New offerings from Issey Miyake always grab our attention because the man behind the brand is such an amalgam of personae: designer, curator, artist, general creative force to be reckoned with. According to Mr. Miyake, he just likes “making things”—a simple pastime that, when coupled with a general ability to think outside the box, has yielded a Pleats Please empire, not to mention a range of fragrances that rank as some of the most iconic ever made. His latest achievement, inspired by the architecture of high-rise apartment buildings, is innovative as usual, and a first of its kind for the cosmetics packaging industry. For a new limited-edition version of his classic L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme scent due out this summer, Miyake has re-created concrete facades, using a resin and mineral powder that is sprayed onto glass bottles and then baked to create the look and feel of a building exterior. A graffiti-scrawled logo only furthers the vibe that this is a fragrance for the “urban man” in your life. What will he think of next?
We will never forget when Le Labo opened its Nolita boutique in 2006. Whether it was the innovative niche-fragrance concept of bottling scents to order and on site, or that, um, explicit animated short it distributed with press materials to hammer home an anti-conformist approach, it didn’t take long for the brand to burn its way into our consciousness. Two years later, Le Labo’s commitment to freshness—not to mention a roster of ten entirely unique parfums (plus one that is exclusive to each city that has been graced with a storefront)—has kept us loyal fans. Which is why we’re counting down the days to April 1, when its latest creation goes on sale. Oud 27 was originally concocted for Le Labo’s Dubai location and lists agarwood, cedar atlas, incense, patchouli, black pepper, saffron, and gaiac among the 20 notes that make up its singular, complex aroma; the brand likens the olfactory experience to Genghis Khan meeting Shah Jahan for tea with Scheherazade. (Like we said, counting down the days.) If you don’t live in or near one of its limited retail destinations, the online store is incredibly user-friendly. And in case you were wondering, Internet orders are filled the day they get shipped, so you get the same freshly crafted flacons as walk-in clientele.
In fashion terms, the “little black dress” is something every woman should own: an easy, flattering piece that is as simple as it is sexy and glamorous. So ingrained has this dressing staple become in our social psyches that it has taken on metaphoric meaning, coming to represent the idea of a go-to for those times when dark clouds of crisis—be it wardrobe or other—start to gather. This month, the fragrance industry gets its own version of the fabric phenom with Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire, a licorice and sweet rose concoction with hints of Sicilian lemon and nutty macaroon. If the popularity of the original L.B.D. (or L.P.R.N. en français) is any indication, this flacon has success printed all over it—as well as a picture of a scooped neck, tie-sleeved version of the closet essential (see image above). We prefer a more hourglass cut, but that won’t stop us from spritzing generously.
While we know that you rely on this blog’s editorial expertise to help you sift through the endless amount of new products that hit the market every year, the CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women, Inc.) has a fair bit of cred as well. A nonprofit organization comprised of over 4,000 executives in the beauty industry, it puts out its “Best Of” list every year around this time, selecting finalists in a number of categories before hosting a grand awards ceremony in May. If you’re interested in their new picks, click here, and while you’re perusing, scroll down to the “Women’s Scent: Mass” category. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Antonio Banderas’ Blue Seduction for Women has indeed made the final four—which might not come as a shock to the base-note junkies among you. The Zorro star has slowly become something of a fragrance darling over the past few years: His Spirit Antonio Banderas for Women scent won a FiFi (the equivalent of a perfume Oscar) in 2006, his Antonio by Antonio Banderas reaped the glory again in 2007, and his Blue Seduction for Men received a nomination in 2008. The experts have apparently weighed in, but we’re curious if Banderas’ smooth moves on the dance floor and masked swordsmanship are enough to make you a believer in eau d’Antonio. Well? Are they?
When news broke last fall that Francesco Vezzoli was working on a faux perfume ad directed by Roman Polanski and starring Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams, we were legitimately excited. Known for his elaborate parodies, we could only imagine what the Italian video artist had in store for the marketing film-cum-consumerism social commentary, which centers around a fake fragrance called Greed. With its Victorian boudoir backdrop and epic catfight (so in this year, see Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2009 show), the one-minute short did not disappoint when it debuted last month at the Gagosian Gallery in Rome, and we still like to watch it every now and again when we need a little pick-me-up. So if you haven’t seen it yet—or if you could just use some help dulling the pain of the beginning of yet another workweek—click above and enjoy. (We’re particularly fond of the bit where Michelle Williams smashes Natalie Portman’s face into the ground repeatedly. It gets us every time.)