I do not have a Christmas tree in my home (too much of a mess, no time to water, and let’s not even get started on my cat possibly scaling the branches), but Dr. Hauschka’s Limited-Edition Spruce Warming Bath Essence makes it smell like there is one. Although the notion of bathing in pine needles doesn’t sound appealing, at the end of a day during this frantic yet festive season, this woody-scented blend is a divine way to de-stress. Give this green fluid to the Grinches in your life, send it to the Ebenezer Scrooge of the family—a luxurious soak steeped with tension-relieving spruce essential oil (along with hydrating jojoba) will boost their mood, warm their frostbitten toes, and possibly even melt their hearts. Plus, it’s guaranteed to keep them in the holiday spirit long after the Fraser fir is put curbside.
It’s been a busy season over at the landmark Guerlain flagship on the Champs-Elysées: A century after the building first opened, the French perfume house has unveiled a luxurious top-to-toe revamp courtesy of Peter Marino, a refresh that included annexing the old nightclub Montecristo next door and creating a restaurant called Le 68.
But that’s not all that’s new—or old, for that matter—chez Guerlain. The house is now celebrating the 160th anniversary of its famous gilded Bee bottle, which was created for the Empress Eugenie to contain her Eau de Cologne Impériale. It is also launching a Couture sequel (available in France March 2014) to its best-selling fragrance, La Petite Robe Noire. In a private walk-through, in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser discusses the storied brand’s new “homey” ambiance, from the food/fragrance connection to a heritage accessory revival—plus, what makes the newest Petite Robe Noire truly couture.
How do you describe the Guerlain flagship’s new ambiance?
When the Guerlain family built this building a century ago, it was a boutique, but it was also their home. We wanted the whole space to [feel] like a house: You can dine at the restaurant; write a postcard and mail it here; the perfume, beauty and skin care sections on the ground floor invite browsing; and the marble echoes the idea of wafts of fragrance—it just draws you in. Peter Marino’s attention to detail is amazing—there’s a shagreen banister that I love so much, I almost want to sleep next to it, right there on the stairs.
Upstairs, there’s still the tiered stand presenting the house library of creations, set amidst a rotating exhibition of historic perfume bottles and fragrance-inspired creations by contemporary artists. And if you want to take a nap, there’s always the spa on the third floor. It features an orchid garden, as well as works by Giacometti, Bérard and Jean-Michel Franck that were done for the original spa, which was the first in the world when it opened in 1939.
How did you and chef Guy Martin work together on the restaurant Le 68?
For the restaurant, there was just this instant connection: Guy is naturally curious and passionate about the seasons—at Guerlain we speak “seasons.” Basically, I said, this is who we are—185 years of fragrances—so just explore and do your thing. What I love is that with Shalimar, for example, everyone always talks about it as an oriental vanilla, but Guy seized on all its citrus notes and extrapolated it into a macaron with marmalade and a zing of bergamot. As it turns out, his mother wore Shalimar, so he understood immediately. He’s also [transformed] La Petite Robe Noire into a chocolate pastry. There are so many clever details—it’s a true feast.
What are the other new additions to the house?
Upstairs, there is a private salon for bespoke consultations, another space where bottles can be customized with ribbons, and a [room] where we’ve reintroduced limited-edition archival pieces like silk scarves, fans and perfumed gloves. When Guerlain was named official supplier to the Empress Eugenie, in 1853, it was also a gantier, or glove maker. I had to learn everything about leather treatment because if you miss the window for adding fragrance, it’s too late. My job was to find that moment. We did some gloves with Mitsouko, and others with La Petite Robe Noire, which is subtler.
Is there a story behind La Petite Robe Noire Couture?
This is La Petite Robe Noire’s glamorous sister; she’s the one who’s out there on the red carpet at night. She’s floral, fruity, bubbly, slightly eccentric and vivacious. You could say that the length has changed—there’s a different color and texture; it’s an evening gown. There’s still this gourmand and fruity character. The top note is sparkling because it’s like Oscar night, so I amped up the bergamot. But I emphasized its depth and presence with chypre to add mystery. My idea is not to create a collection, but rather, the woman who wears it has grown along with [the fragrance].
68 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris, France, +33 1 45 62 52 57
“I had an aunt who worked at the Shiseido counter in Hong Kong, and when she moved to the United States, she worked in San Francisco. I remember—and this was the eighties—that I was totally fascinated by how artistic her eyelids looked. There were probably four different colors and [all were] shaded. It was over the top, [especially] because my mother wore no makeup and was very simple and very clean. And this aunt, she was young and beautiful—it was definitely that whole era of excess. The big hair, the three-tone eyelid, the heavy contour—and that’s kind of fantastical.”
We pay homage to Lam’s childhood beauty memory with a look from his Spring 2010 show. And though his recent collaboration with Estée Lauder and Tom Pecheux is decidedly more muted, perhaps, according to our interview with the designer, more colorful things lie ahead.
The colored-mascara craze continues—Hannah Bronfman appeared on the red carpet for The Wolf of Wall Street premiere in New York City last night sporting ice-blue lashes. A fitting shade for the below-freezing temps we’ve experienced recently. With vivid hues replacing black and rolling out from brands such as Dior in 2014, expect a bright spot come Spring.
A common occurrence among those who receive blockbuster holiday palettes brimming with possibility: You hit pan on your go-to shades—the universally flattering neutrals that are appropriate for day but can be easily amped up for night—while bold, attention-grabbing hues of green and blue are barely touched.
The truth is, not everyone can pull off a lid splashed with color like we saw on the Chanel runway for Spring 2014, but the barely there look (seen at Chloé this past season) is wearable and achievable—without having makeup master Peter Philips at your side. Beauty brands are also taking a more minimal approach. Urban Decay recently released the Naked3 (which has already sold out twice), a collection of twelve flesh colors ranging from cream to dark brown, all with a rose gold undertone. Another one of our favorites is the aptly named The Essentials palette by Clarins, which features eco-friendly formulas in ten nude shades. And for on-the-go touch-ups, Bobbi Brown’s limited-edition Smokey Warm Eye Palette is compact enough to fit in a purse and boasts six versatile shadows in matte and shimmer finishes. Beige, it seems, is anything but boring.