April 21 2014

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44 posts tagged "Guerlain"

Critic’s Choice: Luca Turin’s Perfume Pick



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

Name: Guerlain L’Eau du Parfum 68
Notes: Mandarin, rose, benzoin
Nomenclature: Nostalgic oriental

“If, as I firmly believe, smell is a sort of timbre, then it can be said that Guerlain is—thank goodness—bucking a mighty trend by insisting on making perfumes played on real instruments as opposed to ringtones, door chimes, and electronic jingles. Indeed, there is an element of desperate, nostalgic conservatism about 68, as befits the twilight of an era. The first five minutes of 68 are a strange medley, recapitulating a century of great tunes. L’Heure Bleue is there and Shalimar, of course, but also some of the competition: the green glow of Worth’s Je Reviens and, oddly enough, a surprising quotation of Lush’s Dirty. Halfway into the drydown suddenly comes a strange twist: 68 abruptly turns into a luxuriously plush version of one of those dreadful, bare-bones masculines that come with cheap leather bomber jackets and a clapped-out BMW. It is as if Guerlain’s Russian prince now made a living as many real ones did—as a Paris taxi driver. The drydown carries on essentially until your next shower, in a soft, balsamic-salicylate accord which does not even need to be original: The mere fact that it is there and smells good is more than enough. Guerlain’s revenge on shallow, front-loaded, chemical perfumery is complete and, for once, served warm.”

$250; available at Bergdorf Goodman and select Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales locations

For another review from Turin’s bi-monthly column, click here.

Now This Is How You Carry Your Beauty Products


moynatCurrent exhibitions at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Milan furniture fair are celebrating the legendary Orient Express, which is poised to hit the rails anew after a five-year hiatus. For Moynat artistic director Ramesh Nair, it’s a comeback on a silver platter. “I’m really passionate about a return to the experience of travel, the journey rather than the destination as an end in itself,” he said the other day in the house’s Rue Saint-Honoré headquarters. A longtime rail traveler, Nair believes that the only way to truly see India, for example, is by train. “I’m always looking to revisit the past, but in a modern way,” he remarked.

In that spirit, the French heritage leather house, which is owned by Bernard Arnault separately from LVMH, will be offering up some deep-luxury designs created with the Orient Express in mind. For starters, Nair has signed a custom vanity case similar to those favored by well-heeled travelers back in the luxury railroad line’s heyday. It took seven hundred hours to craft this one-of-a-kind piece. Even so, Nair declined to take all the credit. “It really came together over lunch with [Guerlain perfumer] Thierry Wasser,” he explained. “He’s a constant traveler, he picks up inspiration everywhere, and he immediately sensed that Shalimar would be a perfect match for the Orient Express.” Inside the buttery blue trunk: swing-out trays in apple tree wood—a material favored by sculptors for its polish and resilience—that reveal a cascade of Guerlain makeup and four Baccarat bottles of Shalimar nestled at the bottom. Minus the beauty stash, the valise would work just as well as a jewelry box or watchcase. Its price? Let’s just say if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Meanwhile, New York is about to get its own chance to check out Moynat’s wares: On April 24, “Le Trunk Show” will touch down on the ground floor of the Dover Street Market. Look for a breakfast trunk custom-designed for Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, another designed to display Pierre Hermé’s macarons, and a retro bicycle mounted with a picnic trunk in lieu of a basic basket.

The Fab Five: Winter Whites



The blustery weather has subsided…at least for today. Keep the polar vortex spirit alive with these white-hot products. Considering the multiple appearances this shade made on the Spring 2014 runways—ranging from Altuzarra to Ralph Lauren—expect it to reign long after the ice has melted.

Napoleon Perdis China Doll Gel Eyeliner in Yang: Run a thin band of this creamy alabaster formula across your top lashes à la Kenzo Spring 2014, or use it all over your lid as a smudge-proof shadow base.


Guerlain Gloss d’Enfer in Stardust: Top off your go-to lipstick with this limited-edition shade, or wear it alone to add a hint of multidimensional shimmer to a bare mouth.


Formula X for Sephora in Cloud Nine: Inspired by the French manicure, this translucent polish provides a wash of white in just one coat. Add another layer for a more opaque finish.


Butter London Wink Cream Eye Shadow in Alabaster Gaze: Frost your lids with this silvery hue, or dab it on just the inner corners of your eyes for a brightening effect.


Jin Soon Nail Polish Toppings in Polka White: Like a blizzard in a bottle—matte, white glitter pieces suspended in a clear base look like freshly fallen snow over your standard polish job.

$18, (available in March)

The Blush in the Plastic Bubble


guerlain-meteorites-bubble-blushMany a makeup artist has told me that cream blush is best for the winter months. The silky texture melts into dry cheeks and re-creates that fresh-off-the-slopes flush. Arriving just in time for the frigid days ahead is Guerlain’s limited-edition Météorites Bubble Blush. What makes this violet-scented version unique is not just the two vibrant shades that instantly brighten dull skin, but the applicator itself. Made in Japan (where many a genius beauty concept comes to life), the short base, unlike a traditional stick formula, makes it easy to tuck into your bag, and the rounded top effortlessly glides over your apples. Even better: No brush (or germy fingertips dipped into a pot) required.


The House Guerlain Built



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

Photos: Francois Goizé