Aug 252011
 

Serge Lutens is set to release an exclusive fragrance, De Profundis due out on September 1st (for more about Serge Lutens’ exclusive fragrances, see here).  Although U.S. buyers will have to enlist the help of a European friend or get on a plane to obtain a bottle, Cafe Makeup was able to obtain a review sample from the Serge Lutens Palais Royale Boutique/Paris from the incredible staff, for which I am extremely grateful.

Unlike the golden and amber tones of most of the Serge Lutens fragrances, De Profundis is a violet tone that echoes the walls of the Palais Royale boutique.

I understand from reading other blogs that De Profundis will be sold in two versions of limited edition bottles, both are expected to be very limited in quantity.  This bell jar is coated in a metallic silver tone:

This one with elaborate glasswork and lettering:

The name “De Profundis” (“from the depths”) evokes a letter written by Oscar Wilde while imprisoned, in which he recounts his prior life and then describes his spiritual growth.  As a fragrance, De Profundis is rich, deep and transformative.  The predominant notes are chrysanthemum and incense, although I’m detecting some violet, a persistent green scent, spice and something earthy.  My best description is that the fragrance parallels the experience of being inside a large stone cathedral–there is a cool earthiness, an unyielding stone, an inspiring height and remnants of incense from ceremonies performed over the past centuries.  It’s complicated, dark, and yet the green notes provide a strong sense of hope.

De Profundis will work beautifully for men and women.  Serge Lutens is able to use the notes of his scents as a communicative medium–De Profundis is as content-rich as a good film.  De Profundis is a combination of aspiration, spirit and deep humanity expressed through scent.  Excellent, gorgeous, and well worth seeking out.

A sample size of De Profundis was sent to Cafe Makeup free of charge for review.

 

 

Please follow us on....

Aug 222011
 

Serge Lutens has just released Vitriol D’Oeillet in Europe, due in the U.S. in September. Although a rough translation might be “anger of a carnation,” this rather literal treatment underplays the meaning of the word “vitriol,” which refers to a caustic, damaging rage. Before I tried the scent, I suspected that I would like the rage more than the carnation.

Carnations scents are difficult, in the U.S. this is a very common funeral flower. Of course, Serge Lutens plays off dark references easily, his description of the scent is quite dark:

…Yet the carnation is an obsessive and intrepid flower.  When it doesn’t bloom on market stalls and in open fields in southern France,  the carnation – blood red, as if bitten by a dapper criminal with a fox-like smile – perishes.  North, across the English Channel, London gentlemen wear white carnations in the buttonholes of their silk lapels.  In the crimson velvet interior of a cinema, a girl in a film is being used as bait. She  stumbles in the eerie flicker of a street light. As usual, she’s poor and her hair is  dishevelled. The street corner suddenly goes dark. Unable to see, the poor thing  braces herself for the worst. And one fears (and hopes) that it will happen. And  it will, unless the projector providentially overheats and the film catches fire,  plunging the room into inky blackness. Yes, things look very bad for our heroine.  We hear her shriek – «No!» – and read the French subtitle: «Non!»

Vitriol D’Oeillet mixes spice with cream. Serge Lutens’ interpretation pares out many of the unpleasant notes from the flower to create a polished, creamy clear fresh note.  The spices include cayenne pepper, pink pepper and black pepper and clove.  There is a slightly woody base, but it is very subtle and very soft.

The scent was extremely strong on first application, a rush of intense flower, creamy carnation and very strong dark spice.  The scent is refined and complex, and takes over the senses.  As the scent dries down, the spice predominates although the creamy flower never recedes entirely.   I found the combination so intriguing that I missed the scent when I wasn’t wearing it.  The scent is uncompromising without being sharp or overpowering.

I have read that Vitriol D’Oeillet dries down to a gentle scent, with a sillage that remains steady and subtle hours after application.  This was my experience on my quieter days.   The scent’s lasting power was at least 24 hours, although at far lower volume than the initial hour.  In that sense, its office-appropriate (although edgy).  I find myself holding my wrist up occassionally, as its does recede quite significantly to a subtle spice.  To be clear, it did not fade gradually to nothing–rather, it dropped down after the first hour and then remained at approximately the same level of subtlety for at least a day.

However, even a dozen hours after application I found Vitriol D’Oeillet extremely responsive to my body temperature.  On days when I became very warm late into the evening, the deeper, spicier notes of the scent came back very strong– and perhaps even stronger than when I first applied it–like a secret released under very strong heat.  I’ve concluded that Vitriol D’Oeillet perhaps does not dry down, but rather it rests a bit until awakened.

Vitriol D’Oeillet works beautifully on both men and women.

Gorgeous.  Highly recommended.

U.S. buyers can look for Vitriol D’Oeillet at Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations. Scents are also sold on Serge Lutens website. This sample-size was sent from the Serge Lutens Palais Royale Boutique/Paris without charge to Cafe Makeup for review.

Please follow us on....

May 062011
 

Serge Lutens Eyeshadow Palette ($160) is part of a very select group of Beauty Essentials.  I previewed this palette, from my visit to the Serge Lutens boutique (here), but waited to a return to the U.S. to get better pictures and swatches.  As the only eyeshadows made by Serge Lutens, these are intended to work for any number of occasions and nearly all skin tones.  There is a deep black, deep brown (tinged with mauve), aubergine and light creme.   This last color is a near-matte that almost matches my NC15/Chanel Cameo skin tone.

The palette is packaged in a very sleek, discreet, slim black compact designed to fit anywhere.  It includes three sponge applicators, which I do not anticipate ever using.  The case is well-made and fuss-free.  It opens flat, which is a nice feature.  I love a compact that just does whatever I ask.

Serge Lutens got this combination right–I was hard-pressed to identify a skin tone on which this eyeshadow palette would not work.  Three of these colors are deep and strong.  The deep aubergine and cool red-brown keeps these neutrals on an edge.  Close up:

Swatches (the light creme on the far left nearly matches my skin tone, but it is there):

 

I must confess that I love this palette more than I thought that I would.  I bought it as a treat, to commemorate my tour of Les Palais Royale boutique, but find that I’m reaching for it more and more.  This is surprising to me, given that this is the Spring season when I should be focusing on the new collections.  Yet there it is.  I find that the black liner is a soft, sooty sexy black that lasts all day.  I find myself loving the softer, intense look that this very intensely-pigmented powder gives my eye over the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner, which looks more “makeup-y” and a touch artificial by comparison.  I should note that I’ve used five Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners in Black Ink all the way to the bottom, and so I do love that product.

All colors last all day without a primer.  I use all shades dry because they do not need to be intensified.

Like the Serge Lutens perfumes, the colors are mesmerizing, gorgeous and extremely intense.  They are timeless and modern, clean but a touch bruised, and they set off the slight mauve undertone in my coloring beautifully.  True love.

Please follow us on....

Mar 232011
 

At Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royale, I purchased a lipstick in #6, Mauve de Swann ($70).  I tried on another color, a deep red, and was very tempted, but decided to go with this neutral instead.

The bullet is encased in a deep red-brown hexagon, and refills can be purchased separately ($55).  The line has a range of ten colors:

My wonderful contacts at the boutique were kind enough to provide this sample card to me, which includes six of the shades to swatch for you:

As you can see, these six shades include three reds and three neutrals:

  • Mise a Mort:  A warm red
  • Roman Rouge:  A deep, cool red
  • Pourpre Maure:  A deep plum
  • Or Perle: A sheer gold cream that is very moisturizing
  • Rose des Glaces:  A soft cream-rose
  • Mauve de Swann:  A soft mauve-pink

To see the swatches, click “continue reading”….

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

Mar 232011
 

During my visit to Serge Luten’s Les Salons du Palais Royale, I was introduced to his makeup line.  The line is a highly edited collection (called “The Beauty Essentials“) that is made of products that are intended to look good on every woman, regardless of her skin tone.  The reason that one might choose one item over another is really personal preference and the look that you would like to project.

Unlike the vast counters from other lines, the depth of quality is excellent and the color selection is well-chosen and few in number.  For example, the eyeshadow range is one palette, there are two nail colors, one eyeliner (black), and ten lipsticks.

In the U.S., you can purchase these from Serge Lutens website or Barneys.  Les Salons had a display of some of the engraved compacts that are only sold in this Paris location.  There are only 15 made every year.

I was extremely tempted to try the nail polish and a few other items.  This gorgeous red nail polish (Sang Bleu/ $65) was one of the items that I wanted (but didn’t get):

 

Instead, I got the eyeshadow palette ($160), which has a warm ivory, a blue-based aubergine, a deep brown and a deep black, in a black compact:

Here is a close-up of the pans.  Because of the subtlety of these colors, I’m going to swatch this at home for you.  I would rather have color-accurate swatches done more carefully with lighting that I can control.

The compact is extremely well made, and of course the shadows are very luxurious.  I can see that these colors are universal enough to work for almost anyone.

Please follow us on....