August 30, 2005
The magic of Chandler Burr
Reading his writing about scents and perfumes is as close as you can get to smelling them without using your nose.
Boy, this man writes so deliciously it's all I can do to restrain myself from going right out and buying every perfume he's currently mad about.
My first encounter with Burr was when I read his book about Luca Turin, "The Emperor of Scent."
I found it completely and utterly absorbing, so much so that I made a determined effort to contact Turin and succeeded in doing so, with the beneficence of a return email from the "Lord of Fragrance."
This past Sunday, in the New York Times Magazine Fashion supplement, Burr was at it again, this time with a wonderful one–page essay on "the world's strangest perfumes."
- Start with the obvious: Diorella is a very strange perfume.
What is wonderful about Diorella is that it smells like a new fur coat that has been rubbed with a very creamy mint toothpaste.
It is a great, great fragrance.
It was created for Dior by the legendary perfumer Edmond Roudnitska in 1972, and it feels like 1932 and 2022 at the same time.
And that means that Diorella is — and there's just no other way to describe it — strange.
And that's good.
Now, strange is hard to come by.
People fear strange.
Speaking of strange, L'Artisan Parfumeur has Dzing!, which smells of the circus: the smell of the great cats, the sawdust in the ring and the leather whip.
Turin introduced me to Dzing! with one word: "weird."
L'Artisan's strangeness comes in part from its search to transform familiar odors into perfume.
"When we came out with Premier Figuier, it was extremely strange," Pamela Roberts, the company's creative director, said.
"People said that for years. One day I walked by a girl — 1994, it had just come out — she said, C'est merveilleux! You smell like a tree. I want some."
"Strange perfumes," Roberts says, "have the quality of being unplaceable."
For Malle (and lots of others), Guerlain's Mitsouko is one of the smartest fragrances ever,
"a bizarre accord of chypre, fruit and you have absolutely no idea what else."
Consider Sake by Fresh.
Sake... is strange.
It has no identifiable smell, not even sake.
When you wear it, people don't say, "Wow, I love your fragrance."
They say, simply, "You smell wonderful."
Then there's Rei Kawakubo, the queen of strange.
Kawakubo's fragrances do that same can't–define–it thing.
Her 2 is the dictionary definition of strange.
I hated it at first, and now I love it.
2 is a shape–shifter, a snake of smoke in dark air.
It is strangeness that makes your eyes narrow, strangeness that pulls you into deep waters.
It is brilliance in a bottle.
Paris Hilton's Rolling Pin
From the website:
- Sil–Pin™ is the only silicone rolling pin in the world.
Non–stick silicone makes rolling dough and cleanup easy.
Ergonomically shaped, contoured zinc alloy polished handles make for a comfortable grip that keeps your hand next to the roller.
Stainless steel ball bearings.
Consistent, easy roll.
12" x 3".
Also available in red, blue and black.
"Look up a typeface by name and see a sample."
What could be easier, or more useful?
Well, how about the site's reverse search feature?
If you don't know the name of a font, the site can identify it by having you answer a series of questions.
Font information from over 200 publishers.
Egg Carton Stool
Save your egg cartons.
When you have 150 stack them one atop the other.
Voila: your own designer stool.
Created by designer Inna Alesina.
You might send her a few bucks for the idea, if you're feeling especially prosperous that day.
Or you could buy one here;
it comes in four colors and three sizes.
It's a relatively new term used to describe an addiction to tanning.
Now medical science has discovered that it is a real disease.
Richard Wagner and colleagues, from the University of Texas Department of Dermatology, report in the current issue of Archives of Dermatology that 53% of the tanners they surveyed were "ultraviolet light tanning dependent."
The scientists concluded, "Individuals who chronically and repetitively expose themselves to UV light may have a novel type of UV light substance–related disorder."
Wagner said that his interest in exploring the behavior was piqued after seeing patient after patient with deep tans and skin cancer diagnoses who said, after he advised them to eliminate their exposure to sun, "they just can't stop."
The word "tanorexia" has Greek roots; the word "anorexia" derives from the Greek an– "without" + orexis "appetite, desire."
People who just can't stay out of the sun also are called tanaholics.
It seems to me that there is probably a real physiological basis to the pleasure and addictive nature of sun exposure.
I will not be surprised to learn, as the condition is further explored, that endorphin release accompanies sun exposure; that would be consistent with the addictive behavior reported.
World's Finest–Writing Ball Point Pen — 'The tip is so small you can write words on a grain of rice'
It's the UniBall Signo Bit 0.18mm pen from Mitsubishi.
There's a pen war on Japan, in case you didn't know, to produce the pen with the finest point.
Pilot came out with one having a ball diameter of 0.3mm in 1994.
Now comes this new player with a point twice the width of a human hair.
The pen required the invention of a special friction–reducing ink.
Mitsubishi has sold 4 million of the pens, which come in eight colors, for $1.75 apiece in Japan.
They cost $25 for a set of all eight colors here.
[via Tony McNicol and Wired magazine]
'Frederick Carder: Glass, Passion, Invention'
He ran Steuben until 1932.
An exhibition of 82 of his pieces opens Tuesday, September 6 at the Gallery at Steuben. (667 Madison Avenue at 61st Street in New York City.)
The show will be up through February 18, 2006.
World Map Hooded Poncho
Made of Tyvek®, that superlight, super-tough material you see new homes wrapped with.
You may also have noticed that both Fedex and the U.S. Postal Service use it for envelopes.
36" long and 54" wide to completely cover your arms.
People will talk.
They will look to see where they are from.
Just don't let them put a pin in.