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.

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.

Lolita Lempicka, L de Lolita Lempicka

If you were to ask me what the holiest site in Israel is, I wouldn’t respond with “The Western Wall” or “The Dome of the Rock”. Every woman knows that the most sacred place in our tiny, beloved country is the Michal Negrin store. Michal Negrin is primarily a jewelry store chain (although it seems to be expanding into the lifestyle business, with everything from clothing to wallpaper). The general theme appears to be wistful, old-fashioned pictures of women bedazzled by colorful rhinestones. It’s all very over the top, but somehow manages to stay on the right side of kitsch. I once spent a full hour there agonizing over whether I should buy the green version of the following 400 shekel ($100) decorative elephant. My best friend wisely dragged me away, but damned if I don’t miss that stupid elephant.

If the Michal Negrin store had a perfume line, it would undoubtedly be something like the Lolita Lempicka brand. Lolita Lempicka, with its stunning glass bottles and consistently interesting scents,  is somewhat of an oddity in the mainstream perfume world. Today I’ll be reviewing the original Lolita Lempicka, which was released in 1997 (which is freaking ancient in perfume years), and the newer L de Lolita Lempicka.

First up, Lolita Lempicka. In the wake of Angel, which was released in 1992, hundreds of copycats flooded the market, hoping to capitalize on Angel’s monstrous success. Lolita Lempicka has often been accused of being such a knockoff. I personally see no resemblance, although like Angel, Lolita seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it fragrance. I was solidly in the “hate” camp for many years. I thought it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever smelled. It was insanely sweet and smelled just like licorice (my least favorite note). I was legitimately puzzled as to how that gorgeous apple-shaped bottle could house such a revolting smell.

I finally retried it last weekend and am frankly feeling a little foolish. Lolita Lempicka is delicious and delicately pretty. It smells like sweet pastry dough and cherries. It is still very sweet, but when comparing it to L by Lolita Lempicka for this review, I was shocked to discover that Lolita Lempicka is actually less sweet and considerably softer. Luca Turin, a famous perfume critic, gave Lolita Lempicka one of his very rare five-star ratings in his “Perfumes: The Guide”. He declared it “the ideal accompaniment for flirtatious banter from prim girls in glasses.” As a lifelong four-eyes, I agree wholeheartedly. According to Basenotes, the notes are ivy, anise seed, violet, amarise, licorice, amarena, vetiver, tonka, vanilla and musk.

Unlike its predecessor, L de Lolita Lempicka gave me no trouble whatsoever. Created in 2006 by perfumer Maurice Roucel, L is imminently lovable. It begins with citrus and cinnamon, much like Maurice Roucel’s other masterpiece, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. L is far softer than Musc Ravageur, and for the most part smells much like freshly baked Snickerdoodle cookies. L would be rather generic, albeit delicious, if it were not for a curious salty note lurking in the background. That saltiness can be attributed to the immortelle flower, a note rarely seen in perfumery.

L is not quite as intellectual as her older sister, but she’s quite a crowd pleaser. My friends often ask to borrow perfume from me before we go out. They don’t want my Prada or Classique (“too heavy”) and they certainly don’t want my Yvresse or Chinatown. Inevitably they reach for the sweet, irresistible L.

Lolita Lempicka has a new scent, Si Lolita, which was released in France last summer but has no U.S. release date beyond “2010”. However, it has been getting very good reviews on other perfume blogs such as Perfume Posse, and the bottle is nothing short of stunning. I eagerly await its arrival.

Disclaimer: I own bottles of Lolita Lempicka and L de Lolita Lempicka, both purchased at Sephora.

Quick Notes- Prada L’Eau Ambree

Despite that stunning black-and-gold bottle, L’Eau Ambree inspires little creativity from me, so this will be a short review. L’Eau Ambree is remarkably similar to Prada’s Infusion d’Iris. This means that it essentially smells like a very expensive brand of baby powder. L’Eau Ambree is not some light, watery thing. It is actually rather heavy, but it does somehow manage to feel fresh despite all that powder. It is on the warmer side of things due to the amber, but I really can only barely detect this traditionally sensual note.

Many women find powdery scents to be very comforting, and I actually do find L’Eau Ambree to be a pleasant smell. It would be very nice to wear in a home full of loved ones on a wintery day. L’Eau Ambree has very little in common with the original, all-out sexy Prada. It is considerably more restrained, which I suppose translates into elegance. L’Eau Ambree would feel right on both a pretty young mother and a more mature, somewhat imposing high society type.

Disclaimer: An SA from Nordstrom made me a sample of L’Eau Ambree.