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Happy Thanksgiving!

On November 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I am thankful for my friends, and family (I guess!), and lipstick, and big scarves, and white v-neck tees, and perfume, and light rain, and several shades of green, and pearls, and parsnips, and toast, and waffles. And peanut butter. And popcorn. And gold things.

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Currently loving NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Terre de Feu, a dark but still vibrant burgundy with a hint of rust that keeps it in the warm rather than plummy camp of dark reds. Just bright enough for the color to shine through rather than coming across as only ‘really dark’. Beautiful. Wears nicely on the lips as well, I don’t find the formula at all drying. NARS does mattes so well.

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I really wanted Volga, but it is currently sold out everyplace.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

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the hooded parka

On November 24, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Surely winter could not come and go without at least the consideration of a new coat. Surely.

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And wouldn’t you know it, I found one! An olive green parka with a fur lined hood, like I’ve been hoping to find for ages. Ages I tell you. Cotton, not down, but still quite heavy and warm, and not $600. Not inexpensive, either, but that’s a coat for you.

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It’s getting to be that time where the fashion element of the site consists of various outerwear and protective gear. I do love coats, but still. It’s going to be a lot of coats. A lot of a few coats. One does want to look just as stylish with or without a coat, true. I’ll be mostly wearing thermal shirts and sweaters underneath them so will probably look a good deal more put together with the coat on, but one does long for the days of bare arms and wearing whatever one wants.

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Two scarves!

Zara parka, Express Jeans, Jeffrey Campbell France Strapped boots (I do like olive and rust together). On the lips: MAC lipstick in Hang Up, a deep raspberry bordeaux, which liking very much. I need to do another bordeaux lip round up, I think. Have found several I like since the first one.

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I can’t get enough of dramatic hoods and collars, and dramatic necklines in general. Fur is an easy way to achieve this kind of massive sculptural volume around the shoulders and/or throat, and I’m always lamenting that some of the old school strategies have gone out of style, i.e. ruffs and vertiginously high collars. A generous hood can be such a pleasing frame for the head and shoulders when down (think the massively hooded cloaks the women are wearing throughout the Danish film Babette’s Feast – excellent film btw), it’s almost a shame to put it up. Then, though, up it is a completely different kind of pleasing frame.

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we like: Versace Fall 2014 RTW

On November 23, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

The Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear collection from Versace features micro dresses—that mod, 60’s length—asymmetrical hems, boxy coats, playful (or playlike, or toylike) military buttons, and a restrained color palette of mainly red, black, and a deep, saturated teal. I am often on board with superfluous buttons, but the real beauties of this collection are the bias cut dresses, a new thing for Versace, and the absolutely stunning boots. Leave it to an Italian designer to present badass thigh-high boots for daywear.

The bias is the 45 degree angle across the grid of a woven fabric, in which direction the fabric has greater flexibility and stretch. Fabrics cut in this direction, bias cut, are known for draping beautifully and hugging the body in a way that is fluid and seamless (or seemingly seamless, compared to the complex tailoring/seaming of a fitted dress cut straight), at least in luxury fabrics like silk and satin. They are usually easy to spot as the fabric of the garment and the internal seams necessary to piece together a sufficiently large swathe of fabric are at that 45 degree angle from the major seams. Galliano, for example, especially in his work at Dior, is known for his bias cut dresses.

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So these boots above are handsome, yes, chic and witchy, but I was talking about these boots.

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Ugh! Beautifully done, Donatella. The sleek silhouette is given a bohemian softness by the elaborate cut-outs and suede finish.

These ones not bad, either. These, still more baroque in their embellishment, seem to me even more blatantly Italian.

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images via style.com, click through to the slideshow to see the whole collection

 

playlist: still burning

On November 22, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

My taste is all over the place across the board, really, but especially when it comes to music. Here are some tracks I’m liking lately, with Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghost’ the reigning favorite dance track.

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1. Ella Henderson – Ghost

2. Iggy Azalea – Black Widow ft. Rita Ora

3. Parliament – The Motor Booty Affair (classic funk, no one else seems to like this song quite as much as I do, which is baffling)

4. Bloc Party – She’s Hearing Voices (and old favorite)

5. The New Pornographers – Challengers

6. Tom Petty – Zombie Zoo (caught this on the radio around Halloween and have been listening to it ever since)

7. Modest Mouse – Dashboard

8. Cansei de ser Sexy – Music is My Hot Hot Sex

9. Blue Oyster Cult – Burnin’ for You

10. Le Tigre – I’m So Excited (great cover)

11. Darius – Velour

12. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (cutesy but damn catchy)

image via pinterest

smell this: Halston 1-12

On November 21, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Halston 1-12 launched in 1976 along with its more popular brother Halston Z-14. Both were named for the perfumer’s codes for the drafts, Halston couldn’t decide between the two and launched both simultaneously. Often considered the younger brother, overshadowed by Z-14 (a harbinger of the 80s powerhouse colognes to come), but I think it is also the more academic, more mysterious brother. Z-14 doesn’t interest me at all. I don’t typically like chypres,* often think they smell…not good. Old fashioned? Unpleasant. Musty but not in the way I like…

* “Chypre, pronounced: [ʃipʁ] or [ʃipχ], is the name of a family (or concept) of perfumes that are characterised by an accord composed of citrus top-notes, a middle centered on cistus labdanum, and a mossy-animalic base-note derived from oak moss and musk. Chypre perfumes fall into numerous classes according to their modifier notes, which include but are not limited to leather, florals, fruits, and amber.” (wikipedia)

But I like this. Probably because it meets the technical requirements of a chypre but feels like a fougère.**  Fougères I routinely like (ref. YSL Rive Gauche pour homme). Intellectually a chypre, emotionally a fougère, 1-12 is surprisingly complex for its price tag, and surprisingly contemporary for its age.

** Fougère, pronounced: [fu.ʒɛʁ], meaning “fern-like”, is one of the main families into which modern perfumes are classified, with the name derived from the perfume Fougère Royale (Houbigant) by Paul Parquet, now preserved in the archives of the Osmothèque. This class of fragrances have the basic accord with a top-note of lavender and base-notes of oakmoss and coumarin (Tonka bean). Aromatic fougère, a derivative of this class, contains additional notes of herbs, spice and/or wood.” (more wikipedia)

This opens with a bright lemon and green cedar-like accord, a little shrill for the first few seconds (but you know better than to judge a perfume in the first few seconds) but quickly softened by notes of basil and bergamot. The opening is not my favorite part of this, reminds me too much of the screaming green opening of Grey Flannel, which cologne I like but not until many minutes after application (and even then, not so much as I like 1-12). Grey Flannel, while it has its charm, could never be mistaken for a modern perfume, and I think 1-12 could be. And probably would be, as few seem to know about it.

Effervescent citrus and coniferous green soften into a soapy, lavender-infused green with a hint of gin—by which I mean juniper—, and when the creamy tonka bean (sweet, vanilla-like) comes forward, that’s when I begin to really like this fragrance. The green smells interesting and fresh, mossy yet newly laundered at the same time. This base is balanced such that the players that often dominate the base (amber, musk) are instead quietly warming and intensifying the rest of the team. The key players left on the skin hours in (and this lasts pretty well on me) are moss and tonka bean, with the aromatic cedar and juniper (and maybe lavender, sometimes I can catch it and sometimes I can’t) never quite fading away completely. This may be too soapy for some but I don’t mind it at all. My main complaint about soapy fragrances is that they are dull, and Halston 1-12 is not.

To me this smells subdued and elegant. It’s gently masculine, readily unisex. Suitable for wear year round. Especially good in the rain.

It’s been discontinued for a while but it’s still easy to find it dirt cheap all over, around $10 or less. Fantastic value here, this fragrance shows that you don’t need to spend a lot to get a quality scent. You’re not likely to bump into someone else wearing it, either. Woefully overlooked, check it out.

 

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