Tag Archives: balenciaga

gift guide: joy gryson’s finds for the SMC girl

{Editor’s Note: This year, I’ve asked a few of the people whose style I spend all year admiring to share their holiday wish lists. Stay tuned – we’ll have a new expert every day for the next two weeks!} fashion gift guide

I’ve been a fan (bordering on a groupie) of Joy Gryson‘s since she debuted her very first collection…even her very first bag. In fact, I still have my original Skye bag, and I still get stopped on the street every time I carry it. Joy started out designing for big names like Coach and Calvin Klein, and was the Director of Design at Marc Jacobs (where she designed most of their now-iconic styles) before she left to found her own brand in 2006. Since then, Gryson has grown incredibly, but that impeccable quality and thoughtful attention to detail hasn’t changed a bit. What I love most about Joy – besides the fact that she’s a superstar designer who is so friendly and down-to-earth that she still answers my emails personally! – is her ability to seamlessly blend an uptown aesthetic with downtown hip.

Just as I’d hoped, Joy’s wish list is packed with picks that would be just the thing for a girl whose style is classic with a touch of edge…in other words, you and me! I don’t know about you, but this is the list I’ll be forwarding directly to Santa.

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Read on

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fragrance face-off: balenciaga vs. bottega veneta

Today’s guest post is by Ms. Katy Kippen (who also happens to be the uber-talented designer behind Grayling Jewelry). With bling that good, you know her taste is impeccable – but I had no idea she’s also pretty darned articulate about fragrance. Since my expertise stops at the pretty packaging, I happily delegated this one to her! Prepare to learn more about good perfume than you ever thought you’d know.


Now that it’s cooler out, my usual floral fragrance is beginning to feel a bit delicate.  I’ve been searching for a a warmer blend, one that feels “right” with my winter wardrobe.

How convenient it was, then, when Becki offered me the chance to test and review two just-released perfumes, L’Essence from Balenciaga and the very first fragrance release from Bottega Veneta – Eau de Parfum.

Both are chypres, a fragrance style described by Wikipedia as, “an accord composed of citrus top-notes, a floral middle, and a mossy-animalic base-note derived from oak moss and musks.” But interestingly enough, they don’t smell anything alike.

First, I tried Balenciaga L’Essence, the greener version of Balenciaga’s original scent from 2009.  It’s safe to say I’m in love with the new interpretation – which is quite a surprise.

At first sniff, I wasn’t sure about it. In the beginning, the scent is large and rich.  It is almost headache-inducing. You needn’t stick your nose right up to your wrist or the nozzle to catch a whiff (in fact, I would suggest refraining from doing so, as the top notes might make your nostrils hurt). But once the initial violet notes in L’Essence mellowed, my wrists smelled lovely. The delicate citrusy-powder scent lasted all day. L’Essence is quite mysterious – what begins as somewhat off-putting ends up drawing you in. L’Essence is truly a unique fragrance; it’s worth waiting for the initial notes to fade away as what’s left is quite lovely and feminine.

Next I tried Bottega Veneta’s Eau de Parfum, described by the company website as a “leathery floral”, “evoking blended notes of Italian bergamot, Brazilian pink pepper, Indian Sambac jasmine, oak moss and patchouli.”

From the description, I anticipated an explosion of musky flowers. Instead it was much softer. The fragrance is earthy and mossy – like lingering aroma of smoky incense and burning resin (which are things I love). In fact, it smells a lot like one of my favorite candles, Spiritus Sancti, from the French maker Cire Trudon.

I wasn’t sure about wearing a scent with hints of “leather” in it initially. But after a long trial period, I am finally sold. Eau de Parfum from Bottega Veneta is the perfect fragrance to pair with a cozy sweater by a warm fire.  It truly epitomizes everything their company stands for – luxury, quality, and sensuality.  Plus, the bottom of the bottle has a frosted texture which would be especially beautiful on a mirrored tray on a vanity.

The final verdict? While Balenciaga’s scent was my initial favorite, when the cold weather set in, Eau de Parfum from Bottega Veneta answered my calling.  It exudes a warmth that’s a perfect match for cool temps. –Katy Kippen

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