Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

I read a review of Iris Poudre on Makeup Alley that had me very intrigued. Reviewer isk107 wrote, “I have to be in the right mood to wear Iris Poudre. Perfect blowout, polished makeup, chic clothing.” I love the idea of dress-up fragrances, including Frederic Malle’s own Lipstick Rose, so I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with Iris Poudre. Then I actually tried it.

Iris Poudre is surprisingly sweet and very soapy. It is blindingly bright, very high-pitched in tone. I understand what isk107 meant by “polished”: Iris Poudre brings to mind platinum highlights and a somewhat chilly demeanor. It is more elegant than glamorous, more Grace Kelly than Marilyn or Mansfield. I can even see it on Tilda Swinton’s terrifyingly tempting White Witch.

Does anyone else wish they could be SWINTON for a day? I want to be 5’11” and live with my 2 boyfriends.

I am intrigued by Iris Poudre conceptually, but would not actually want to wear it. I have read many comparisons of Iris Poudre to Chanel No. 5, but Iris Poudre lacks the golden warmth that I adore in No. 5. There are 2 types of blondes in this world (this is not remotely true, but just go with it): Marilyn Blondes and Hitchcock Blondes. Iris Poudre clearly belongs to the latter category. In contrast to the bubbly demeanor of the Marilyn Blondes, Hitchcock Blondes are aloof and frankly a little scary. As Kim Novak said of Marlene Dietrich and Jean Harlow, “When they gave a man the come-hither look, the poor guy didn’t know whether he was going to be kissed or killed.” I’m afraid that I’m just not blonde enough for this perfume.

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

I am about to present you with two seemingly contradictory statements. Le Parfum de Therese smells like jasmine and bubblegum, and Le Parfum de Therese is a womanly, elegant fragrance. I wouldn’t have thought that these two seeming opposites could peacefully coexist in a perfume, but Le Parfum de Therese has proved me wrong. Le Parfum de Therese is surprisingly sweet for such a classic perfume, but it is also incredibly smooth and rich. The bubblegum effect probably comes from the melon note, which makes for a much more pleasant fruity-floral experience than the current throng of berry fragrances. More experienced noses could probably find the tangerine or cedar in here, but I do not detect them.

As lovely as I find Le Parfum de Therese, I suspect that I will not find another occasion to wear it for a very long time. Le Parfum de Therese was famously created by Edmond Roudnitska for his wife, Therese, and it feels so utterly personal that I feel that I do not really have the right to wear it. It makes me feel as if I am intruding onto someone else’s private thoughts and feelings. Le Parfum de Therese is also mature in a way that, at 20 years old, I am not yet. Someday, I hope that I will be able to live up to this very regal fragrance.

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

“If you’re going to be a star, you have to look like a star. I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.” Joan Crawford

Glamour is a particularly aesthetically pleasing form of self-love. A glamorous woman, as Crawford opined, considers herself to be a star and dresses the part. Glamour demands the self-confidence to create a style that says something personal about you, something deeper than “I work in an office” or “I’m getting some tonight”, and to know that others are going to like what you have to say.

The best part about glamour is that it is completely egalitarian. It does not require money (money can actually be detrimental to the creativity that glamour requires) or beauty. Was Crawford beautiful? Not exactly, and certainly not compared to her rival, Bette Davis. But she was glamorous as all hell.

Lipstick, with its sensual feel, its delicate rose scent, has become synonymous with old-school glamour. Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose evokes that sense of glamming yourself up in front of the vanity mirror. Lipstick Rose opens with a huge blast of aldehydes, in a nod to aldehyde-heavy retro classics like Chanel No 5. These aldehydes smell strangely like candle wax (but in a good way). The real star of the show, however, is a gorgeous blend of rose and violet notes that really does smell like a Lancome lipstick.

Lipstick Rose is relatively sweet, and comes on strong. Some will be turned off by its boldness. Others, like myself, will adore its cheerful flamboyance. As far as I’m concerned, Lipstick Rose is the last word in glamorous perfumes.

Disclaimer: I asked for a sample of Lipstick Rose from the Frederic Malle boutique.

Bond No 9 Broadway Nite

Perfumes with a strong violet note tend to go in one of two directions: powdery, candied violets or green violets. Broadway Nite definitely falls under the second category. It opens green and bracing, which makes the always-pleasing-but-somewhat-cliche violet/rose combination feel new and exciting. Broadway Nite has a sparkling feel that I associate with aldehydes; imagine a bottle of champagne on a Broadway diva’s dressing room table. Eventually Broadway Nite becomes creamier, with vanilla and musk creeping in. If you smell closely, you can detect the scent of the Lancome lipstick (Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose employs the same lovely trick) that the diva applies before she belts her heart out on stage.

Broadway Nite was aptly named- it is undoubtedly the most flamboyant of Maurice Roucel’s creations. Broadway Nite is a Josephine Baker kind of gal, the type to buy her pet cheetah a diamond leash and take it for walks along the Champs-Élysées. She pities those who save false eyelashes and red lipstick for special occasions. I find this kind of high-personality brassiness delightful, but I suppose it could also be considered vulgar in some circles. Broadway Nite reminds me of my best friend’s mother, a former broadway actress and the most fabulous woman I know. I can give it no higher recommendation.

Josephine Baker. Too fierce for words!

Broadway Nite can be found at Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Bond No 9 boutiques (which are all in New York), and on the Bond No 9 website, It is available for $45 for 7 ml, $140 for 50 ml, and $205 for 100 ml.

Disclaimer: I got a sample of Broadway Nite at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse/Champagne

This is about as good as it gets, in my opinion. Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse was created by Sophia Grojsman in 1993, initially debuting under the name “Champagne”. The Champagne lobby wasn’t really feeling that, so YSL was forced to rechristen this fabulous perfume with a much less attractive name. Champagne is my very favorite drink. I always think of Holly Golightley drinking champagne before breakfast in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, her effervescent charm as intoxicating as those delightful bubbles.

On that note, just to give y’all a quick sense of who I am and what I bring to this site, I will say that while I often mention Marilyn Monroe in reviews, in truth I have much more in common with Audrey Hepburn (or, if you’re a Gossip Girl fan, I’m much more of a Blair than a Serena). Even as a blonde, I wasn’t quite come-hither enough to be a Marilyn. On the other hand, those classic Audrey standbys- pearls, big brown eyes, and wickedly flirtatious banter- have never failed me yet.

Anyway, back to Yvresse! Does Yvresse actually smell like champagne? Not really, although the drydown does smell quite a bit like wine. Rather, Yvresse captures the excitement of champagne, that feeling that you are about to break into giggles. Yvresse opens with glittering aldehydes and a blast of what Robin at Now Smell This identifies at nectarine, which almost feels like the tickle of champagne bubbles. It then becomes lusciously peachy and golden- fans of the juicy peach note in Bond No 9’s Chinatown will love this. There is also a supremely creamy vanilla note that reminded me very much of Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, one of my all-time favorites. The anise note is barely detectable, so don’t let that scare you off.

With basenotes of oakmoss and patchouli, Yvresse definitely falls under the category of chypre. However, the chypre reputation for “difficult” perfumes is all wrong for Yvresse. It is nothing but a delight from start to finish. To me, Yvresse sends a very clear message: “Why yes, I am impossibly glamorous. I probably have a mysterious past and some thoroughly delightful eccentricities.”

Yvresse is no longer sold in U.S. stores, although you can still find it on the Yves Saint Laurent website ($60 for 2 oz). However, it is very widely available at reputable online perfume discounters for around $20 for 2 oz. This is a frankly unbelievable price for such a stunner.

Disclaimer: I swapped for my bottle of Yvresse.