In "Perfumes: The Guide," Luca Turin gives this a respectable 3 stars and calls it a "handsome bludgeoner" and "last of the big-boned fragrances" of the '80s. I concur. I also agree with Turin that this could well be called "Paris Opium," with its combo of giant red roses and a honey-spiced base. As is true of many of the powerful vintage scents in my collection, I am not always in the mood for RD. But when I am, I enjoy it greatly. My secret for application is to use ONLY the eau de toilette strength, and only a half-spray, distributed to my inner elbows and behind my knees. Restraint is really the key to liberating this scent's appealing, nectar-like bloom. Wearing too much of it, too close to my face, results in a slamming migraine. Red Door is lovely, but in a markedly anachronistic way. It definitely betrays itself as a late-'80s extravagance, much like Lauder's Knowing or Klein's Eternity-- and as such, must be worn very carefully to avoid the cat-pee/"old lady" effect. However, it's worth the experience. Very elegant, very female.
I use this concealer exclusively for two reasons: Ease of use (it's in lipstick form with a pointy tip, so it can be dotted under eyes without a mirror) and opacity (it really COVERS). The product also contains considerably more yellow pigment than most other drugstore brands, whose "light" shades tend to be peachy or pink. This works well for me; I've got decidedly warm-toned skin and deep undereye shadows to cover, on top of that. However, I'm not crazy about the shade selection. First of all, the fair/light shades in this line are positively GHOSTLY. While I ordinarily use the 2nd or 3rd lightest shade in a foundation line (for example, CoverGirl Classic Ivory and L'Oreal True Match W3), I had to go all the way to "medium beige" in the Cover Stick line to find a shade that doesn't look like chalk. And even there, the shade is just a bit too light (but the next shade is too deep). I compensate for this by applying very lightly-- which luckily I can do, since the stick is so darn pigmented. So, not a HG exactly, but the best I can reasonably get my hands on and it does the job. Be warned: Purchase one or two shades darker than you think you need. This line runs very, very light!
An undeniable five lippies from me-- not because this is the most overtly pretty or wearable fragrance in my lineup, but because it is powerful, distinctive, at times contentious and hard to pull off, and at other times simply gorgeous. I have worn this fragrance longer than any of my others; it has held my interest as would a very challenging but mind-blowing philosophy text. Sometimes a sniff from the bottle is all I can handle, but when I am in a Youth-Dew mood, nothing else will suffice. I own the bath oil and the EDP in the opaque blue bottle (which, per many fragrance bloggers, is a reformulation for the better, and I agree). I like both, but find the EDP actually more wearable in warm weather, as it amps up the citrus-cola top notes. The soap used to be sold separately, and was a divinely spicy-cool bathing experience; now you can only get it in gift sets and it isn't as heavenly as before. YD is a fascinating beast. It is glamorous and sophisticated, with its resinous balsamic base anchoring deep, plush roses and lilies. It is also earthy and incense-like with a clean, loamy patchouli finish. It melds with my chemistry in a way that more modern, synthetic-laden fragrances don't, making it feel like a part of my personality. Others enjoy smelling it on me, but it is most definitely a try-on-for-a-day-before-buying scent, as some people's skin really brings out the funky indole notes and YD crashes into gaseous failure. Easily the most magnificently signature-worthy of my fragrances... But I can't wear it every day. A certain level of confidence and self-possession is required to pull it off. In working on having more of that :)
Cutest bottle ever! So retro. Sadly, even in 1988 (when I was 17 and a prime target for Coty marketing) I disliked this fragrance, and still do. It's a Sophia Grojsman creation and shares aspects of Tresor (powdery apricot) and YSL Paris (lipsticky rose-violet)-- but here, poor Sophia had a shoestring budget and it shows. Exclamation strikes my nose as clumsy and crude, artificial fruits on a cheap baby-powder base. On my skin it's stale, sour, and not worth it.
I really wanted to like this. It got a complimentary, solid three-star review in Turin & Sanchez' Guide to Perfumes. Several well-known fragrance bloggers have sung its praises. It's available everywhere, the packaging is lovely, it's been around for over 20 years-- a respectable showing all around. However, I just can't stand this fragrance on my skin. I've tried and tried, because I do like many of the notes (particularly the sultry white-floral top and the oakmoss base). I can even see how some women might wear this well. On me, it takes on a pungency not unlike the chemicals in an airplane toilet. There's more than a touch of urine about it, as well. What's more, White Diamonds has a cloyingly artificial quality about it that takes over my body rather than meshing with my chemistry. Red Door is the same way; in fact, WD reminds me a lot of Red Door. In both cases, I get a pounding headache and the feeling of having been blitzed by cans of Glade. Maybe I just don't get along well with late '80s/early '90s floral powerhouses. Particularly those that are now cheaply produced and mass-marketed. Regardless, I must sadly part ways with the cute sparkly bottle and its impressive lineup of matching body products. I can only hope that women who do wear White Diamonds aren't fooling themselves-- if it doesn't smell good on someone, it REALLY doesn't smell good on them.
Blush -Wet 'n' Wild - Silk Finish Blush - Mellow Wine 833D
Olfactoria 4/8/2013 11:18:00 AM
My HG blush, I'm embarrassed to say-- having spent $$$ for NARS and Bobbi Brown blushes in the past. Natural-looking, flatters all skintones, lasts all day. The shade is genius, really; a brick-rose flush that can be built up or scaled back as your complexion demands. The packaging sucks; you definitely don't want to drop this one on the floor, nor attempt to use the ridiculous doll-sized brush it comes with. Mellow Wine is a pigment MONSTER and requires some practice. I recommend a large, fluffy blush brush (I use EcoTools); TAP onto blush and blow most of the powder off before applying. It's easy to go from "healthy glow" to "tubercular fever" with this one, so tread lightly until you're used to it. Great, great blush!
I definitely prefer the vintage Cinnabar to the reformulation now on shelves for $35. I started out with a bottle of the new stuff a couple years ago, wanting to relive my memories of this simmering, incendiary, boozy spice-rack, which various older relatives rocked beautifully when it first came out in the late '70s. (For me, The 'Bar has always beaten Opium hands-down.) From my reformulated bottle, I got a decent approximation of that scent-- almost like a designer imposter of the real thing. I noticed the color of the juice was lighter and the packaging cheaper than I remembered; still, enough of the signature cola top notes and earthy patchouli-spice base was there for me to like wearing it. But after a while, I just felt something was missing-- something that made the current version harsher and less well-blended, and I scored a vintage bottle on eBay. (Vintage spray bottles are distinguished by having an almost-black juice and a heavier cap with a gold band around it rather than plain red. Splash versions of Cinnabar are always vintage.) It came tightly packaged, but even through the taped box I smelled something magical. W-O-W there she was, the fiery fragrance beast of my youth. I say "beast" fondly, because really, Cinnabar is a hefty Oriental, but still a smooth and gorgeous one. On first spray of my vintage bottle, there is a lush and very boozy fermented-peach note, as sumptuous as fine brandy. I immediately think of a well-appointed living room with velvet couches and Oriental rugs and a roaring fire, all in shades of deep scarlet and vermilion. Then come the deep florals and a panoply of spices tempered with the loamy coolness of patchouli. At this stage Cinnabar almost smells like a hippie headshop where some fantastic incense is burning and mixing with the patchouli on the owner's wool poncho. Or maybe it smells more ancient, like an Egyptian love potion. After a couple of hours, Cinnabar is much closer to the skin, but no less complex and beguiling. Definitely not for wallflowers, but when I think, "Awesome, soulful, distinctive vintage fragrance", there is my Cinnabar. (btw I hate Youth-Dew and can't wear it-- Cinnabar is in a similar vein but so much more smooth and attractive!)
Deliciously weird and highly addictive-- at least for me. The only thing keeping this from HG or signature-scent status is that it is intense, distinctive and a full-on sensory experience and I'm not always in the mood for that. If this stuff didn't already have a name, I think I'd call it Best Patchouli Ever. On me, the patch in Angel takes clear center stage, its loveliness heightened by the cast of supporting actors: hedione, berries, chocolate, and almost- piney green notes. I can't stop inhaling myself; this is downright aromatherapy. Soothing, euphoric and sexual all at once. Hubby loves it too. Never a dull moment as Angel unfolds. I find it's best after about an hour; the opening notes of melon and apricot verge a bit on fermented and armpitty and they're not my favorite part. As for this being "sticky" or "sweet," this is nothing compared to scents like Fantasy, Pink Sugar, Miss Dior Cherie or Euphoria. It's downright astringent next to those sugar-bombs. And in being so, it proves itself a superior creation that never gets heavy, flat, and artificially vanillic like so many other gourmands. LOVE.
Current incarnation of this scent is an abomination. Smells like a citrus urinal cake. Vintage Emeraude is MJCH different and so much better! I have loved this fragrance since childhood and I own several vintage bottles. By far my favorite formulation is from the '80s/early '90s, distinguishable by the olive-hued rather than bright-green juice. At the time, Emeraude was available as a cologne, eau de parfum and parfum. They're all great-- smooth, plush old-school Oriental with a bergamot-lemon top and warm, oily, vanillic drydown. This is quality stuff, and every time I wear it I am surprised by its quiet loveliness, and reminded of just how cheap and one-dimensional some of today's high-end frags smell by comparison! Emeraude may not be the most complex or dressy fragrance I own, but it's the most "me." After the zingy top notes, it's a warm and subtle skin scent with no harsh edges. Bosomy and almost maternal, Emeraude feels like home. It just plain Smells Good, even in its cheap downmarket packaging. Well worth a try, especially if you like Orientals like Shalimar, Opium, Youth Dew and Obsession. Emeraude shares the deep, velvety resinousness of these, minus the spice/animalic overload.
I agree with the Turin & Sanchez guide to perfumes on this one: "an eensy-weensy, cutesy fruity floral of the worst vintage (2000)." If I didn't know this was Lancome, I'd guess it was a Bath & Body Works or drugstore cheapie, maybe a Celine Dion or Kim Kardashian flanker, utterly bland and devoid of character. Flat, lifeless, not worth it.
Fragrances -Parfums de Coeur - Body Fantasies Cotton Candy
Olfactoria 1/8/2013 7:28:00 PM
My daughter (age 7) has a small bottle of this on her dresser that had always turned me off at first spritz-- that Dimetapp-grape topnote made me write it off as impossibly fruity, sticky, and cheap. My daughter has never put this on her body, just sprayed it into the air for atmospheric effect, so I never had a chance to catch it on the drydown. But lo, at age 41 I've developed a taste for gourmand scents-- BS Fantasy being my favorite-- so the other day I tried a squirt of Cotton Candy Fantasy down my shirt and... wow! It's pretty good! The grape-soda note dissipates soon enough, leaving an absolutely spot-on, silky, pouffy cotton-candy ambience that really does make me want to lick myself. This stuff is so sweet and so viscerally girly, it makes Britney's Fantasy seem positively arid and intellectual. However, it is not sickening in the least, probably because it's a body spray and not an EDP. It's just yummy and fun, and remarkably well-done. I can even get away with this at work, because it's light and settles close to the skin after an hour or so. I took off one lippie because I dislike the new packaging Parfums de Coeur is using for this. The curvilinear bottle with the dancing-fairies cap and stars on the label was cutesy and a better fit for the pink-fairytale-fantasy contents. And btw, this is the only Body Fantasies spray I like. The others are like cheap scented candles or Glade.
Fragrances -Elizabeth Arden - Fantasy Britney spears
Olfactoria 1/5/2013 4:16:00 PM
Fantasy is so over-the-top, in packaging and in scent, that despite my better judgment (and its tepid, two-star dismissal in Turin and Sanchez' guide to perfumes) I just LOVE it! Yes, it is a sugar rush, especially in the topnotes; but as far as gourmand scents go, Fantasy is a top-notch composition. Best rendition of vanilla buttercream I've encountered, and made fancier and more adult with the addition of orchid, iris, and powdery woods. The entire effect is utterly pillow-soft and seamless. Just heavenly. I wear this quite often-- enough that I reorder the shower gel and lotion when I run out. The EDP itself lasts eons-- do not overspray! A one-ounce bottle of EDP lasts me over a year. Two half-sprays at the nape of my neck and one in my cleavage gives me the yummy waftage I seek; any more and I'm veering into migraine territory. Yes, the bottle is total Vegas overload, but I love that, too. And yes, Fantasy has a certain Mall-of-America familiarity about it-- it is perhaps the reference gourmand celeb-u-scent among hundreds of them. But it does the job best, and I can't get enough.
Knowing, like Angel, is the perfect example of a fragrance that deserves its five-star rating in Turin & Sanchez' "Perfumes: The Guide," yet is unwearable for me. It is a lush rose chypre of great quality and distinction, in a hefty, artistic, asymmetrically ridged bottle that befits an elegant and mature classic. All the same, I feel sick every time I try to wear Knowing. It has a raspy, nail-varnish-like quality that I associate with old perfumes that have soured from exposure to the light. While I recognize intellectually that Knowing is simply swimming in oakmoss, and not the least bit sour or stale (having been purchased a year ago from Macy's), it nonetheless offends my nose and makes my head spin. I can wear Aromatics Elixir and Cabochard just fine, so it's not that I am averse to loud dry chypres... But something about Knowing just never settles down for me, never becomes cozy and wearable. Shame.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Caesar's Woman by Caesars
Olfactoria 12/17/2012 3:18:00 PM
While this fragrance is still in production, it has been reformulated as a cologne and sold very cheaply, and I don't know how this current version compares to the EdP I found at a rummage sale. The bottle I own is one rich bitch: Vegas excess meets '80s excess-- and, from the smell of it, Fracas meets Obsession. Before you shriek at that prospect, and I admit it's a tough sell on paper, I assure you that this stuff smells GOOD. The tuberose at the top is of good quality, buttery and smooth, and it soon enough gives way to an unabashedly sexual incense base similar to Obsession or Must de Cartier. About as decadent and loud as a scent can be while still maintaining its wearability and appeal, this is just plain fun to wear. Not every day, and not more than half a spray, but it is very very nice.
For a mass-market fragrance, Escape is supremely weird in its pairing of watermelons and peaches with seaweed, saltwater, and white flowers. Somehow, it all works to provide a sense of lushness, sunshine and ocean breezes. By using a new kind of aromatic called calones, which provide that melon/marine effect, Escape was groundbreaking in 1991 and paved the way for other "watery" scents like L'Eau d'Issey. It still has a distinctive signature and I can always pinpoint someone wearing it. I LOVE that about Escape. It's not something I wear often, as I have to be in the mood for its weird alchemy. I do think the reformulation is just fine-- I have both vintage and current, and while the former is more rounded and fruity, the current is a bit lighter and more wearable.