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Friday, November 02, 2007

What a difference a day makes

By Tom

Saturday here was overcast and cool for the first time in a week, which is great news for the firefighters here. Today (Sunday) was hotter, but we might actually get rain on Monday.

I stopped into ScentBar on Saturday to visit the Lutens, since they are now carrying most of the line in the store, not online. I also sniffed the two new Commes des Garcons, Luxe Champaca and Luxe Patchouli, which are lovely, but I think a bit overpriced at $265, gorgeous bottles or not. The new Parfums d'Empire are spectacular and I will be cadging samples soon for a review. PG's Cadjmere is beautiful: citrus, cypress and milky woods- I don't think that company has made a wrong move yet. Being primarily a visual person, I am horrible with names so I apologize in advance to the two nice ladies who were in the store with me whom I had met at the LA sniffa, we (and my friend) spritzed and chatted and had a wonderful time. One of them had a sample of the new Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanilla, which is a stunner- incensey vanilla goodness and that Querlain drydown. She told me she has a bottle coming. I want to stalk her.

Sunday, I needed to buy a belt. I am on a diet in the fond hope of getting back to the weight of the photo of myself I gave to Kelley to post. The 33" jeans are falling off, but I am not going to buy new ones when I have perfectly good 30" ones waiting for me to get back into them. So it was off to the Beverly Center. I also had a secondary mission: someone mentioned the scent "Cumming" and I was determined to track it down. It's at Sephora, but sadly, only online. Downstairs to Macy', no luck there on the belt front. I did espy a bottle if Givenchy PI, which I spritzed on my wrist, it seemed a pleasant rosemary and citrus thing, but almost immediately the MKK I was wearing kicked it in the privates, stole it's lunch money and made it cry. I asked the handsome SA if they had samples of it. He looked blankly at me and spritzed a card. I explained that I was wearing something else and I wanted to smell it on my body, not on paper. He looked, if possible more blankly at me when from the other side of the perfume counter a peevish voice shrilled "we don't give out samples". I know, I could have taken the escalators up to the 7th floor back to Sephora and they would have made me a sample, but at that point why bother? (The Beverly Center is the oddest mall, the ground floor has Macy's mens store, some restaurants like the now-defunct Hard Rock cafe, and a Bed Bath and Beyond, then there are 6 levels of parking and then on top of that is the rest of the mall.)

Therein lies the difference a day makes, and why going to the locals, the ones who aren't just doing it for the commission, the passionate ones is always best. I have bought maybe four bottles of perfume from ScentBar since it has opened and my friend has bought bubkus. She and I have never been treated in less than the most welcoming manner, and it's certainly not because of any power that I imagine myself to have from this blog. They take real joy in this, as do the boys at Aedes in NY (who were so sweet to me when I was there last week I wanted them to adopt me), or Allesandro at All Purpose in LA. I am sure that each of you can fill in your favorite SA, who might even be from a Macys who is the same way. At the Beverly Center I could have been riding a power mower wearing nothing but my black Amex with my hair on fire and not gotten any attention at all, except perhaps to be told that I had to valet the mower.

I found a belt and two cashmere/cotton sweaters for 29 bucks apiece at Old Navy and a lovely lunch at Beverly Falafel (which is worth a trip on it's own).

Image source, seeing-stars.com.

41 Comments:

Blogger tmp00 said...

Funny- that's an old picture. That's the Beverly/San Vicente entrance showing the Hard Rock Cafe, which closed a year ago. That side is boarded up, the neon and the Caddy is gone and it's painted a matte beige.

Back in the day before Federated/ Macys bought (and ruined) everything, this was THE mall: a Bullocks and a Broadway on top, top flight stores, and a Conrans and the Irvine Ranch Market (Whole Foods before it existed) on the ground floor. I saw Barbra Streisand among others in there, wandering around with shopping bags.

They are trying to go upscale again, but being anchored By Federated controlled Macys and Bloomingdales I don't know how much Apple Stores and Vuitton shops can up the quotients.

1:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous andy said...

Glad, the scent bar boys are serving their drinks properly! The mall looks cool and I remember wondering about its architecture when passing by last May. Next time I have to go in there!

2:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous dinazad said...

Don't I know JUST what you're talking about! I prefer buying at my favourite perfumery when I decide to buy a perfume, even if I could probably get it for a few dollars less in a department store. But they know about scents at my perfumery, they'll alway willingly decant large samples (even if you turn up there every Saturday like the proverbial bad penny) and are always unswervingly friendly and courteous. Now that the term "customer service" has become as well-known as, say, the Intuit term for "whale blubber" in Paris, these places need to be coddled and loved. Maybe they'll grow and proliferate?

4:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Snarky SAs aside, sounds like you had a fun day.

And you're shrinking back down to a 30 waist? I haven't been that since I was in my teens - impossible for me unless I was going for the anorexic/skeletal look (never been the body type for the Slimane Dior Homme look).

Still, I ain't no fatty...

*rolls off to find doughnuts*

4:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Tom, next time when you'll be riding your power mower wearing nothing but your black Amex with your hair on fire - could you please make a photo and post it ? Please! Please...

5:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

I HATE SA's that refuse to give samples! It just gets me so mad. I don't understand the policy - surely, especially when it comes to mainstream perfumes, the brands want as much advertizing as possible? Whenever this happens to me I have to remember your fabulous line from Pansy's Rants, comparing it to asking them for their liver on toasted bread! Arrrgh! I mean, hell, it's not like it is of personal cost to the SA. Indeed, I also prefer buying at my local perfumery. They know me and make samples of everything I ask for - they even made an exception for me and decanted a large 3 ml sample for me of Narcisso's oil last year. Does it pay off? Hell yeah, I went and bought the full bottle a few days later.

PS: What is even worse, is that when it comes to mainstream brands, they usually DO have carded samples ...which they keep for themselves. (This is not me being paranoid... A couple of women who used to work as SA's told me that almost every sample they got when they worked, whether it was a cream or a perfume would end up back at their house..NICE.)

5:56 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Tomski-

Next time in Boston, go see Ann Fanning at Neiman's, in Copley Square !
She's probably one of the first folk I know to get IFF certified [years ago !].
We've been friends for close to 30 years... gracious, gorgeous, Grace Kelly-esque, and knows her sh@t !

Of those in Colonial Drug [Brattle St., Harvard Square], I recommend Cathy Botindari-hands down- for her knowledge.
Again, we met in'72- and she is obliging and brilliant.

Wouldn't you and I have a time on the town, together, in perfume cahoots....
SIGH.

6:08 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

You got my day started laughing out loud at the power mower image. :-) Thanks! I can't wait for my samples of the new CdG Luxe scents. Frankly, I'm hoping I don't love them...but part of me *wants* one of those pyramid bottles.

6:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Kayliana said...

I would kill to go to the scentbar. In fact I have told Franco if he opens one here in Florida I would run it. I can't imagine how fun that would be to work with fragrance every single day! Then again maybe I would get burned out like poor Ina at aromascope. I think it's even jaded our Marina a little too :-( What a a bummer. Anyway! That Guerlain double vanilla stuff is just how EVERYONE should be smelling in the coming months. That stuff is incredible! I got mine from Epcot of all places. Tom, do save your pennies for that one, I think I would fall over if I smelled it on a man... so good!

7:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Hey, who is calling me jaded? :-) I am not jaded, I am, to quote Angela, a connoisseur :-)
C, big hugs, how are you feeling?! Is the big even coming soon or have I missed it and it has passed already?!

8:25 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Ms. Lollipop-

Do you mean ME ?

If so, then YES !
If I had a recent address, I'd send you a samp to try...

Things are heating up here, in a good way.
And hugs back atcha-
I'm feelin' NO pain...

9:37 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Yup. Who gets my money? Whenever possible, the boys at the only homegrown niche boutique, who greet me like a friend no matter how many times I leave without buying anything, and give me tons of samples to take home

I'm with you on the Guerlain Vanille -- is that not amazing? I've been mad at Guerlain, some of their recent stuff hasn't thrilled me at all, and I didn't even try Vanille because I'm not a huge fan of vanilla. But it's great! BTW if you want to up the smoky component, layering it with CB Burning Leaves is spectacular.

10:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Sorry you had a hassle with the SA's... it does sound like a fun trip nonetheless!

Pi is my partner's go-to fragrance. It actually got him hired by my mom's friend: "he's smart, he's so nice, and he smells WONDERFUL." Weird. I think you'd like it, if you managed to get a sample. Pat's bottle is getting to the strange smelling dregs, or I'd mail you one... what I have would really be a misrepresentation at this point.

Le sigh... enormous bottles.

11:20 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

andy-

It's actually an interesting place, and since the Grove opened they have been struggling a bit. Which makes me wonder more at the Macy's attitude..

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

dinazad-

I think all of those places need to be nurtured

11:46 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

lee-

I did have fun!

I'm shooting for 30" but I'll settle for a bit more. I have a freakishly shaped body; it's like a martini glass- big shoulders and chest and teensy waist and hips. Well, the waist will be teensy again dammit!

11:48 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

jane-

I promise I will!

11:48 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

divina-

I's sure that's true, and that's why I don't shop from most dept stores. I want to wear it and live with it before I buy.

11:56 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

chaya!

How I miss Colonial Drug! I don't know that I could go to Boston without shedding a tear for Filene's, but you'd comfort me, right?

11:58 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

elle-

I won't lie to you, they were really nice. Were I wealthy I might have splurged

11:59 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

kayliana- I think they SHOULD open one in Florida. They'd do really well there.

I don't think Marina's jaded, just choosy.

12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March-

That Guerlain is fahb-you-luss. It smelled great on me. I may have to get some. I also may have to live in my car, but that's the price you pay, right?

12:02 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ducks-

I will give it a try when I am wearing something a little less aggressive. It seemed like a nice one.

12:04 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

I hate Macy's. There is no reason at all for them to exist.

1:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous yeahsowhat said...

Oh yeah, Scent Bar. I found it grossly intimate and extremely claustrophobic. I'll never go back! There's simply no room for spritzes to dissipate so its spatial concept is absurdly wrong for testing (choke). Plus the sales person is barely two feet away so personal contemplation is awkward (unless of course you require an audience to applause your reactive "chemistry"). I prefer privacy.

Luckyscent "online" has worked for me since its inception a few years back. And Franco's been the BEST! So don't fret people if you're not within walking distance - that bar sucks!!

1:33 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

PS You haven't tried Cumming?!?! My friend, I think you'd love it. Even if you don't, it's different enough you'd likely be amused. If I had a decant I'd send it to you. Seriously, keep an eye out, it could be "you," if you don't kill off all the skank (and there is skank, it's got that walk-of-shame note we love.)

1:53 PM EDT  
Blogger luv_bug said...

I loooove Scentbar. The SA, Angela, is so charming and knowledgable. I especially love taking fragrance newbies there and letting her work her magic, whittling down the choices to the one or two that my friend will love. Very fun stuff!

(Of course, then *I* have free reign to sniff whatever I want undisturbed.)

I like to make a day of it and go to Chado tea room, afterwards, for scones and cherry-blossom tea. We can talk, sip, and smell our wrists for hours.

1:54 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March-

I ordered a decant from the Perfumed Court. Which will arrive any moment I hope.

2:38 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

yeahsowhat-

It is a bizarre space, but it's strange shape is most likely what makes it affordable to them

4:20 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

luv bug

Angela is incredibly nice.

There's also Sweet Lady Jane up on Melrose and Orlando. Just sayin'

4:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

ROTFL - I second what Lady Jane said! :-D

I would love to vist Scent Bar - the web site is fab, but I would like to see all that stuff "in person!"

4:24 PM EDT  
Anonymous denise l. said...

Ha, and I thought SA's were just mean and scary because I still look like a broke college student...can anyone recommend a nice niche shop in northern California?

6:48 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

flora-

I like them so much there that the odd space doesn't bother me. But I do a fast fade of there's a bunch of people in there, primarily because I don't want to get in the way of Angela doing her job.

6:51 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

denise-

No, that's not the case.

There's a thread on Basenotes discussing the San Francisco area shops: http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=177441

does that help any?

6:53 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Tom, not sure if you saw this (or if I can post it here) -- the website for Cumming the fragrance (you can google it) has a hilarious commercial with Alan prancing around. Worth your two minutes watching him roll around on his bed, making loooove to the camera.
I'm going to try to stick the link here:

http://www.cummingthefragrance.com/html/commercial.html

7:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Gaia, The non-blonde said...

I haven't been to the Beverly Center in years (well, I haven't been to LA in years), but what I remember is terrible service at the Bobbi Brown counter at Bloomie's, lovely service at the Chanel counter (I was having a skin emergency that needed to be dealt with right away), and an unconvincing bookstore upstairs.
I buy from Aedes whenever possible, but going to march right into Bergdorf for that double Vanille heaven. If there ever was something that had my name all over it...

As for Pi, I can send you a sample. There's something else I need to send you, so expect an email as soon as the migraine I've been fighting for the last 24 hours decides it has had enough. My brain, she is totally fried.

9:51 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March-

I did see that. I plan on ordering if I love the decant. Wish he'd deliver personally- he's soooo cute!

10:50 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Gaia-

Depending when you went, the bookstore has become even less convincing (moved to a smaller space). Luckily there are some great specialty bookstores in the area.

I hear you on Aedes, those dreamy boys.. But Bergdorfs! That Guerlain is there just waiting for you- I think it will adore you. Stop and say "Hi" to the nice guy at the Erno Laszlo counter for me- I was the guy who told him about the pHelytil oil taking off the new sunscreens like Anthelios. Make him give you samps of the new Transphuse day and night. They're fab.

You're too you for them but I am seriously jonesing for the Pitanguy throat-firming cream.

Migranes. Sistah, I hear you. Much to my horror I've found that this wheat-free diet has helped with that. I have no migranes, but I have no cake. If I was still in NYC, I would have written bagels, but there are no good bagels in Los Angeles. But there is good cake. Excedrine migrane isn't bad

11:11 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

that was "You're too you for them but I am seriously jonesing for the Pitanguy throat-firming cream."

11:14 PM EDT  
Anonymous denise l. said...

Great, thanks Tom!

4:02 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom - did your sample of Cumming arrive yet? Absurdly interested in what you think of it.

-Existentialist

1:10 PM EST  

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