Year in Review: My Top-Read Posts of 2019

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Another year gone by! I didn’t blog as often as I would have liked during 2019 — there were some gaps in my posting schedule when I was busy with other “extracurricular” activities like preparing for my Brooklyn Brainery classes or was just tired from some extra-busy spells at work — but I did what I could, and I enjoyed it, and I thank you all for reading along!

Here’s a list of my most-read (or most-viewed, anyway) posts from 2019. A couple of them were actually written in late 2018 but continued to attract traffic.

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Let’s take a quick look back at each one!

ormaie bottles

Ormaie’s Fragrance Innovations (in the NY Times): Oh Really?

In this post, I was reacting to a New York Times article with a certain amount of cynicism. Once again, a major media outlet was writing a puff piece about a fragrance brand that’s a) French b) fronted by some very attractive people c) over-priced and d) making ridiculous claims about being innovative or pioneering.

Business as usual, but I was annoyed. And, to be more constructive, I listed a handful of independent fragrance companies that have been making sophisticated all-natural fragrances for a while. I hope this list has encouraged a few visitors to look beyond the upscale, PR-heavy launches and find some true gems of independent natural perfumery.

Meanwhile, I did go to Barneys to sniff a few of the Ormaie fragrances. They’re fine. And the bottles are groovy (although weirdly large). But it’s still business as usual.


On Another Note: Femme de Poppy Lipsticks (updated! with swatches)

A non-perfume post! I was so excited about these Femme de Poppy lipsticks, the newest launch from beauty entrepreneur Poppy King, that I had to share my thoughts. Nine months later, I’m still wearing these lip colors, especially Lip en Rose and Well Red. I gave a Flight Risk to someone for Christmas. And I want more, more more!

This post also had a broader subtext. It’s interesting to see what happens (or doesn’t happen) when an independent expert launches a new (and small) product line under her own steam, without a giant PR team and/or global luxury conglomerate steering the project. Furthermore, if a product isn’t put into the hands of a hundred YouTubers or Instagram influencers at once, we hear about it more gradually and more sporadically, but we also (I think) hear more thoughtful and genuine voices speaking about it.

Now that Barneys is closing, Femme de Poppy will be available in other sales venues, still to be confirmed. Follow FdP on Instagram for news!

Anna Sui Mermaid

Perfume Review: Anna Sui Fantasia Mermaid

This was actually just an announcement and link to my review over on Now Smell This. I like this fragrance, so I’m glad it seemed to be getting some attention from readers who wanted more information about it. Last fall I wrote a few posts about Anna Sui and her retrospective at the Museum of Arts and Design, but this review post was the one that brought in the most hits.

It’s curious that the Anna Sui fragrance line doesn’t get more coverage. I’ve noticed some cute influencers posting selfies with the perfume bottles on Instagram. Sign of the times. But for anyone who wants to go a little deeper, there are still a few of us bloggers hanging around, I suppose…


The Art of Perfume Ads: Dior Joy, Jennifer Lawrence, and…Grace Kelly?

I’ve had a longtime interest in identifying and analyzing the use of art history, film, and fashion photography as source material for perfume ads. This ad for Dior Joy, a somewhat forgettable scent, was based on some unforgettable images of Grace Kelly swimming in the Caribbean in 1955.

I’m not sure who is reading this post, or why. Are they Grace Kelly fans coming to this page in Grace Kelly-related searches? Are they women who are actually curious about the fragrance? (Doubtful — there are many, many hits that will appear above this post in a Google search for Dior Joy.) Are they students doing projects about fragrance-and-beauty advertising for their marketing classes? If so, are they plagiarizing this post? I’m guessing it’s the latter, and yes.

Nothing against Jennifer Lawrence, but now that the original Jean Patou Joy is in danger of disappearing, I’ve even more depressed about this story. Derivative advertising, mediocre fragrances…where will it all end?

If you have any requests or wishes for 2020 posts — more of something that you liked? some new topic that I haven’t tackled yet? — please leave a comment and I’ll ponder it!

I wish you much inspiration in the year to come. Again, thank you for taking the time to visit me here and read my latest musings on fragrance and the roles it plays in my life and in our culture.

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