Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Goest perfumes

 I think I have found a little gem. Last week I stumbled over a picture of a perfume bottle that I felt compelled to look at a little closer. It had a nice Art Deco feel to it and when I followed the link I found this little perfume company, Goest, on Etsy. As you may remember I really love perfume and investigating the wonderful world of vintage perfume has been a joy these past years. It has also been quite expensive. So I wouldn’t mind at all finding perfume that evokes a vintage feel while being new. I think I may have found it.

This is what they say about themselves:
We're Goest Perfumes. Welcome to your new metaphysical wardrobe. Our purpose? To bring you prestige-quality fragrance that's distinctively-designed, very handmade, and whose aim is true.

We don't set any artificial bars to excellent fragrance, and work (with our very own hands) with small quantities so you can actually afford to have things like rose absolute (which you're not going to find in mainstream fragrance due to price) in the perfume you wear every day. No material is off limits, and our sources run the gamut: we've used precious flower absolutes, low-tech essential oils, hi-tech commercial syntheses, house-made herb and tea tinctures, and traditional Indian attars. Our only binding parameters are safety, excellence, fair prices, and always, great scent design.

There are a lot of fragrances out there. But between dandy, highfalutin, exclusive "branding" perfumers where you're just paying for marketing, and cheap and cheery--and terribly boring--fruity florals, there isn't a lot for the aesthete who wants to smell good. We aim to fill that niche with a vengeance.

This company is also somewhat experimental. You'll be able to get things here that you absolutely, positively, would never find anywhere else. That we don't go along with the crowd more or less entails that not everyone is going to like what we do. But if you find yourself going to Sephora and not relating to any of the cotton-candy-florals or deodorant/cleaning product scents they offer; if you feel like you put a lot of thought into your style and environment but can't seem to find a fragrance that actually fits into your world; if you just don't think perfume is that interesting: we exist for you. Welcome to your new metaphysical wardrobe. You won't smell like anyone else in the room, and before now, you've never known what a good thing that can be.

HOW WE DO IT - - - - -

Every scent we make is made with super high quality raw materials, some of which are house-made (which means you're not going to smell like the person next to you on the bus, though they might end up wishing that they smelled like you). We do everything in super small batches, testing them all rigorously (not on animals). What you get in the mail when you order your new scent is basically the result of a ton of hand-labor. We even cut and score our packaging to order. This is a couture experience that you can't get elsewhere and we're elated that we can do it for you. These aren't cheap, repackaged "fragrance oils", nor are they whole-food essential oil blends ("not that there's anything wrong with that"). They are thoughtfully, painstakingly, creatively designed, real-deal products. And you'll smell better for it.

Very seductive, if I may say so. Then there was the visual impact. Clean, nice lines with, as I said, a clear Art deco vibe. I must say that I felt instantly compelled to buy one of the large bottles just for the joy of displaying it on my vanity table. Miniature bottles, samples and general packaging are also very well designed. Someone here knows marketing- I felt prepared to buy something even before I had read the perfume descriptions. Of course, a good description is equally important- if one hasn’t had the opportunity to actually smell a perfume, you need to be made wanting to smell them.

And Goest succeed:

Silent Films opens with an aromatic burst of old-world lavender and mint, and settles to reveal a hypnotic and cool heart of vanilla and black spicy earth; before the night is gone, it gives way to a smoldering, powdery, and purely addictive drydown of seductive leathers, musks, and smoke.

Dark, cool, and narcotic, this animal is cast in polar absolutes: no fruit; no flowers; no noise. This perfume is not as a warm and rosy body itself, but like an uncanny image of the body, a mercurial impersonation--almost as if in a mirror, or projected on a screen…

Silent Films takes its cues from the dark and restrained drama of its namesake. Yet showy it is not. It is only the drama of significant looks exchanged from eyes rimmed with kohl; of the thrill of the unspoken; of the gestures of love which pass by silently, in the dark, on a flickering screen: where black is very black indeed, and white shines out like silver.

Totally distinctive; totally addictive; Silent Films is for bold men and bolder women.

So, it took me about ten minutes to decide I wanted to try these perfumes. As they offer a three-sample set for $11 and as they currently only have six scents, I ordered samples of all of them. Here’s my experience.

Customer service When I made my order Etsy claimed that the seller didn’t sell outside US, despite the store said otherwise. I mailed Goest and got an answer within hours that it was indeed a mistake and that they do ship internationally. I placed my order and I got a mail that my samples had been shipped the same day. It took eight days to reach me, but that is normal for packages from USA to Sweden. The samples were beautifully and well packed. I’m really pleased!

Products and price Apart from the samples, the perfumes are sold in 20 ml splash bottles for $36 or 5 ml mini-bottles for $11. There is a possibility to buy all six perfumes as a set in the mini-bottles for $50. A few of the perfumes can also be purchased in 60 ml spray bottles for $52. For perfume, that is pretty fair prices, I think. US-residents may be happy to know that samples ships free for them as I write this. Also, when purchasing a large bottle, one gets a free sample, if you request one.

And, after having waxed so lyrically over the looks and language, what do I actually think about the products? Well, I have only tried Silent Films so far and as this post is long enough as it is, here is my thoughts on that, the other five scents will be reviewed in a later post.

Notes: Vetiver, Vanilla, Leather, Smoke.

Aspects: Mysterious, Powdery, Brutal, Nostalgic.

First impression was not lavender and mint, but vanilla and smoke. Then there was vanilla and leather, with vanilla as the dominant note. Several hours into wearing it that has shifted and the leather goes more dominant. The vetiver keeps in the background, but I suspect does a lot in making this scent special.

I like this perfume a lot. I’m a former vanilla-addict, but have come to regard most vanilla-scents as too sweet and cloying. The vanilla in Silent Films is prominent, but the other notes give it a balance, depth and edge. It wraps around you like a luxurious fur coat and I have sniffed my own wrists all afternoon. I can agree on mysterious, powdery and nostalgic, though not brutal. Perhaps it would if I amped leather notes more than I do. A co-worker who sniffed me pronounced the small “warm”. Quite apt description.
So this first perfume has definitely delivered. I look forward to try the rest of them.


Friday, 22 March 2013

Fitting your body

Madame Grés fitting a model in the 1940's
Last Wednesday we had our first tailoring meeting. The usual difficulties in getting a time when everyone is able to come, applied, so it was just Pimpinett and Betty and I, meeting up at my place. After scones and tea, we talked tailoring and Pimpinett worked on her jacket and I on my first mock-up. Which is bringing this post, as some of the, for me usual, fitting issues applied. It is also partly inspired by this post by Pimpinett.

A great thing with sewing for yourself is that you have the chance to make clothes that actually fits you. Ready-made clothes are, by necessity, made after a standard figure, a figure that very few of us possess. But to make your creations fit, you also have to take a long hard look at your body and address the way you look without fibbing. If you ignore something because you don’t like the way you look, the result will be badly fitted clothes that probably will highlight what you want to hide.

This is what I see when I look at myself: From the front I look like an X. My bust and hip measurement are rather equal, with a waist that is significantly smaller. But from the side I look much more like a B. Basically all excess weight I carry around are placed on my bust, hips and tummy, but I have a very flat derriere and also no sway to my back to talk about. Other important points are my high waist and rather narrow back. This is what I look like. I may, and I do, like some parts of my body better than others, but they are all part in how my figure looks and I need to take them all in account.

Clothing Construction Lab, 1943
When I was new to pattern construction I regularly lengthened the waist on my patterns too much. The pattern pieces looks so odd having such high waist, they looked better proportioned, as pattern, with a longer waist. This invariably led to wrinkles at the waistline, as they got too long for my body. That’s what I got for ignoring what my body actually look like.

My jacket, after Pimpinett has helped me with the fitting, has few alterations in the front, the waist darts has been tweaked a little. The side seams are left as they were, but the back has some drastic changes. The waist darts have been tweaked, and the whole back shortened, which has also lead to a new armscye. An excellent example on what a large bust can do- here it is eating up length in the front. Another option is to make a full bust adjustment, but I think it will be easier to change the back. The jacket is also too long, which plays havoc with my proportions- my legs look shorter and the lower body longer.

Regardless of body shape, clothes that fits you well, makes you look better. And if you know your body, you have a much easier time when it comes to choose a fit that looks good on you. To use myself as an example once again, a jacket shouldn’t be too short either. My narrowest point on my body is my waist, and a jacket that ends there, makes me look bigger than I am. A reason to why I rarely use this faux fur jacket, despite liking the style a lot.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tailoring a jacket

Lägg till bildtext
Am I right in thinking that everyone who enjoy sewing clothes, there are one thing that completely daunts you? Me, I have never dared to tailor a garment. I know the theory, but I have never dared to try it. My wardrobe list, however, contains several suits, jackets and coats and I have known for quite some time that I really need to do something about my tailoring fear. Luckily for me I am not alone in my longing for something tailored, so a couple of friends and I are going to gang up together to help and support each other. Tomorrow we are going to meet up for the first time.


My immediate needs are a brown suit in silk noil, a grey suit in wool flannel and a brown jacket for a sport suit. As the silk noil suit probably shouldn’t be overly tailored and I don’t have any wool flannel yet, the sports jacket it is. I also think it may be a good idea to start there and work up for a more fitted jacket for the grey one. I have a pattern, a reproduction one from New VintageLady.


I have fabric as well, dark brown wool with a discreet plaid pattern in thin off-white lines. I need to make a mock up so I can get some fitting help tomorrow and I also need to sit down and think through what I need more like lining, buttons, interfacing, etc. I’m also going to read through New Vintage Lady’s own account of making her pattern.


Also, if you have managed to miss it, check out By Gum, By Golly's tailoring project.

Spring/summer 1944

Monday, 11 March 2013

The shoe problem

Fabric and snakeskin platforms, 1944
I have a very particular taste when it comes to shoes- I always know exactly what style I want. I also need shoes that are comfortable and don’t make my bad heel flare up. Unfortunately this means that I almost never find shoes I want to buy. I do have a lot of shoes, but I have recently culled six pair and more will probably go soon. And most of my remaining shoes are party shoes, so even if I love them and they are comfortable, they just aren’t practical for everyday. At the moment I wear winter boots suitable to the snowy and icy Swedish winter, but spring is coming and when it comes to shoes for everyday use, I just don’t have much. I have a pair of black T-strap pumps and a pair of buttoned brown ones. Both pairs are about six years old and are now rather shabby. I love these shoes and it shows. So what my shoe wardrobe badly need are one pair of black and one pair of brown shoes, suitable for an ordinary day, but still nice looking.

1930's style black velvet oxfords
I have talked about dance shoes before; I often buy them because they are very comfortable and often look like the 30’s-40’s style that I like. Aris Allen, for example, has several designs that are copies of old shoes. I recently bought these to wear at work which I’m very pleased with.
Comfy, pretty, but in extremely unpractical velvet. The work well indoors, but I suspect that the velvet will wear very quickly if used outside.

What, exactly do I want then? Well, a pair of black t-straps is quite easy- dance shoes often come in that design. But I also want a pair of brown oxfords. With a 6-7 cm, elegant, but not thin heel and not too pointy toes. Basically these, but alas, they resides in a museum, not in my friendly neighborhood shoe store, so no can do.

My taste in shoes is also really conservative. What I wanted in shoes when I was 18 are the same today. If my taste hasn’t changed in 25 years, well, it doesn’t seem likely that it will change soon. So J wondered why I didn’t check out shoes a bit pricier than I usually go for. More expensive, yes, but probably also better quality. So I have, but I still haven’t found anything I like.
But, a couple of years ago I bought a pair of 18th century style shoes from Harr. It’s a company in Germany that makes shoes for the theatre, so you can find styles from any era there. You can also do some changes in the design you want, like toe and heel shape as well as heel height. And colour and material as well. You also send them the measurements and outline of your foot. I have a friend who is a cobbler so I ordered my pair though the store she works in and she helped me with that.
My very blue shoes

They were a little stiff when I first got them and took a little time to get used to but  leather adapt to your shape and now they are actually the most comfortable shoes I own. They are also very well made. So, why not order shoes, very nearly custom-made, in exactly the design and colours I want, from them? Indeed, why not. Their 20th century collection has several styles I like. These, these and these, for example.

They are not cheap shoes, prices start at €100 and I paid €300 for my 18th century ones, but even if €300 is a hefty sum to give out all at once, if the quality if good, then it isn’t so expensive in the long run. If my rather inexpensive current favourites have kept for six years and I think the quality of Harr’s shoes is a lot better, then then six years of wear will mean €50/year. I would need to budget my shoe shopping better, but almost every time I have bought shoes on a whim I have ended up disappointed. Most of the shoes I have given away had been worn once or twice so even if they weren’t expensive shoes, the cost per wear got rather high in the end.

A pair of brown oxfords from Harr seems to be the most likely shoe purchase I will do this spring. Or possibly year, but they would be exactly as I want them.
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