40 Days and 40 Nights of Beauty Brand Reviews
Day 7, Chanel
Cavewoman: "Fashion changes, style remains." That's what Mademoiselle herself said. She knew everything about style, and set out to make the name Chanel synonymous with luxury. From the first classic little boxy jacket to the instantly recognizable shape of the No. 5 bottle to the latest must-have lip color, the intertwined C's define the ultimate chic. If you can't buy a Chanel suit, you might be able to catch yourself a little piece of the magic of Chanel at the perfume or cosmetic counter. Everyone can have a Chanel.
Chanel's standards are impeccable. The jasmine that is used in Chanel fragrances comes from their own personal jasmine fields in Grasse. Nothing less will do for a perfume that will carry the name Chanel. Over the years I've worn most of the Chanel fragrances, but I keep going back to my first, and most loved, which is Chanel No. 19. I remember the day I bought it. My Mom and I were shopping, and we stopped at a fragrance counter to test some perfumes. When I reached for No. 5, my Mom gently took the bottle out of my hand and put it back on the display tray. She reached for No. 19 and sprayed it on my wrist. She said to me, "This one. It is uncommon. Everyone wears No. 5. Don't be like everyone else." Of course she was right. And every time I wear it, I am reminded of my Mom's wise words.
Chanel No. 19 whose number is Mademoiselle's birthday, is sometimes classified as a green chypre. Top notes are crisp without any harshness, almost like a freshly-pressed linen shirt that's been dried in breezy sunshine. There is something in the top that lingers throughout the mid and base and remains as a connecting thread as the perfume wears throughout the day. I don't know what it is, but it's there. It's a lovely mystery. The mid notes of jasmine, May rose, iris and ylang-ylang balance each other in a garden-like bouquet. There's no edge on this jasmine. It's as soft as the seamed curve of a Chanel blouse, and equally as feminine. Base notes of sandalwood, vetiver, and my favorite oakmoss, anchor the notes in the feel of an evening walk in the country. I picture Katharine Hepburn wearing Chanel No. 19, wearing a white blouse, hands tucked into the pockets of her flowing trousers, and a strand of pearls encircling her neck.
I find the EDT to be more slowly progressive in note development, and the EDP heading fast to the base notes. But that's just my skin, and I almost prefer the EDT to the EDP version.
Chanel has recently launched a new group of fragrances, and I am hearing wonderful reviews about them, but even if one of them turns my head for a moment or two, I'll always come back to my No. 19. It's been over 30 years since I purchased that first bottle. Granted, it's not a Chanel suit, but it's my little piece of chic.
Annieytown: I originally was going to write about my beloved Chanel mascara but have changed my mind. Last weekend I visited NYC and promptly fell in love with several of the new Chanel fragrances at Bergdorf Goodman. I was hoping that I would only fall in love with one.
As luck would have it, I have managed to fall in love with the whole damn collection. There is no clunker in the bunch. Each of the 6 perfumes are interesting and lemming worthy.
To chose just one is practically impossible...at least for me.
The Les Exclusifs perfumes are being sold only in Chanel boutiques and at Bergdorf Goodman, in 200-milliliter spray bottles of eau de toilette for $175.
You get a lot of juice for your buck!
31 rue Cambon is a modernized chypre without the oakmoss. I can see this becoming a classic in the line. It is totally worthy to sit next to Chanel No 5 or 19.
No 18 is a rose iris fragrance that most likely will be my first purchase from the collection. There was just something about this one that was interesting. I am thinking it might be the ambrette seed. According to Wikipedia ,the seed has a sweet, flowery, heavy fragrance quite similar to that of musk. The iris note was also unique to me. I am an iris fan and own several fragrances that use this note. No 18 is just different. It is sweeter than Frederic Malle's Iris Poudre and more rooty.
Coromandel was inspired by Chanel's lacquered 17th century coromandel screens. The notes are a tangy fruit peel, amber and burnished wood.
Bel Respiro is a mixture of hyacinth and fresh-cut grass. It is a crisp green scent. It is supposed to "evoke green stems, leaves and spring". It smelled amazing on my friend Mary.
There was just something glamorous about it.
28 La Pausa is a gorgeous iris based scent. They specifically used the iris pallida flower. The Iris pallida is the most fragrant of the bearded iris flowers. Many gardeners state that this specific iris smells like grape juice.
Eau de Cologne is the only Exclusif available in a 400- milliliter splash. It is priced at $300. It has citrus, bergamot and neroli notes. It is a very light and refreshing floral fragrance. It was the one I expected to hate but instead I find it to be a very fine fragrance.
The fragrances are currently available at Bergdorf Goodman and Chanel Boutiques. According to Tyler at NYC's Barneys...they will also carry the collection soon.
Photos: NYTimes and Cavewoman.
Please list your favorite Chanel products in the comments.
Disclosure: This post features products that were purchased or counter tested by the reviewers.