Saturday, July 16, 2011

French Week 2011 Day 7 - YSL Paris

It is now the last day of our French Week for this year, hopefully you have found a new reason or two to love the French beauty industry.  Personally, the biggest eye opener that I had this year was the information about Guerlain's history in the beauty industry, I always knew that the company created wonderful products but I had no idea that they were pioneers of the lipstick and bronzer industry at the same time.  For the last day of the theme week, we are going to end it on a very high note.  YSL's iconic scent Paris embodies both the spirit of the city and the image that the brand has built up for themselves over the years. 

Yves Saint Laurent became Christian Dior's assistant in the late 1950s and the influence of Mr. Dior can often be seen in the clothing and beauty lines coming from this brand.  Within four year, Laurent took the Dior empire over and became the head designer for the next few years.  In the year 1961, Laurent moved on from the House of Dior and started his own fashion house.  He then quickly emerged as one fo the top designers in the France and within years, gained that same status all over the world.  In the springtime, little rose gardens pop up all over the city.  The streets and gardens take on a lovely smell of roses and the color pink becomes a dominant shade throughout the city.  And since I love both Paris and roses...  I am seeing a trip in my very near future...

This fragrance is getting harder and harder to find even though it is considered to be an iconic fragrance.  It wasn't on the Sephora website or at Macy*s so I had to turn to the YSL website itself to find the needed information.  "Romantic, ultra-feminine, exquisitely refined, the scent of a rose in full bloom: YSL Paris, the perfume Yves Saint Laurent designed to give to the world the glamour and allure of the city he loved above all.  A rose opening at dawn to reveal its secrets...the first notes flower in solitude, then are joined by hints of violet with hints of bergamot.  The middle breathes with light powdery accents of may rose and iris.  Completing the rose accord: the awakening of sandalwood, vetiver, and vanilla.  In a tempered glass flacon."

This fragrance is one the top rated ones in "Perfumes.  The Guide" from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, a book that is quickly becoming my personal guide to choosing fragrance and learning about all the notes that are involved in making them. 

"Fragrance, along with fashion and music, reached an unprecedented level of bombast in the eighties: the shoulder pads were wide, the hair was big, the music was mindless, and the perfume was far, far too strong - which was why everyone in the nineties took to wearing CK one and L'Eau D'Issey, as sort of an olfactory fast to atone for years of overdoing it.  To this day many people believe they hate perfume because they only remember the Poisons, the Opiums, the Giorgios, and Paris, the zenith (or nadir, depending on how you look at it) of the perfumer's rose.  The word on this fragrance is that it is rose composed of ionones, those wonderful materials that smell fruity, powdery, and woody all at once.  Spray Paris on paper and it exhales an intense, rich, wine-like breath.  It comes off as more of a vast bouquet than a soliflore, and reminds me of those bridal bunches some florists construct by reassembling the petals of a dozen blooms around a single center, creating a Frankenstein rose the size of a cabbage.  An hour in, you have room to breathe at last, and find, in the cloud of sweet and woody notes, long streaming sections running through it like alternating pink and green silk ribbons: a tender, powdery mimosa and a piercing fruit green.  The great Sophia Grojsman (Yvresse, Tresor, Eternity, Calyx) put this one together, and it marks the absolute end of the particular road, the point beyond which it is not possible to make a louder, bigger, more complicated rose.  From here on, it is only possible to innovate by taking away, not adding.  A brilliant, beautiful monstar.  I sprayed it on thoughtlessly the first time that I saw it in a department store and knew I had made a social misstep when I saw people cringing away from me in the street and on the company elevator.  Buy it, but put in on at your own peril."

I love strong florals and this seems to be the strongest floral that is on the beauty market.  The description from the "Perfumes" book might be off-putting to some but it just draws me in.  It reminds me what some people in the United States think of the French citizens though I do not agree (as a generalization).  This fragrance is strong and reminds me of being surrounded by roses just as I would be in the streets of Paris.  This fragrance is an icon of the French ladies and provides the type of sophistication that I aim for when selecting a nighttime fragrance to use in the fall and winter.

So this is the end of our French Week for this year and I must say that this one has been my favorite so far!  I have learned so much about the history of the French beauty industry and my skin has never looked better after working with all the Caudalie body products.  I have found two new fragrances that I can look forward to buying this fall and hopefully will continue to refine my personal style in order to become more French...

photo courtesy of YSL

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