This weekend I was invited to go to La Jolla to see a play by a friend of a friend called "33 Variations", which was having its West Coast premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse. It's a seriously great play, and if you have a chance to see it, do so. That's not the focus of this rather meandering post, but it sets up the reason that we were inspired to stop into South Coast Plaza on the way home. South Coast Plaza is in Orange County ( I refuse to call it "The O.C.") and has stores ranging from Sears to Louis Vuitton. Tourists from Japan make it a destination; the price of the yen is such that luxury goods are cheaper in the US, the sales tax in the county is lower and one can fly right into John Wayne airport and dash over.
They also have one of the best Nordstroms I've ever been in: it's giant and the perfume department is a fever dream of items that you won't find anywhere else. Carons that I thought I'd need to go to France to get are jumbled on the counter with Annick Goutal, all there to spritz with abandon. The head spins. One of the things they had which I have tried and tried to convince myself it good on me is Guerlain's Jicky. It should suit me down to the ground: cold citrus opening and warm vanilla musk drydown, right?? Sadly, whatever I do to it is not pretty: my skin just seems to club it into submission. Drat it. For those of you on whom it's gorgeous, the extremely nice SA mentioned that they have three bottles left of the old-formula pure perfume in the beautiful bottle with the gorgeous green presentation box. The resentation alone makes $300 seem reasonable, especially with some of the newer releases these days. If you are inclined, please call Linda Lieb at (714) 549 8300 extension 1171. Tell her the man in the yellow t-shirt sent you, and he apologises for not buying.
Also at Nordstom is Kiehls, with their eponymous musk scent. I've been sniffing it on and off for a long time trying to decide once and for all if it's an acceptable substitute for the hard-to-get Muscs Koublai Khan. I've decided that (since I have a bottle of MKK stashed yet, and have people in Europe who still speak to me) that it's not. It's very nice, mind you; a sensuous musk with a bit of powder in the drydown. However, in that "you can't keep them down on the farm when they've seen Paree" way, I just find it a little lacking. It seems a little blunter, a little less thought out. The perfume equivalent of ordering the Bette and Joan version of "Baby Jane" and getting the version with the Redgraves. Or, in a less gay analogy, it's hoping to find your blind date looks like Dennis Quaid and finding that he looks like Randy. Nothing wrong with Randy or the Redgraves, but when you've seen Dennis circa 1988 with his shirt off or Bette serve Joan a dead rat for her din-dins substitutions, no matter how nice, just don't cut it. Of course Kiehls is also a quarter the price of the Lutens, and you don't have to go to Paris to get it, so there's something to be said for that.