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August 23 2014

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The Ultimate French Combo: Perfume and Ballet Flats

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In an effort to infuse our quotidian lives with the elegance of the ballet, Repetto—a Parisian brand known for being the premier maker of pointe shoes (traditionally for the danseuses of the Paris Opera Ballet) and ballet flats (for the rest of us)—is launching its very first fragrance. The über-feminine eau, fronted by Dorothée Gilbert (a prominent French prima ballerina), features a delicate mélange of rose and vanilla, along with pear and cherry-blossom accords. “I sought to achieve a hand-sown effect by combining a selection of luxurious and authentic raw ingredients,” says perfumer Olivier Polge. The blush-colored bottle—tied at the neck with the same satin ribbon that wraps around many dancers’ ankles—perfectly echoes the wall of La Carlotta pointe shoes in Repetto’s Paris flagship boutique. If you haven’t yet mastered an arabesque or perfected your plié, don’t sweat it, simply spritz to bring out your inner danseuse étoile…then buy a ticket for a night at the ballet.

Repetto Eau de Toilette, $75; sephora.com.

Critic’s Choice: Luca Turin’s Perfume Pick

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To spritz or not to spritz, that is the question. Style.com/Arabia critic and perfume industry legend Luca Turin reviews the latest fragrance launches and answers this age-old question.

Name: Fan di Fendi Leather Essence
Notes: Suede, amber, wood
Nomenclature: Sweet suede

Fendi has been exploring an interesting ambery-spicy territory of fragrance for some years, and has turned up a treasure. Theorema [1998] was to orientals what Nutella is to chocolate: rich beyond reason and very addictive. Palazzo [2007] had one of the most original top notes in recent memory. This one is an odd combination of its two predecessors. Unexpectedly, they add up to an idea reminiscent of Patou’s Sublime [1992], i.e., a precarious but arresting balance between sweet amber and fresh woods, bridged here by a suede-like leather note that works perfectly as a go-between. There is a confident, eclectic complexity to this fragrance that in my mind embodies a specifically Italian chic—all smiles, pliant softness, and welcoming warmth. My reference in this genre is Lubin’s Korrigan, which manages to be at once austere and appetizing, somewhere between burning incense and warm gingerbread. Fan di Fendi is less poetic, more staid, but still a very nice fragrance.

$112, for more information visit thebay.com

For another review from Turin’s bimonthly column, click here.

Opening Ceremony Bottles a Designer Bouquet

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Leave it to Opening Ceremony, a brand that’s known for being ahead of the crowd, to come up with a way to make floral fragrances suddenly seem über-cool: They’ve commissioned a floral artist, Thierry Boutemy, to create a new limited-edition scent (along with Le Labo and perfumer Barnabé Fillion) called Geranium 30, launching today. Boutemy may not exactly be a household name, but he’s been the go-to flower guy for the fashion and film world for years. The stunning arrangements that were almost like a background character in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette? Those were Boutemy’s work. He’s also lent his green thumb to designers like Givenchy, Lanvin, and Viktor & Rolf.

Boutemy’s dramatic installations have earned him a reputation for making something as inherently soft and romantic as flowers seem intense and, at times, even dark. That’s why the subtlety of Geranium 30 is so surprising. Even after spritzing both wrists twice, I still felt like I could squeeze into a seat on a coach flight and not annoy the passengers next to me—the spicy-floral blend is that delicate. And for those who want to wear his creations from head to toe, Opening Ceremony has plastered floral digital prints, designed by Boutemy, onto New Era hats, classic Vans, Manolos, and even Tabio socks. How’s that for a stylish bouquet?

Le Labo Geranium 30 Thierry Boutemy for Opening Ceremony, $240;
openingcermony.us

Scented Jewelry You’ll Actually Want to Wear

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The mere mention of scented jewelry likely conjures up images of solid perfume baubles you either discarded from a gift-with-purchase or bought for your niece’s 10th birthday. It’s safe to say we’ve yet to find a stylish option since entering adulthood—that is, until we discovered By Kilian’s ultra-luxe range of wearable fragrances. If you normally spritz perfume on your neck, By Kilian’s rhodium and 18-karat gold-plated tassel necklaces are your next must-have. Each piece features either a ceramic disc scented with one of By Kilian’s twenty-nine fragrances or a silk cord that has been microencapsulated with one of six scents. They’re so discreet, one would never suspect you’re wearing a high-tech olfactory device; in fact, the necklaces look more like mementos picked up on some far-flung vacation.

Also included in By Kilian’s capsule collection are four leather bracelets, ranging from thick cuffs to wrap-around styles. Though technically for men, we think they would look especially chic on women. The leather is infused with one of five fragrances, inspired by traditional gantiers parfumeurs (French perfume experts from centuries past who infused men’s gloves with fragrances for an extra dose of luxury). Think of it this way: If you frequently gesture with your hands, the scent will waft ever-so-slightly with each flick of the wrist.

By Kilian bracelets, from $195 to $325; necklaces, from $245 to $465. For more information, visit bykilian.com

Photo: Courtesy of By Kilian

Dior Designs a Scent for Dudes

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Designing a fragrance—specifically one meant to attract the male demographic in the U.S.—requires the man behind it to get in the kitchen. It’s not a place you’d expect a perfumer to start, but for the house nose at Dior, François Demachy, this part of the process is paramount. “It’s very important to smell the atmosphere and try some new cooking because cooking is really an image of each culture,” he explained. After all, the flavors, spices, and sensations that accompany an order of steak frites vastly differ from that of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

The classic Dior Homme Eau de Toilette, launched in 2005, primarily appealed to Europeans. And though the new blend crafted by Demachy shares many of the same notes (like Tuscan iris and cardamom), it’s decidedly fresher, with hints of crisp grapefruit and bergamot, followed by a warm base of Virginia cedarwood. “Freshness,” noted Demachy, equates to “cleanliness,” at least in the minds of those residing stateside. “[Dior Homme Eau] is also more direct and less complicated,” he added. In short: It caters to the simplistic olfactory palette (and mind?) of the American male.

$84; dior.com

Or, top of a freshly shaven face with Dior Homme Eau After-Shave Lotion, $50, out this month.