Tuesday 17 June 2014

Help creating "Perfume X"

If you have read this blog for some time, then you know that I love perfume, especially vintage perfumes. I also read a number of perfume blogs and my favourite is Yesterday’s Perfume, written by Barbara Herman. She has also written a wonderful book about vintage perfumes, Scent & Subversion. Now she is taking it a step further and will be creating a modern perfume with a vintage feeling with perfumer Antoine Lie. You can read a blog post about it here.

She has started an Indiegogo campaign where you can contribute to make this happen. Most of the perks include a sample, or more, of the perfume. You can read about that here.


Wednesday 12 March 2014

New knitwear with a vintage feel

I don't knit. I know how, but I'm not good at it. Or let me phrase it like this; I started a knitted sweater 20 years ago. It is not finished. But I'm also picky and though I love knitwear, I very rarely find models I like. I have a few of Rocket Originals sweaters and though I really like the model, they are a 100% acrylic and after a while that will show. They just don't wear well.

Enter Emmy Design. I love their knitwear. I like their other clothes as well, but they generally run into smaller sizes, but the knitwear generally comes in larger sizes. Knitwear also stretch and I always buy my sweaters in a smaller size than my cardigans. ED's knitwear are not cheap, but the quality are excellent and generally of a 70/30 wool/acrylic mix which works very well. And the design have a wonderful vintage feel to it,. A couple of months ago I splurged on this knitted sweater.

The Pretty Polkadot sweater

I also bought the beret you see on the pic and a matching shawl. The magenta really makes my grey wool coat more cheerful. I also feel very chic with beret and shawl matching each other. I have a white set as well (not from Emmy) that I wear with my red coat.

I also bought this one.

The Hepcat knit top

And to match with, and the item a love the most, this cardigan.

The Ice Skater cardigan

I have worn is so much this winter. It is warm. The colour is lovely. It flatters my figure. I want it in every colour they sell it it. Or I would, if they didn't sell other models which are quite lovely as well.

This is the same model as the Ice Skater cardigan, but knitted in cotton/modal instead of wool/acrylic to make it more suitable for summer wear.

The Campfire cardigan

The Moss Knit 40's cardigan

The Screen Siren cardigan

The Sweet Surrender cardigan

Moss knit 40's cardigan

The Cute As A Button cardigan

I generally prefer cardigans over sweaters as I like that you can wear them close for warmth, but unbuttoned if you want another effect. Emmy Design has quite a few sweaters as well, but I'm not all that drawn to them. I do like this one, though.
The Bowling Night knit top

Thursday 25 July 2013

On instant gratification and long term goals

Cross-posted to Isis Wardrobe


The Reader by Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1771
All in all I am in a very good place right now. Relationship, family, living, work, economy, health, they all work and I’m very happy about it. But there are a few kinks that I’m working on and one is the kick of instant gratification. You get it when you blog- I love getting comments on what I write and it is great for the Ego when I have made something and it gets admired. Instant gratification is around when I shop all those nice things that I don’t really need, and I don’t go over my limit, so why worry. For example- I generally feel that I’m allowing myself the easy way out on several aspects of my life right now and I would like that to change, to give myself what I really want, even if it takes a bit longer and doesn’t get as much attention.

I want to travel more than I have. I want to go back to Rome, Paris, London and Edinburgh. I want to see new places like Prague and Venice, for example. And I know that a bit of not spending so much of what I don’t really need would go a long way toward that. As for now, J and I have decided to let September be a non-spending month, apart from bills and groceries. I think it will be easier if we do it together and can cheer each other.

As for blogging, well, the instant gratifications are only part of it and not even the biggest part either. Another reason is because I’m a compulsive writer. I wasn’t always, but ten years ago I saw a picture online that triggered something and I started to write and since then I haven’t stopped. I write stories and I blog because I love to write. It isn’t always easy, but if I don’t write I feel a bit odd. I certainly don’t want to bash blogging, I love it, but I have, for quite some time, felt the need to write something with a little more weight, something lasting. I have wanted to write a book.

And for the same amount of time I have struggled with little demons that tells me that I don’t write well enough, that it won’t be interesting enough and that no one will want to print it, but in the end, what I really feel, is that it doesn’t matter if I’m not good enough for other, because I need to write this for me. Even if no one else reads it, I want this for myself. I have already blown the whistle at Madame Isis Toilette, so some of you already now that I have swatted away my demons and have started writing a book on 18th century beauty and makeup. I have a lot of fun right now, researching, trying out recipes and writing. I want o write a book with accurate history, doable beauty recipes and makeup tutorials and I know that is an interesting enough subject and I will do my best to make it good enough for others to read as well.

But this also means less blogging. I’m not going it up, because I still sew and it isn’t a chore at all to blog about sewing, but other kinds of posts will have to stand back for book writing. Less instant Ego stroking for me, but I think the more long term reward will make up for it.


Saturday 13 April 2013

Goest perfumes revisited

Sometimes I think that every perfume review should be preceded by a disclaimer, saying something like “How a scent is perceived is subjective and what is one person’s love may be the next person’s hate”.  That is true not just for perfumes but for smells in general. I, for example, can’t stand the smell of bananas. Just the thought of them  makes me fell a bit queasy. I got train sick on a very hot train journey when I was quite a small child and I still remember vividly how horribly sick I felt and opposite me, another girl was eating bananas and since then the smell of this rather innocent fruit, reminds me of feeling nauseous.

I didn’t like all the perfumes I tried from Goest, but that don’t mean that they are bad perfumes. My overall view on the perfumes is that they are all interesting and well blended. They were also all very true to their description, which isn’t always the case with perfumes. Though I had read the descriptions when I purchased them, I didn’t re-read them until I had actually tried them, but I found that my impression was quite close to the descriptions.


Divinely innocent, incandescently pretty.

Inspired by the redolent imageries of Sophia Coppola's film 'Marie Antoinette', Dauphine is a clean, ideal, fresh skin scent, pink and cream and white all over. This scent has notes of pink, full blown rose; milky, fresh, sweet almond; and a reveille of innocent, airy musks. This scent is sweet, but not in a lurid, hard-candy-way; it's sweet like fresh, cream-filled, rosewater-scented pastries.

Innocent, but not immature; quiet, never cloying: this charming and refined scent is superlatively, incandescently, and, quite simply, very, very pretty.

Notes: Muscs, Almond, Roses, Cream

Aspects: Fresh, Gourmand, Ambrosial, Refined

Upon application I got roses and almonds at first whiff, with, yes, a hint of soap. The almond and soap disappeared quickly though, and I got roses and musk, with time the rose faded more and more, leaving just a trace with the musk. It really smells just as it is advertised, creamy, clean roses that are sweet but not cloying.

This perfume gave me the biggest surprise of all the Goest perfumes, because I don’t like perfumes smelling of roses. It’s not that I don’t like the smell, I do, and I can like rose perfumes when other people wear it, but it never feel like me, when I wear it. So I was hugely surprised when I not only liked Dauphine, but that I like it a lot. In fact, next to Silent Film, this is my favourite! There is something in it; I believe it may be the musk, which tugs at a memory and a good one too. I get a little tug in my heart every time I smell it, but I can’t for my life recall what it is I’m reminded of. Nevertheless, I love this!,

Grand Tour

Sport, spirit, and straight-out polish.

Grand Tour makes an excellent first impression, opening with a burst of traditional aromatic herbs and five delicious citrus fruits. As it wears, the excitement at the heart of this scent is revealed: fresh and pure sweet basil and a smooth, abstracted cedar note combine for a distinctive and energetic spiciness that revs at 4000 RPM. This effect is backed by a foundation of well-tanned leathers and elegant oakmoss for a long-wearing and sensual yet subtle sillage.

Although the classic structure of Grand Tour alludes to great bygone masculine fragrances, this scent's not just for the boys. On women, it's incredibly sexy - think a well-heeled, natural woman in a crisp men's white oxford shirt.

Fresh and invigorating for day, sensual and elegant for night: man or woman, Grand Tour is built to be your constant signature.

Notes: Woods, Tanned Leather, Oakmoss, Herbs, Citrus

Aspects: Vigorous, Adventuresome, Neat

Most of Goest perfumes can be worn by men and women, but this is the only one that really feels like a men’s perfume to me. The fist impression isn’t any notes in particular, but just men’s cologne. Not in a bad way at all, but just masculine. After a while I can detect the oakmoss and there is a faint citrus somewhere behind that. After several hours it is leather and herbs. I like it; it is perfectly wearable for a woman as well and feels very fresh.


Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

Jackal opens with the scent of dry, powdered chocolate tempered with a hint of beckoning, mouthwatering vanilla. As it settles into the skin, the most darkly charismatic side of patchouli appears, cloaked in a multifaceted, sensual smokiness of many associations: the sweet, swooning scent of toasted tobacco - the bitter, magnetic smell of money - faraway fires in the woods.

This bottomless scent is the epitome of the anti-perfume. Though it has an original glamour, it is not the cosmetic powder-cloud of classic scents of fashion; and though it is natural and earthy, it has nothing of the biting, traditional terpenes of the hitchhiker's tonic. Jackal's essential effect is that of your own skin, only sexier; it is the essential effect of you, made simply more magnetic. Jackal wears very close to the skin and easily enhances other perfumes.

To all sensual men and women: where will you end, and Jackal begin?

Notes: Sweet Smoke, Dirt, Bitter Chocolate

Aspects: Earthy, Animalic, Dark, Vast

Jackal was all chocolate when I first applied it, with an interesting earthy quality. I was, however, not sure if I liked it and then J came into sniffing distance and had a very dramatic reaction on it. Now, J is interested in perfume all by his own and has a nice collection himself, so he is definitely not anti-perfume. This one he disliked intensely, though and I think it may have biased me a bit as well- I do prefer J to think I smell nice. But there is also the matter of that earthiness that soon revealed itself as patchouli. My body amps patchouli and most perfumes that have that note ends up smelling just patchouli on me. And though it isn’t a bad scent, my paternal grandmother wore a perfume where it was a prominent note. So even if I didn’t dislike Jackal, it truly wasn’t a perfume for me. If you like chocolate and patchouli, though, then I think you have a hit.


A little bottle of precious sun, swim, and sail.

Lartigue opens up on the skin with a bright, airy, and succulent show of abstract fruits and superfresh citrus. It progresses to reveal a green, clean, and joyous heart backed by a base of watery woods and clean earth. Inspired by the beatific and eternal Riviera portrayed in the images of 20th-century master photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue, this Goest scent celebrates all in life that is liberated, enthusiastic, and on-the-spot.

Forget what you know about usual "sport" scents, those brash and metallic colognes that are the olfactory equivalent of shoulder armor, spandex, and a helmet. Lartigue, by happy contrast, is modern, clean, and elegant, and cuts a handsome figure clothed in pristine tennis whites.

(And, in the true spirit of modernity, this scent is great for both men and women.)

Notes: Woods, Peach, Citrus, Sun, Air

Aspects: Succulent, Bright, Modern, Fresh

This perfume opens up with a blast of lemon on me, and there it stays. I can’t detect anything else and it fades very quickly on me, after an hour it is gone. It’s very nice as long as it lasts, though. A very good scent for a hot day, as the feeling of it is so cool and light.


A green tableau in four dimensions: bring the outdoors in.

Realism opens with a buzzing, resinous green swell of grasses, herbs, and blossoms giving off their freshness in the heat of the sun. Supported by damp petals and black soil, the soft and expansive smell of crushed stems from a fruit tree fills the heart of this scent, breathing a sublime greenspace for hours. In the drydown, a sleepy accord of ultraprecious hay absolute and quiet cedar.

It's Realism, but more than that. Its realism isn't that of a bookplate from a botany book, but that of one of Courbet's tableaus, if it unfolded in three--actually, four--dimensions.

Unisex, and no less gorgeous for it.

Notes: A Crushed Stem, Soil, Herbs, Hay, Citrus

Aspects: Green, Sunshot, and Blooming

If Lartigue was a blast of lemon, Realism is a blast of freshly cut grass. This is truly a really green scent and it reminds me, though I have yet to smell them side by side, of vintage Vent Vert from Balmain. That is a very good thing in my book- I love Vent Vert. I get the same feeling of it as I got from Lartigue, a scent for a hot day, but Realism also have staying power. The dry down gets just drier, the grass turns into hay and you can detect the cedar. Unusual and lovely.

I am very happy that I tried Goest, I think the quality match the bottles and advertisement. I really want a bigger bottle of Silent Film, and I want more of Dauphine, Grand Tour and Realism as well. I would also try any new perfumes they may present in the future.

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.
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