Monday, August 22, 2011


Skylight Studios, NYC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

The second annual (we hope) showcase for high-end fragrances and niche skincare products...most from Europe...enjoyed an enthusiastic reception from retailers, exhibitors ...and us.

Once again, the stunning architectural design of the show itself, by REDDYMADE DESIGNS...

Picture taking at the interesting spatial sculptures that functioned to visually divide the space

Lounge areas between floors

A large space was wonderfully divided into intimate yet open areas...with a logical flow to the space over two floors

...provided the ideal setting from which to sniff and chat with a wide assortment of aromatic colognes, candles, household sprays and parfums...

...and learn about small luxury brands that typically do not advertise...but are highly coveted by those in the know.

Right off, besides the fact that this is the best smelling type of trade show one could ever hope to attend---we visually took in the stunning packaging of EVERYTHING-everywhere we looked.


Latest from Bond No. 9  NYC Fragrance family

French Couturier Robert Piquet's feminine and seductive fragrance FRACAS...a classic for the ages with notes of tuberose, jasmine, jonquil, gardenia, Lilly fo the Valley, White Iris, Orange, Sandlewood, Vetiver, Musk. 

Well designed by packaging specialists

Our first stop was at the want it all, product laden C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries' booth...featuring best selling products like the international fav Marvis toothpaste (stronger than American toothpastes because Euros smoke)...-with new flavors Jasmin and Cinnamon joining our must-Mint...

And the Italian men's shaving/grooming line Proraso ----with a brushless shave cream already a top seller...

We chatted with proprietor Ian Jay Ginsberg ---a happy member of the family dynasty who have run this multi-faceted store for generations.

Wonderful hand milled soaps from Italy---packaging magnificent----a perfect hostess gift to keep for yourself

"We are a family act of love," he clued us in----"there's a lot of heritage with each brand..." carefully selected and discovered on far flung jaunts overseas.

ADDED PLUS: Their own brands also sold online and at the Greenwich Village locale: 414 Sixth Avenue @ 9th Street.

Next was a bonjour to François Damide, the engaging and energetic brains behind men's skin care/grooming line NICKEL---

By way of France, the line is building an American base...and we were happy to hear that the Nickel Spa & Salon, MEN ONLY, still a  high end destination and currently being refreshed a bit itself.

One whiff had us---with the new JOUANY line of men's fragrances that will will no doubt, have the gals go all swoon-y over,

Created by the famous French photographer and "adventure seeker" Christophe Jouany---the two intoxicating luxury Eau du Parfums---St, Barthélemy (heart notes of vanilla, coco jasmine, and cedarwood/base notes of patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, and white musk) and Marrakech (heart notes of orange blossoms, bergamot, and grapefruit, hints of jasmine and neroli, base notes of patchouli and white musk)- are both inspired by, you guessed it---AND each contain an exceptionally high percentage of pure essential oils (68%)---which as we learned is incredible---with most colognes at 15-20% essential oils-at best.

The olfactory odyssey is transporting---be warned, a man wearing this can be very seductive.

The packaging is so smartly handsome, a classic ---with a look towards the legendary design labels from the past- fused with the Chinese symbol for wisdom.

Immensely impressive as a successful entrepreneur- with quite the list of accomplishments (we found out later)...Jouany was on a fashion shoot in Miami---when he serendipitously came upon an essential oils emporium...$125/1.7 fl oz. 

Each glass is hand crafted and unique, made in Vinci, Italy with the Latin motto translated-"Bees work for G-d and the King"

CIRE TRVDON was established by Paris based Frenchman,  Claude Trudon in 1643... a shop owner  purveying the essentials of the 17th century, including wax and candles for domestic use and for the Church.

And so we were told,  he began exclusively manufacturing his own recipe for wax candles---with clients such as the opulent court of Louis XIVth.

Many generations-and five owners later---  the Maison de CIRE TRVDON-with its wax producing know-how-now, made/ based in Normandy,  are still truly collectible-encased in elegant glass vessels, and with a frame worthy, delightful catalogue with illustrations by English artist/illustrator Lawrence Mynott...

We were there for a good ten minutes ---lifting the huge bell shaped glass enclosed candles---and confirm what Marie Antoinette must have decided along with some sweet morsels of cake--- Cire Trvdon transports to another era--- offering the same discerning and aromatic experiences via exotic smelling candles for the 21st century home.

NOTE: Maison de CIRE TRVDON akso makes the wax candles for the top French and international brands -Hermès, Cartier, Dior, Guerlain, Kenzo, etc.

New are the tiny glass vessels which one is supposed to crush---and release an hours' lasting scent throughout a room.

We wonder if the helicopter parents that reside on this side of the Pond will go for that...ha ha---but the wonderful natural smelling, biodegradable, premium vegetal candles, made with cotton wicks should pass.

Available in three sizes and sold internationally. Worth seeking out, especially if you want to be invited back as a houseguest---with a selection sold in NYC at Aedes, Barney's and Bergdorf's.

Western European countries understand the benefits of de-stressing at a spa resort that differs from the medical insurance establishment's tow the narrow line MO in the's more of a medical worthy endeavor over there, often covered by national health insurance!

In Austria, SUSANNE KAUFMANN™ is a famous hotelier, her family's Hotel Post in bucolic Bezau-has been in operation since 1850.

No surprise, being surrounded by organic line of healing/soothing/treatment anti-aging skin care and body care products ---made with active plant/herb extracts from wild collections and organic farming...manufactured in small quantities...has flourished overseas (sold in the States at Aedes de Venustas)--- and now has treatment day spas in Berlin and Munich also.

 New to us...and we are in Europe often, the brand's high-end products target different skin and body needs: Line T for dry skin, Line F for mixed/oily skin, Anti-Aging Line A, and Line M for men's grooming---with complementary care including cleansing milk, cleansing gels, scrubs, tonics etc.

Importantly, an active high percentage of natural ingredients have meaning---unlike a lot of mass merchandised products that boast anti-oxidants and calming goodies like chamomile, sage, yarrow leaves and St. John's leaves in the mix, for example-but at such a low percentage tough-  as to be useless.

SMART: Cleanly packaged in glass jars and bottles-to best preserve ingredients---all labeled by hand!

The House of CARON Paris is legendary, with the parfumerie in Paris at 10, Rue de la Paix-a must see stop for the aromatically inclined visitor.

At the Elements Showcase---a bartender skillfully conjured up vodka infused beverages-each cleverly (and tasty)- a neat treat example for the fragrant exotic ingredients in the fragrances.

Legendary scents for men and women have been occasionally added over the years -beginning with the luxurious Couture" Les Parfums Fontaire...presented in exqusite Baccarat crystal urns...

There are even unisex fragrances---our favorite that we sampled was the Eau de Réglisse (2006) Woody hesperide---a refreshing mix of licorice infused with Indonesian bail, Sicilian mandarin, and verbena...with touches of Indonesian nutmeg and Nigerian ginger, Warmed with vanilla and musk ===we venture to say a four seasons' scent with distinct masculine/feminine qualities.

ADDED PLUS: A Caron boutique is located on the second floor of 715 Lexington Avenue---in the hair emporium PhytoUniverse.

Another exclusive, cult skin care brand that is plant based (the one used extensively, the Edelweiss flower embedded with seven active ingredients-plus minerals and vitamins A,C, E)--- is the Swiss premium brand NIANCE® for women (white packaging) ...

AND a anti-aging line for men..handsome charcoal  gray/black packaging.
Effective products based on holistic principals with biotech formulations -the founder, Dr. R.W. Schmidt developed a full range...including moisturizing Night Care Regenerate night cream, Cleansing Milks RELAX, Facial Tonics and for men--- Cleansing Face Peel with pulverized rock crystals that gently cleans via massaging on a wet face- while energizing skin, non-greasy easily absorbed anti-aging Eye Gel- that de-puff and firms the delicate under eye area,  and Premium Glacial Facial Serum ---applied 2x ---day/night---loaded skin nutrients that supposedly regenerate skin's firmness.

Why we never have tried---we were impressed nevertheless with what we read...and saw---and hope to demo some of the products that claim to stimulate collagen production and reduce wrinkles...

Packaging come in all different kinds of packaging including solid compact pots of classic scents -stylishly encapsulated in a ring or necklace JOYA.

A TERRIFIC way to wear your fragrance, we think-JOYA is now a full collection of personal and home scents--- founded by Frederick Bouchardy---plus--- is still the New York based candle maker par excellence...and more--- including cool collabs with other lines such as Opening Ceremony.
We think-a chic line of personal care and accessories.


As seen below, the Italian fragrance line BLOOD CONCEPTS collection that actually debuted at the Elements Showcase---is made for a box to be opened.

As the name implies, the concept of Blood Concepts is that each unisex fragrance appeals to the four different blood types---kinda like the Blood Type diet that was all the rage ---but we think had actually scientific credibility going for it.
We sniffed them all---and feel  that every scent has its high points depending on personal tastes---and of course AB-a mineral slate scent--- and O the universal donor of composed of thyme, raspberry, cyperus esculentus, rose hips, birch, leather and cedar wood  --- appeals to all. Ha ha and very catchy---conjuring up a ton of press at this event.

In homage to the Italian man who created the original eau de cologne in where else, Cologne, Germany---this collection of scents is in the mold of old style fragrances of citrus essential oils--- not overwhelming and stuffy---but akin to what it should be before chemicals dominated mass market production of scents.

Atelier Colognes are fresh, long lasting aromas that we love, In particular ---the citrus Orange Sanguine is our fav... with six scents in all offered worldwide.

Leather holder for a travel friendly fragrance retails for $20. A great stocking stuffer.