Prada Infusion d’Iris

My dear readers, I apologize for going two days without posting. I had a midterm on Friday in my weakest subject, physics, that pretty much took over my life.

This was definitely not me on Friday.

College, especially freshman year, is a very strange time for many girls. The pressure to be sexual (and here I’m not referring to the ways in which girls are naturally sexual, but to the porn star variety of sexuality favored by teenage guys) is much more overt than it ever was in high school. Every girl reacts to this sexualized environment differently, but at my college a very popular response seems to be to dispense with one’s dignity.

I see girls out at parties wearing outfits that I do not expect to see outside of Jersey Shore. I see girls behaving outrageously in order to secure the approval of some douchetastic frat guy. And please bear in mind that I go to Johns Hopkins, a school chock-full of brilliant women. Sometimes I just want to tap these girls on the shoulder and say “Oh hey, I think you dropped your dignity.” And then I want to hug them, because it makes me very sad.

If your name is not “J-Wowww”, you have no excuse for dressing like this.

I am certainly not immune to the “check your dignity at the door” mentality, but I have discovered a very effective solution. Prada Infusion d’Iris is liquid elegance and grace in a fabulous bottle. Earlier this week, I recommended Infusion d’Iris as a cheaper alternative to Chanel 28 La Pausa. Infusion d’Iris opens with a great deal more powder than La Pausa, but it quickly airs out and develops into a similarly gorgeous, buttery iris scent. I would say that Infusion d’Iris is slightly more floral, while La Pausa had a touch more citrus. Infusion d’Iris has a clean, fresh-scrubbed vibe. It brings to mind a naturally beautiful society blonde (think Gwyneth Paltrow at the 1998 Oscars) who enhances her good looks with a little mascara and some tasteful pearls. This is what she sprays on just before she leaves the house.

A word of caution: Infusion d’Iris is very light, although it does have a very distinct character. I was unable to really smell it at all the first THREE times that I tried it. In my mind, this is how it should be- gracious, dignified people are rarely loud. I may start carrying around sample vials of Infusion d’Iris to give to girls in need of a little class. I’m also thinking of renting out a fire truck, filling the hoses with I’dI, and just hosing ’em down. The advantage of that approach is that then they have to go home and change their skanktacular outfits.

This is for your own good, ladies!

For real, y’all, I frequently see girls wearing tights (not even leggings, TIGHTS) with GIGANTIC rips down the thigh as pants. I would like to quote the delightful Eccentric Glamour, written by Simon Doonan: “Go down to the docks, look at what the hookers are wearing, and then DON’T WEAR THAT.”

Infusion d’Iris is available at most department stores and Sephora. $56 for 1 ounce, $74 for 1.7 ounces, $100 for 3.4 ounces, and $135 for 6.75 ounces (28 La Pausa, if you will recall, was $200 for 6.8 ounces).

Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of Infusion d’Iris from Sephora.

Gucci Envy

Has anyone tried the Fragrance Finder tool on the Sephora website? It is way too much fun. You tell them a perfume that you love, and based on your tastes they recommend new perfumes for you. At first it seemed gimmicky, but to my surprise, many of their recommendations were spot-on (for example, they recommended Guerlain Shalimar for fans of Editions de Parfum Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, which is often considered a modern-day Shalimar). Of course, some are a just a little bit off base (lovers of the leathery Robert Piguet Bandit should consider… Bvlgari Rose Essentielle??)

Anyway, when Gucci Envy was suggested as a substitute for both Christian Dior Diorissimo and Chanel 28 La Pausa, I had to try it. Gucci Envy was created by one of my favorite perfumers, Maurice Roucel (the man behind Musc Ravageur and Lolita Lempicka L de Lolita Lempicka), so I was imagining something rich and hyper-sensual. Instead, Envy opens on a sharp, green lily note. Although it’s not what I was expecting, I still liked the opening quite a bit. It struck me as Diorissimo Light, a very pretty lily without the richness of Diorissimo. HOWEVER. After ten minutes, Envy began to smell distinctly soapy. Turns out I hate soapy, especially in the context of a rather powerful scent like Envy (like all Maurice Roucel creations, Envy has a STRONG presence). I can’t say I much enjoyed wearing this.

There is one thing that I love about Envy, and that is the ad campaign. The vast majority of perfume ads have at least some sexuality, but the Envy ads are hilariously over the top. Get a room, y’all!

Gucci Envy is available at Sephora for $50 for 1 ounce, $70 for 1.7 ounces, and $90 for 3.4 ounces.

Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of Envy from Sephora (which is likely going back).

Chanel 28 La Pausa

There was a girl in my high school, a professional dancer, who was so overwhelmingly beautiful that whenever someone spoke to her they often forgot what they were trying to say. Chanel 28 La Pausa reminds me of her. I try to conjure up words to describe its beauty, but it simply renders me speechless. 28 La Pausa is a supremely buttery iris scent with a great deal of warmth. It smells light and clean, but is far removed from the “clean” (read: harsh and sterile) feel of many modern citruses. Iris scents frequently have a great deal of powder and are therefore prone to melancholy natures, but 28 La Pausa has a distinctly sunny disposition. There is no list of notes online, but I’m sure that it must be aldehydes that give 28 La Pausa its sparkle and that classic Chanel feel. But aldehyde haters need not fear: this fragrance contains nary a hint of Chanel No 5.

When I really love a perfume, I tend to associate it with a book or a movie. In the case of 28 La Pausa, it’s The Lord of the Rings. Yes, I used to speak Elvish; yes, I have a life size cutout of Legolas in my room; yes, I am a tremendous dork. 28 La Pausa has the ethereal beauty of Tolkien’s Elves, too pure and lovely to survive in a human-dominated world. Liv Tyler, with those huge blue eyes and translucent skin, embodied that delicacy perfectly in her role as the Elvish princess Arwen. Does anyone else ever wonder how in the hell Liv turned out so gorgeous despite Steven Tyler contributing half of her DNA? It’s one of the great mysteries of our time.

La Pausa’s ethereal quality is something of a double-edged sword. It has weak lasting power, which means that Chanel only sells it in humongous 6.8 ounce bottles, which means that La Pausa is going to set you back a good $200. For this reason, I would also suggest Prada Infusion d’Iris. They’re not the same thing at all- the Prada is a little more introverted, a little less lighthearted- but Infusion d’Iris is another iris scent with a similarly classy, graceful vibe. It is available at Sephora and most department stores; Sephora sells a 1 oz bottle for $56. 28 La Pausa is part of the Chanel Le Exclusifs collection, 12 scents that are available at Bergdorf Goodman, select Chanel boutiques, and the occasional Saks Fifth Avenue. If you can afford it, buy it. It’s perfect.

Disclaimer: An extremely generous and knowledgeable SA at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase made me a sample of this fragrance.