Tag Archives: YSL

Good Read…Men’s Health Grooming Awards

For men’s magazines, March and September are big issues. It’s usually when you’ll see the most fashion coverage and they distill seasonal trends. Its a must read if you like to be in the know about that sort of stuff. I, however, look forward to the June issue of Men’s Health as it’s when they conduct their annual Grooming Awards.

Each year, Men’s Health consults a panel of grooming and fragrance aficionados to seek out the best products in myriad categories. What you’re left with is an excellent list products worthy of your consideration.

For the past few years, Brian Boye has asked me to contribute to the fragrance category and I look forward to it. Where else are you going to get all of these products in one issue? This year, he sought out my opinion on how much fragrance one should apply, in addition to other topics, and I’m quoted in the issue.

The June issue is on newsstands now. Pick it up. It’s a good one.

Good Read…Details Special Grooming Guide

I’d like to tip my hat to Details for, yet again, placing a spot light on men’s grooming and fragrances. You may remember I posted a Good Read from its April issue, a little late I might add. This time, I received my issue on time and I was floored by fifteen pages of editorial coverage.

Of course its fragrance editorial interested me most. Featured brands included, Bulgari Aqva Pour Homme Marine Tono, YSL L’Homme Cologne Gingembre, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau De Cologne, Original Penguin For Men, and John Varvatos 10th Anniversary Fragrance.

Pick up the July issue and find out the where you should get your hair cut, shower gels you should check out, a list of Apothecaries worthy of visiting and more. Well done Details.

Meet Voon Chew

My favorite cigar spot here in NYC is OK Cigars. The energy there is unlike any cigar shop I’ve ever been to. All of the fellas have their own style, we discuss everything from politics to women and the best part, there is no pretentiousness.

On this particular day, I was sitting outside enjoying a smoke when Voon Chew passed by. I immediately liked his ensemble. I noticed his perfectly weathered Bucks because I was considering getting a pair this summer but chickened out. Next thing you know, he disappeared into the crowd on West Broadway only to reappear asking to take the picture of my smoking buddy Dexter Wimberly and myself. I was flattered because I left the house that day feel eh. We’re now experiencing that in between weather, which always poses a problem wardrobe wise, and my only pair of jeans had me feeling like a sausage after a recent wash. That said I had to pull something together that I wasn’t too happy about.

Mr. Chew pulls out his iPhone to grab a quick snapshot but he just wasn’t getting the shot he wanted. I happened to be walking with my Canon Rebel XTI to grab a snap of a gent to profile here and decided to offer it to him. An impromptu photo shoot ensued and after 15 minutes of shooting I decided to turn the camera on him as I was certain a man with this taste surely appreciated fragrances.

What are your feelings about fragrance?
Fragrance is as much a crucial element as any accessory or clothing item in personalizing your appearance and style. It is quite complex, like trying to pair a good wine with a dish that complements not contradicts. So much love and experimenting is poured into the creating of a fragrance – what makes for the most intoxicating combination? And then you still have to throw you own body chemistry into the mix to see if it makes for a good marriage. I’ve learned that just because a cologne is lovely on its own doesn’t mean it is the right one for you.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
When I was a kid my mum would take me to the Buddhist temples and they would be burning incense. The scent permeated through the entire place and the smoke created this fog of calmness. It was so intense that it was hard not to remember that. And of course like any kid, I used to open up my mum’s perfume bottles sitting on the vanity table to sniff them.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?
Gucci Pour Homme II, YSL L’Homme and Clinique Happy.

How often do you go out looking for something new?
Once in a while I would walk into Sephora, as I love the setup there. And it is not as overwhelming as walking into the fragrance section of a departmental store where wafts of different perfumes take over, and make you want to get away from that as soon as possible.

What specifically do you look for?
I love ingredients like cedar, cardamom, bergamot that evoke a little bit of muskiness and some citrus to keep it fresh and vibrant. Recently I was intrigued by Gucci Flora for women. It contains mandarin and peony, which are very Asian-inspired and grounded by sandalwood. I always recommend that to my lady friends.

Would you ever consider wearing it?
I tested it on my skin to see how it would react with my body chemistry and even though it has a tinge of unisex appeal, its floral notes monopolized the scent to me, especially the rose which is very distinctive. However, I have to applaud Gucci for coming up with such a lovely flowery fragrance without evoking overly powdery undertones or god forbid a packet of English Garden potpourri!

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Gucci Pour Homme II. It has been very well received. When people want to get up close to sniff your neck, even casual acquaintances, you know you have a winner on your hands.

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
My most memorable fragrant moment would be when I met this person in Chicago whom I swear oozes natural pheromones that should have been bottled as a fragrance. This is very reminiscent of a scene in the movie Michael (where John Travolta’s character makes all the women swoon as he smelled like cookies). This person did not smell like cookies of course. That was the one and only time I met someone who actually smelled heavenly au naturale.

Just another day on West Broadway. Thanks Voon.

Fragrant Night Out 2010

The scene at DKNY’s Madison Avenue store

For the second year in a row, I turned the much-hyped Fashion’s Night Out into my own Fragrant Night out. My night was a mix of hitting up some of the crowded boutiques, Bergdorf, Henri Bendel, Gucci and DKNY and sampling some of the fragrances retailing at the better men’s department stores. I must say, as opposed to last year, the staff at the fragrance counters I visited was very helpful. I was even surprised by the offering of samples. At Bergdorf, I was given a sample of Duc De Vervins and at Barney’s I was given samples of YSL’s La Nuit De L’Homme and Costume National’s Scent.

Last year I sampled quite a few of scents, this year however, not so many. There really wasn’t that much out there that I hadn’t seen or smelled already.

My first stop of the night was Bergdorf and it was bananas. Thank God for the men’s store which was a bit calmer but just about shoulder to shoulder. Upon entering, I was greeted by guys playing air hockey and ping-pong. I ran into one of Esquire Magazine’s style arbiters Josh Peskowitz who made me want to own some clay-colored pants. Tom Ford was scheduled to make an appearance and sign the bottles from his collection but I dipped before that scene ensued. I did sample Champaca from his private collection and it left a lasting impression all night. The wine and cognac top notes don’t open boozy at all. In fact, I never felt I was sniffing alcohol. It does, however, have a floral sweetness reminiscent of Le Labo’s Rose 31. As the night wore on, the similarities grew but Champaca didn’t contain that B.O. undertone I detect in Rose 31. I shall own this one-day but for now, the similarities make it feel like a redundant purchase. That being said, it was one of the best of the night.

After stopping in at Gucci, which had a line that wrapped around the corner, I shuffled my way into Henri Bendel, as I wanted to smell Histoires de Parfum’s Défilé New York. Apparently only 150 bottles were created and the scent pays homage to Fashion’s Night Out. As exciting as that maybe, what peaked my interest were its base notes ingredients, which included chocolate and coffee. An added and unexpected treat was the appearance of the brand’s founder Gerald Ghislain. He was super sweet and explained the scent’s influences which he said included the early morning smells of Bryant Park (where Fashion Week was previously held) and editors showing up with their coffee as they waited for the shows to begin. As someone who’s experienced Fashion Week firsthand, I found that story very intriguing.

Overall my fragrant night out was a lot of fun. Défilé was the most original scent I sampled all night. The way fresh-cut grass, bergamont, Rhubarb, chocolate and coffee all play together makes this an incredible scent. I fought the immediate urge to purchase it as I thought I could double back, but I should have known better. After making my way over to DKNY (they know how to throw a party) and having a few cocktails, my plan took a detour down to Soho where I ended the night. As Jesse Jackson would say, “Keep hope alive.” I’ll be calling Henri Bendel to see if Défilé is still available.

Meet Stan Williams

stanwilliams

The year was 2006 and Stan Williams and I had lunch at the Bryant Park Hotel’s, Koi restaurant. At the time, he was the Fashion Director of Maxim magazine. I was a relatively young publicist clamoring for his time. As we were finishing up our chat, I blurted out, “you smell great, what are you wearing?” Stan replied, “Vetiver by Guerlain.” I remember being struck by how incredibly clean and masculine it smelt. I ran out the next day and bought my first bottle of this potion.

All of this rushed back into my head as the days led up to the party for his soon to be released book, The Find, held at Ports 1961′s Meatpacking boutique. Upon greeting him at the party, I reminded him of that day and told him I just had to interview him. He smiled and said “of course, I’ll be glad to.”

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
My earliest recollections of fragrances were all those drug store brands that my dad used to wear: English Leather, Mennen, and all those Avon car-shaped-bottle aftershaves (in the Deep Woods fragrance) that he kept on his dresser. I also remember watching all the Hai Karate ads on TV and wanting a bottle of Jovan Sex Appeal when I was 11 or 12. I think I got it for Christmas as a joke.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?
Mandarina Duck for Men, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Aramis (really have a new-found love of it), Eau d’Hermes and L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Eau d’Absinthe.

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
I never go looking, but I always stop and try things. I don’t really have a profile. I like old-fashioned smelling fragrances, but I also like bright ones. It just depends on how I feel. However, I can never go wrong with the YSL Rive Gauche……

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Yes…L’Artisan Parfeur, Hermes, and YSL Rive Gauche. I just love them, and I feel like they fit my personality.

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
When I was obsessed with Ralph Lauren Polo in high school and my best friend’s step mom somehow nabbed the gigantic display bottle for me. I was in heaven!

What is your book all about and might there be applicable tips for fragrance shopping?
The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details is a book that takes people on a personal journey in learning how to find beauty in other people’s cast-offs. It’s filled with 500 original photographs of work by many of today’s tastemakers — GQ’s Jim Moore, Barneys New York’s Simon Doonan, decoupage artist John Derian, Real Simple’s Kristin Van Ogtrop, This Old House’s Alex Bandon — just to name a few — and hopefully empowers people to feel comfortable decorating their own environments with vintage and thrift.

When shopping for vintage and thrift, there’s also one thing that rings true for purchasing fragrances: only buy what you love. I say that when thrifting, don’t be over-obsessed with pedigree or brand. If you love it, it is good quality, and suits your purposes, then buy it. Same goes for fragrances. I think people sometimes buy a product because they are attracted to a brand name or a bottle. But bottom line, if the juice doesn’t work on you, then don’t wear it again. And try different options. Just like in thrift shopping, it may take a while to find what you’re looking for, you’ll eventually find the scent that suits you.

Thanks Stan. And for those who have no idea of the comedy associated with Hai Karate, enjoy:

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Meet Seth Plattner

sethplattner

I recently met Seth through a mutual friend who revealed he is a fragrance enthusiast. We met for a chat and I was immediately drawn to his energy. While he’s extremely busy (it took a minute to pin him down), once we met there was a gentle calmness to him that led me to ask him if he was a New Yorker. I wasn’t surprised when he said he wasn’t. He was even kind enough to introduce me to twittterberry.

I love this part of the fragrant conversation I’m conducting. It’s proof-positive we love our scents.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?

It has to be my mother’s pefume, Clinique Elixir, which she has worn for as long as I can remember. To this day every time I smell her it reminds me of my childhood, but also it has come to be a smell I associate with power, because my mom was a single mother who raised me and my triplet brothers plus my older brother (you read that right) alone while also establishing herself as a successful business woman.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?

During the colder months I wear Ralph Lauren Black (Polo Black) and in warmer months L’Homme by YSL

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?

I would say rarely. I am pretty attached to my fragrances not only because I like them but also because I think it is important for a man to have a specific scent that. Scent is a very powerful motivator for emotions, whether it’s lust, love, pain, regret, etc.

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?

I basically become attached to a scent for a number of years until I feel like I need a fragrance change that goes along with a change in my life — my scents are transitional with the transitions in my life. Like I said, I wore Abercrombie & Fitch, then Estee Lauder Pleasures and now Ralph Lauren Black and YSL L’Homme. All of them I have bought repeatedly. All of these scents have a similar sensibility — they aren’t over powering, or too musky or too spicey. They are a perfect balance of sweet and spice. That’s what I like.

How do you apply cologne?

I always do a spray on the front of my neck, back of my neck (for when people hug you) and then a spray below my belt because scent rises up and therefore hits the nose of whoever you are talking to (or so I’m told).

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

I guess it’s memorable only because it’s sad — I’d recently had my heart broken by a guy and I was walking down the street, caught a drift of the same cologne he wore and immediately started crying. It was sort of embarrassing but completely sincere. See what I mean about smell being a motivator of emotion?

Keep an eye on Seth. He writes great pieces for Out Magazines style blog, Stylist.

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Meet Darryl Robinson

I met Darryl a few weeks ago after a night of drinking with some of my colleagues lead us to The Hudson Hotel. He was bartending that night and mixing some excellent cocktails I might add. One in particular, the Obamanation, caught my attention for obvious reasons.

We were introduced by a mutual friend who knew of our love of fragrances and we began talking right away. We decided to continue our conversation at a later date and did so this past Tuesday in Union Square Park.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrances?

Definitely as a 3 -5 year old kid, my mother wore what I thought at the time was a very intense fragrance from Estee Lauder, and my father enjoyed Zizane, Aramis, Polo, and a few others which I can’t recall. My father had way more fragrances than my mother and tended to be more experimental. My mother was more of a loyalist to one brand.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?

YSL, Kiel’s Musk, Davidoff’s “Silver Shadow”, Gucci, and most recently Aedes De Venustes

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you
look for?

I’m more spontaneous about shopping for fragrances but on average will say I test 10-12 fragrances a month, and sometimes do a repeat test to confirm an opinion I may have had about a scent.. I like a combination of scents to include bold, sexy, calming, and all of these do not have to be present in one scent.

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was
it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?

Throughout my fragrance purchasing history I have always repurchased a core group of fragrances. Fahrenheit, Issey Miyake, Polo sport, Dolce & Gabana and Joop were more trendy induced purchases as I was younger and more impressionable. I wanted to be with the “In Crowd.” Today, my only steady repeat is Kiehl’s Musk. Kiehl’s has been a staple for the past 4 years. I find
it sexy and receptively friendly.

Because you’re known as the “mixologist” explain how you apply your cologne?

I have very dry skin, so I don’t apply any fragrance until after I’ve thoroughly moisturized my entire body with shea or cocoa butter. Then the party’s on!!! I start with 3-4 mists of Kiehl’s as my base. Then I reach for any one of my current scents in rotation and add another 3-4 mists and I’m ready to go.

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

Wow!!! I’d have to say, when a friend and I walked into the fragrance store that you suggested, Aedes De Venustes. At first I was a little overwhelmed, maybe even intimidated by the volume of fragrances that were all new to me. I recognized almost nothing. What a thrill!!! In the hour that I spent browsing, sniffing, sampling, and questioning the staff, I felt almost as fulfilled as I would from an enjoyable sexual experience. It was almost climactic like!!! A day later I’m still salivating!!!

As Darryl mentioned, I suggested he take a trip over to Aedes to experience the store. Not only did he do so, but he purchased their new signature scent, Aedes De Venustas.

Here are Darryl’s thoughts about it: I’m growing even greater love for this fragrance. It possesses an almost incense like undertone that is soothingly deceptive and calming. It’s far from over powering and has a sexiness that is obtainable at short range, ie: I’m glad it doesn’t over power a room and make me a human room deodorizer. Throughout the day I smell my wrists and arms to ensure that my senses maintained it’s consistent and flattering receptiveness to my new scent. Conclusion, it’s a winner and certain to be a repurchase.