Thursday, 21 June 2012


Summer holidays always make me think of salt; especially salt on the skin.The salty bracing air of the Atlantic is lovely in the spring and autumn, but for the summer give me the Meditterranean any time. I turn into a beach bum, smelling of suntan oil (yes to french eponymous Ambre Solaire and the much regretted Jean Patou huile de chaldée, which gave an inmediate colour and smelled exotically of the 1920's golden girls!). It is difficult to find perfumes that truly give off a salty, tangy, sundrenched and yes slightly sweaty smell. I went over to the fragantica website to look up notes of my beach summer perfumes and noticed that the salt seems to come from a combination of nutty/almonds, vanilla, ozonic fresh married to fruits sometimes red and some citrussy. Summer evening perfumes tend to have fruits, rose, licorice, caramel, and drydown to tonka bean and vanilla. I give you my alltime favourites for day and evening! Let me know which are yours.
Look up Italian perfumers, Profumum Roma, they only produce the real stuff so  no eau de toilette versions here, but for me their Acqua di Sale and their Vuolo AZ 486 give me a real beach bum feel sitting with a glass of ouzo after a morning tanning and swimming with some small mezze on my favourite terrace facing the sea in the Greek Peloponnese. Vuolo AZ 486 is also great I would think for those who holiday in the Pacific, Latin American region, it has coconut and tropical fruits but not overdone.For a similar effect you can also try Maitre Gantier et Parfumeur Bahania.

 If you want more coconut and suntan oil, Comptoir Pacifique do a candied Vanille Coco, which if too much add some ozonic perfume  to tone down.For a softer sillage and definitely better behaved than the beach bum look, go for Guerlain's new Acqua Allegoria, Lys Soleia. It has the signature of new Guerlain perfumer Thierrry Wasser who has done much to rebuild Guerlain's perfumes to their former creativity.

Lastly if you want the salty with a  slight metallic twing, there is nothing better than to go for that 80's monument, Dune by Christian Dior You hesitate between car exhaust and metallic car paint and a salty seabreeze, but for those whose skins take to it it is a sex bomb!

For me the nightime is about cooling down but enjoying the day's warmth of the sun. A shower and some sparkels and colourful wear, and I can feel the relaxation setting in. What to wear as a perfume? think back to that 60's french cult movie La Piscine (the swimmingpool) with Romy Schneider and Alain Delon, for me this means two perfumes which play in the general notes I mentioned in the beginning; Angel by Thierry Mugler (there is an eau de toilette version!) and Lolita Lempicka. You might think these two too heavy but rub some oil (Nuxe huile prodigieux if you can get it) and then a few spritzes of perfume, I swear heaven is there!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

vintage and tiles

We all have seen in museums around the world the lovely intimist 17th century dutch interiors(here one by Pieter de Hoogh), where tiled surfaces predominate!Tiles such as these old Dutch delft tiles are still used in vintage ktichens with rough white painted wooden furniture(use recuperated 30is and 50s cheap and easy to get)You can get bobochic vintage tiles, used as design on wallpaper, cushions and porcelain. A great example comes from Turkish/Indian design duo, Burcu Akin and Piyush Suri, these can be used to provide contrast with taupe/neutral furnishings.

If on the other hand you want to give greater impact to your vintage furniture, have a look at UK wallpaper manufacturer par excellence, Sanderson, who have brought out a lovely 50's vintage wallpaper collection (see some examples here).
I would advise rather than a great expanse of this wallpaper , maybe use a pan of it down the centre of a wall. It will provide a strong focus statement.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee colour

In spite of the rain pouring down, Britain showed the world how to render hommage to a Queen. What always strikes me with the Queen and members of the royal family that they are keen followers of the precept of colour blocking! Rarely especially the last years have I seen the Queen in print or flower fabrics. I think she has realised what it took us a longer time to do so, is that using one colour, the face and personality comes out much stronger. My personal prefernce is more to use colour blocking using two colours or three if I use a striking accesory.
As most of us are nowadays limited by wardrobe space and money, some accesories have been designed to give the maximum versatility. For a great handbag solution to accompany differnt colour outfits,I love French label Juste Campagne, they make a shopper bag (cabas) in natural tinted leather in straps and let the cotton lining show through so as to provide the colour note. the lining can be changed in function of your outfit!
Another great accesory is the plastic fashion  colour watch, my favourite is Ice Watch, who have understood the need for colour statement, having both the strap and watch in the same colour.
Finally to close my post on a more cultural note, if you happen to be in Paris before the end of June(ends June 21), go and see artist Daniel van Buren's colouring of the Grand Palais, a 19th century building in the middle of Paris.