehydes, rum, pink pepper, rose, peony, patchouli, vanilla, oak wood and benzoin.

Rose Cut unfurls with a steady trickle of booze, giving you a hint that this rose is not as innocent as it first appears. It lends the fragrance an immediate depth and this sweet rum accord persists well into the heart.

I thought I’d also get a big dose of aldehydes but the effect of that classic accord is a lot more subtle. It gives the scent luminosity around the edges, like diamonds glittering on velvet petals.

The rose is fruity and softly sweet with an almost cosmetic feel. It takes centrestage in the first couple of Acts. As Rose Cut develops, the mood shifts and it becomes darker. It transforms on the skin into something less feminine and more complex.

As it dries down, the fruity rose starts to recede and there is a noticeable aroma of what I noted down as “spiced sawdust” (Victoria of Bois de Jasmin is more precise, referring to cinnamon and incense ashes). This resinous, slightly smoky facet is quite a contrast to the sweet, feminine rose. Earthy patchouli is also part of the setting which conspires to accentuate the beauty of the central bloom.

The base is spicy/musky with accents of rose and a touch of vanilla.

Whilst wearing, I experience an enticing scent trail and excellent longevity for an Eau de Parfum.

Overall I admire Rose Cut, but I’m not a big fan of boozy notes and the spicy/ashy accord doesn’t really appeal. Therefore once the rose starts to retreat, so do I. All the same, I’m impressed by its quality and distinctive structure. I also like how it’s a little debauched and seductive.

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Rose Cut possesses a modern edge and could well please those seeking a rose fragrance that has sophistication and mystique but wears both lightly.

See Olfactoria’s reviews of Cuir de Nacre and Perle de Mousse from Ann Gérard.

Do you know Rose Cut or any of the other Ann Gérard fragrances?

Posted in Ann Gerard, By Tara, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Daydreaming – Review: Guerlain Mitsouko Vintage Parfum de Toilette

Hi Olfactoria’s Travellers,

Portia in the OT house from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse (and now writing for My Perfume Samples too).

Mitsouko, Mitsouko, Mitsouko.

I’m currently sitting in the cool of the evening after a beautiful sunny Sydney autumn day of 24C. It was a lovely day to be out and about and I got a bunch of stuff done on my list. In the early evening Jin and I went to the local hardware conglomerate and grabbed some stuff for his work, some stuff to do some work for dear mates of mine and looked at some other stuff for our new home. Then we came home and heated up some leftover Chinese take away for dinner and after that I went and soaked in the bath. It was a perfect slow day, no rush for anything but loads got done.

Now the household is in bed and I am alone in my office and currently trying to wear fragrance from my full bottles. So it was a big spritz to the chest event with my very precious vintage Mitsouko.

Boy, was it worth it…

Mitsouko Extract Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Citruses, jasmine, bergamot, rose
Heart: Lilac, peach, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose
Base: Spices, amber, cinnamon, vetiver, oakmoss

Oh oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, as the bright sparkling citruses burst out of the gate, it doesn’t take very long though before Mitsouko is breathy and heady and a whirling me away to la la land.

This is my fourth spritz because I keep being mesmerised by the unbelievable beauty of Mitsouko with full earthy and animal growl. I often read about the mad peachy note of Mitsouko and sometimes I get loads of it, especially in the more modern versions, but tonight it almost passes me by in favour of the ylang, white breathy flowers, fruit (but not really peach tonight), animal and oakmoss.

Mitsouke PdT Guerlain portiaPortia’s Photo

My mind wanders… I’m a fairy Queen…  a soldier fighting in the rainforests of some hot island… There’s a funkiness to Mitsouko PdT both austere and highly sexually charged… a 1920s mother of the high society bride… I smell the moss, dark and furry and slightly feral… Jurassic Park, how I loved Richard Attenborough in that, and in Elizabeth staring our Cate Blanchett…

If you were watching a fragrance map of the world that worked like a heat map I think this wonderful and enormous powerhouse would be blaring in the orange/red spectrum. I’m finding it hard to keep my hands typing because I really just want to sit here and bask in the magic, the Mitsouko magic. Damn it, I’m going to…….

Mitsouke PdT Guerlain Paul Orangutang relaxing FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Black Narcissus
FragranceNet has modern EdT $32/30ml
My Perfume Samples have modern EdP starting at $2/ml

What is your vintage poison? What would you give to have a litre of it?
Portia xxx

Posted in By Portia, Chypre, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Monday Question – How Was You Weekend And Which Perfume Did You Wear?

Once a month I ask you about your weekend. How was it?

What did you do?

Which perfume(s) did you wear?

  
My Answer:

It was unbelievably hot in Vienna this past weekend (still is!) and we escaped to Neusiedler See, a lake in Burgenland, about an hour from the city. Not that it was any cooler there, but at least the boys had fun playing pirates and water police.

I was unlucky enough to tear a muscle in my calf last Wednesday, so I am on crutches, a great workout in 33 degree weather, I can tell you. ;)

Perfume-wise, I am really happy with Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès and L’Eau Neroli, a pretty orange blossom by Diptyque.

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , | 45 Comments

Singular Scents – Review: Demeter The Library of Fragrance

By Tara

Earlier this year, my fabulous friend Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume was quite rightly nominated for a Jasmine Award by The Fragrance Foundation.

She was shortlisted in the Blogger category for her fantastic post “Men and (Wet) Sheds: dipping into The Library of Fragrance in a focus group down the pub”. This covered a lively discussion about a selection of Demeter fragrances among Vanessa’s “civilian” friends. It’s highly entertaining and a must-read.

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Here is my rather more prosaic take on some of the same scents.

Thunderstorm

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This fragrance first of all conjures up the slightly metallic, electrified atmosphere just before the storm breaks, as well as a touch of ozone. Then as the heavens open, we get petrichor – that wonderful musty, earthy smell you encounter when rain first drenches the hot, dusty ground.

Thunderstorm is very much an aroma I recognise from a summer downpour in the city. Amazingly realistic, if not something I’d actually want to wear as a personal fragrance.

Sex on the Beach

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I love the fact that Vanessa thought this captured the aroma of people having sex on a beach rather than the far less titillating tropical cocktail it’s actually named after.

I can appreciate her disappointment. Sex on the Beach is a facile fruity perfume which smells sweet and artificial. It’s largely strawberry flavoured syrup without any hint of booze whatsoever. Rather more cordial than cocktail.

Fresh Ginger

Wooden spoon with grated ginger, ginger root against a wooden board

Whoa! Yes, this is ginger all right. A bright opening which is a cross between the grated root and ginger biscuits, plus a dash of lemon.

Sadly it fades extremely quickly and you’re left with a barely there, gently spicy, skin scent.

Rain

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Here comes the rain! Well, actually here comes the calone.

Rain basically smells of watery melon pulp. This accord often indicates the presence of calone; an aromachemical used in many aquatic perfumes such as L’Eau d’Issey.

It’s not my idea of a pleasant aroma but it gets a bit better as it becomes a little earthy in the dry down. It’s very light and not a patch on Thunderstorm.

Amber

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I think Demeter are at their best when they capture novel aromas. As we all know, amber is a common fragrance accord and so this is rather uninspiring. It’s a vanillic amber with a rather unpleasant medicinal tinge in the opening stage.

For me, Amber was the least interesting of the bunch. However the fact that it is extremely light may make it good for layering with some of the others.

Orange Blossom

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Like Amber, we are used to orange blossom perfumes. This one is sweet. sunny and easy to wear. It’s rather syrupy but it isn’t the shrill, soapy scent I expected it to be.

Overall, it’s not half bad for an inexpensive orange blossom fragrance with better lasting power than most of the others.

Fig Leaf

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This is a fig cologne with surprising depth; refreshing, fruity and green.

It’s the one out of these seven that feels most like a “proper perfume”. Fig lovers may wish to check it out as a potential cheap thrill.

Fig Leaf could make a good casual option on warm weekends and days when you’re less bothered about longevity and complexity.

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed testing out these Demeter fragrances. No doubt this was in large part because of the high novelty factor of the more abstract scents.

Generally, they don’t last long but treat them as fun, fleeting colognes and you need not be disappointed, especially considering the price-point. The quirky ones can also be great conversation starters, as Vanessa’s post proves.

Have you tried anything from The Fragrance Library? Please tell me your experience in the comments.

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Monday Question – What Was The Last Good Movie You Have Seen?

What movie, no matter if old or new, did leave an impression with you?

Which movie would you recommend to everyone?

What is your must-see movie?

And finally, which movie would you recommend to watch with kids?

  
My Answer:

I used to go to the cinema often, but since I have kids it is a lot harder to get around to. Thank goodness for Netflix! :)

So I didn’t watch any recent movies to my great chagrin, but for an all time must see movie I would recommend the following: Dead Poets’ Society, The Hours and Four Weddings And A Funeral for some light relief.

Yesterday we watched Back to the Future with the kids, who loved it of course. Michael J. Fox is always a great bet.

What is your favorite movie of all time or just of right now?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , | 75 Comments

Hommage à Bertrand Duchaufour, Perfume Lovers London at October Gallery – Thursday 21st May 2015

By Tara

Bertrand Duchaufour is one of the world’s most well known and prolific perfumers. Who better to lead this sniff-along guide to his work than perfume specialist Nick Gilbert. Not only does he have great knowledge of Duchaufour’s work but he also knows him in a professional capacity through his position as Penhaligon’s Fragrance Ambassador. As always, the evening was hosted by Lila das Gupta.

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Here is an abbreviated version of the evening.

Nuit de Tubereuse, L’Artisan Parfumeur

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Nick: I’ve been lucky to spend time with Bertrand in his lab, so of course the first question I asked him was “What is the perfume you think is your masterpiece?” He answered “Nuit de Tubereuse”.

Nuit de Tubereuse is not a syrupy or hot white floral. There’s strangely dark incense, a slight amount of coconut and fleshy mango. Ripe luminous notes against dark incense.

Lila: This is the only tuberose perfume I adore. You get all that night air along with the florals. It’s slightly green as well. I only wear it in the summer.

Edmond Roudnitska said to Mona di Orio that to understand tuberose she had to experience it at night. So Mona slept with a tuberose plant in her room. She woke up during the night and thought there was someone with her but it was the tuberose!

Signature pour Femme, S.T. Dupont

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Lila: This is “Early Bertie”, an example of Bertrand’s early work.

Nick: S.T. Dupont are a pen and lighter company and Signature came out in 2008. Signature is a weirdly bright floral with sticky, fruity tulip. There are certain themes in Bertrand’s work. He has an affinity with resinous notes.

Lila: Can you tell us a bit about Bertrand’s background?

Nick: He grew up in Auvergne in the South of France where the narcissus fields inspired him to become a perfumer. Recently, he made Ostara for Penhaligon’s which is based on narcissus.

He’s been kind of the in-house perfumer at L’Artisan/Penhaligon’s since 2008 but is free to work with other brands. It feels like every niche house has at least one fragrance by Bertrand.

Signature becomes really petal-ly on the skin over time, quite jasmine-like. It’s quite interesting for a mainstream fragrance.

Lila: It’s actually rather nice.

Sartorial, Penhaligon’s

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Nick: Bertrand is so unique because he can create amazingly atmospheric fragrances based on a particular place or memory.

Sartorial was released in 2010 and even as someone who is not a fan of the traditional fougère, I can appreciate that this is amazing. A fougère is a fern based fragrance which goes back to 1882’s Fougére Royale (Houbigant).

Bertrand based Sartorial on his visit to a tailor’s workroom. It’s a fougère but there’s also something tweedy and leathery about it. There are so many elements including chalk, woodiness (for the tables they cut the patterns on) and a metallic note but it’s still smooth.

Audience member: I think it’s one of his Top 3.

Nick: It’s very popular with Japanese women for some reason.

Audience member: It would work well on a man who wears a suit.

Copal Azur, Aedes de Venustas

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Lila: Aedes de Venustas is a baroque perfume shop in New York. It’s a temple of loveliness.

Nick: Bertrand is amazing at incense. You probably know he did the Incense Series for Comme des Garcons.

Copal Azur shows just what he can do with incense. It’s so multi-faceted. It has all the resins, greenness and an orange quality you notice when you drink frankincense. It’s a dry, austere incense, not smoky.

Lila: I think it’s fabulous.

Audience member: I can smell bay leaf.

Nick: Copal Azur is a really wearable incense. Bertrand likes to use an accord in a lot of fragrances made up of pink peppercorn, vetiver, cardamom and incense. It gives them a lot of space.

Eau d’Italie, Eau d’Italie

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Nick: Eau d’Italie is one of my favourite brands and I think it’s underappreciated. This is the original fragrance launched in 2005 which was commissioned by the owners of a luxury hotel on the cliffs in Positano.

It was intended to capture the smell of Positano so it’s breezy with a bright freshness. There’s incense from the church, greenery and terracotta from the cliffs and a mineral facet. It’s incredible on skin.

Vaara, Penhaligon’s

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Nick: Bertrand loves to travel and created a whole range of scents for L’Artisan based on travel.

Vaara for Penhaligon’s was created to replicate the aromas at the Maharaja’s summer palace in Jodhpur.  It’s a stunning fruity rose with a mineral facet underneath.

Lila: It’s lovely and pretty.

Trayee, Neela Vermeire Creations

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Nick: Bertrand also explored India with Neela Vermeire. She went to him because she knew he had an attachment to India. Trayee has dark spices, dry incense and resins.

Lila: There’s also a basmati rice note.

Nick: It’s almost popcorn-like.

Audience member: It’s a bit metallic.

Nick: Bertrand likes a mineral note.

Traversée du Bosphore, L’Artisan

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Nick: Traversée du Bosphore is another one of Bertrand’s travelogues. It’s based on Istanbul and has apple, Turkish Delight, tulip and leather.

Lila: I really want to love it but the metallic note puts me off.

Lothair, Penhaligon’s

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Nick: Continuing the travel theme we are going further east to Shanghai. I would not be true to the narcissistic way I see myself if I didn’t include this. Lothair was my idea.

We had to come up with names for a Trades Route collection and I had a model of a tea clipper, The Cutty Sark, in my living room when growing up. So Lothair captures the breeze, the waves and the tea. It’s fresh and salty. There’s a bright herbal accord which adds to the breezy element. A minty green adds a fig accord. There’s lots of cardamom, incense, grapefruit and juniper.

It’s massively popular. I’m thrilled.

Audience member: It’s airy and ozonic.

Nick: But not aquatic, which is hard to do.

Jubilation XXV Man, Amouage

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Nick: This is the men’s version, the women’s was done by someone else. It’s obviously made of good materials.

Lila: It’s gorgeous. I like everything from Amouage.

Nick: It’s rich, animal incense.

Audience member: It’s quite old school.

Audience member: It’s very traditional. It reminds me of my dad.

Lila: It’s not a young man’s fragrance.

Dzongkha, L’Artisan

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Nick: I think Dzongkha is Bertrand’s masterpiece. It’s a weird fragrance based on the foothills of the mountains in Bhutan. Dry leather, cool mountain air, cut green capsicums, iris, incense and lychee. It’s the most atmospheric and evocative fragrance he’s ever made.
I’ve gone through about 6 bottles and I’m not someone who uses up perfume.

Audience member: It’s a nose-gasm. It evolves, it lasts.

Nick: It’s dry, crisp, cold, leathery and earthy with a mineral facet.

Lila: It smells better on people.

Audience member: It’s very iris-y.

Lila: Yes, a bready iris.

That rounded off the guided sniff, after which we were free to further explore these and other fragrances created by Duchaufour.

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Many thanks to Nick (who is always a fun and fabulous speaker) and to Lila for putting the event together. Also special thanks to Basenotes and Poshpac who are two of the sponsors that make these fab evenings possible.

How do you get on with Bertrand Duchaufour’s fragrances? Do you have any in your collection? Please tell me in the comments.

Posted in By Tara | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Beauty Is Something Unexpected – Review: Le Galion 222

Heya Travelers of Olfactoria,

Portia with you from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse (and now writing for My Perfume Samples too).

Not long ago here in Australia we had Nicolas Chabot come to meet us and talk about the resurrection of the Le Galion house of fragrance. There have been plenty of houses given a new lease of life this century and some of their back stories are even nearly true. Le Galion though has a very definite past to be resurrected and it was quite a famous crew, their most popular fragrance Sortilege can be found on eBay if you look hard and sometimes you see one for sale on a doc in Facebook Fragrance Friends.

That they were the company responsible for a lot of the DIOR juice and that some of their innovations went on to become the base of some blockbuster perfumes is apparently quite true.

Nicolas worked with the original perfumer, Paul Vacher, and the daughter of the Le Galion founder and brought in Thomas Fontaine to help recreate the fragrances with modern materials and bringing them up to date. If you are a stalwart Le Galion lover from its former incarnation and expect the new fragrances to be exactly what you smelled 50 years ago you won’t be impressed. If you take a moment to really think about it though you’ll understand that they had to do some compromising, fair enough.

222 by Thomas Fontaine for Le Galion 2014

222 Le Galion  FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Violet
Heart: Myrrh, styrax, lavender, geranium
Base: Coumarin, oakmoss, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, leather

Violet, that softly sweet green twinkle. Recently a few of us were talking about how violet can remind me of iris, heliotrope and lilac; especially when it’s mixed in with other stuff. Here though it feels like the violet is the star, maybe with a little citrus, a little smoke and some aldehydes to buoy the opening up. It doesn’t stay that way for long but 222 is so beautiful and angelic in the opening that you’ll wish it lasted longer.

As the heart comes through in a swirling dance of resinous smoky lavender and I think, “Why is this beautiful?”. Because it is really unexpected and the lavender gives a freaky chill to this warm smoky woodsiness. The woodsiness continues into the dry down, it’s lightly sweet, slightly creamy and well worn leather.

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222 smells like a modern take on old time cologne crossed with an early Caron. It has a lovely warmth and is chock full of delicate nuance. Not a BIG fragrance but for the first couple of hours you are quite fragrant, then it hums along quietly as a background scent.

Further reading: Colognoisseur and Australian Perfume Junkies
First In Fragrance has €140/100ml + Samples

Have you tried the newly resurrected Le Galion line yet? 9 fragrances to open with is big and there could well be one among them that takes your fancy.

Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Fragrance Reviews, Violet | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Monday Question – Do You Follow New Releases In The Niche Perfume Market?

Do you try to keep up to date with the niche market?

Are you interested in the new brands and new perfumes launching every day?

Is it even possible to stay au courant?

  
My Answer:

No. I don’t even try. It has been getting out of hand for a while, and now niche is definitely no longer niche, it has become a mass market with sky-high prices and exotic labels.

I purposely formulate my answer rather rash, but I’d like to start a discussion (stay friendly please!) about the topic.

Is niche still niche or are we all kidding ourselves?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged | 42 Comments

Hermès Scarfs In Action And A Current Obsession – Mansur Gavriel

Since the gloomy weather of the past few days here has made my scarf photos come out woefully dark, I took a look at my archive pics of scarfs as I’ve worn them in the past to show you.

La Danse de Cheval Marwari Dip Dye 90

La Danse de Cheval Marwari Dip Dye 90

The first pic is of the 90 dip dye I have already shown you here, La Danse de Cheval Mawari makes for the softest thing one can wear around the neck. I sometimes think the colours washes me out a bit, but here it looks okay, if I say so myself.

Phoenix Mythiques Cotton Pareo

Phoenix Mythiques Cotton Pareo

This is my only cotton scarf from Hermès, the magical Phoenix Mythiques motif in summery colours. The cotton also makes it very hardy and therefore great to travel with. This summer in Tuscany I plan to actually use it as a pareo, you only live once, after all… :)

Concours d Etrières Dip Dye 140

Concours d Etrières Dip Dye 140

I wore the smoky blue large size scarf you see above in London for Neil’s Vanilla evening for Perfume Lovers London and despite not actually applying any perfume myself that day, it still smells of vanilla. Love that. Concours d’Etrières en vanille.

Tigre Royal Dip Dye 140

Tigre Royal Dip Dye 140

This photo is of a scarf I owned for exactly two hours before I hotfooted it back to the boutique to exchange it. Lesson learned: the lightning in the Vienna boutique is NOT to be trusted. I wanted the tiger, but the colours were just not me. (I got the smoky blue dip dye instead that day and I never regretted this one.)

Le Songe de la Licorne Cashmere Silk 140

Le Songe de la Licorne Cashmere Silk 140

La Songe de la Licorne – The Unicorn’s Dream. What a name! I don’t quite see why this design bears that particular name, but I love it anyway. This is a chameleon scarf, the colours – salmon, peach, rust and oatmeal – look different in every light.

Mythiques Phoenix 90

Mythiques Phoenix 90

And finally, here is a photo of a 90 scarf (Mythiques Phoenix) half hidden in a cowl-neck sweater. I like this look since it makes a plain sweater more interesting and also keeps my skin away from wool, which makes me itch.

After this selfie assault on your senses, I want to show you a current obsession of mine that is neither very orginal nor very sensible. The Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. I am late to the hype, but I’m there with a vengeance. I dream of this bag at night and fantasize about it during the day. It is stupid to obsess over a piece of leather, but look – isn’t it pretty?

Mansur Gavriel is a young brand, just two years on the market, but they are perpetually sold out worldwide, since the simple and elegant bags seem to have hit a nerve with the fashion crowd. Their much friendlier pricepoint compared to other luxury brand bags helps too.

The bags are made of vegetable tanned leather in three shades (black, brandy, cammello) with coloured interiors. (There are saffiano and tumble leather versions too, all in three styles, bucket, tote and backpack in different sizes.)

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The company’s official photos with flowers are too gorgeous. This is the bucket bag in Brandy/Raw.

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Large Bucket bag in Black/Flamma.

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Large Bucket bag in Cammello/Sun.

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And for good measure… the tote (Large Tote in Cammello/Rosa). Sigh.

What do you think of the bags? Have you heard of them?

Have a lovely weekend,

B x

Photo credits: scarf pics my own, bag images by Mansur Gavriel
Posted in Hermès, Scarf Collection, Scarves | Tagged , | 51 Comments