Him and Him and Her and Her Holiday Gift Guide 2012
You made it through the election season and you survived Hurricane Sandy - and now you’re supposed to be merry and gay amidst the mayhem of the holiday season?
Who are they kidding?
Fortunately, shopping for those you love doesn’t have to be drudgery and drama.
This year, instead of waiting until the last minute and ducking into a drug store for a case of Altoids and a bow, pause and reflect upon the people on your gift list.
Think back to the time when you first knew you wanted them as friends - and recall the qualities that you admired in them.
Then reward them with your thoughtfulness.
Jacomo: #9 Eau de Parfum
One of the joys of the holidays is the abundance of evocative fragrances: pine boughs and pomanders, citrus and cinnamon. A bouquet of fragrances that, invariably, transports you back to holidays of yore.
Back in the Sixties, in New York, there were two designers named James and Gerard whose flagship boutique Jacomo on Fifth Avenue became a salon for the jet set and the glitterati. James and Gerard were Renaissance men whose refined tastes in art, music, and design were reflected in their fashion, as well as their fragrances.
In honor of these bon vivants, Jacomo recently launched a collaboration between artists and fragrances called "Art Collection."
The Swedish artist Stina Persson created a fragrance for Jacomo called #9, which is marked by a beautiful profusion of citrus and red berries, followed by a heart note of praline. As colorful as Christmas windows at Bergdorf’s, #9 is a burst of seasonal scents that settles into base notes of cinnamon, vanilla, and sandalwood that linger long into holy night.
Packaged in a smoked glass bottle, #9 is as joyful as holiday song and a perfect fragrance for the person who lives for the holiday season - and doesn’t want to let it go.
PRICE: $89.00 / 3.4 fl. oz. / 100 ml.
LINK: Jacomo #9 Eau de Parfum at C.O. Bigelow
Legart Forschungs Atelier: Ambuja Empire Overnight Eye Cream
Recently, in Paris, we had the good fortune to enter a show house along the Champs-Élysées where designer Joseph Dirand and Louis Vuitton had designed a room called "the Maharajah baths." With walls of Calcutta marble marked with black ebony accents, the room was a highly-stylized homage to the Baths of Caracalla - and we wanted to move right in.
And were we to find this sumptuous bath in our own home, we would utilize only products from the avant garde German skincare studio, Legart Forschungs Atelier.
The Bavarian company creates limited editions of bespoke, sustainable beauty products that are based on handpicked, raw materials with the purest alpine spring water from the Kitzbuehel Alps.
Ambuja Empire Overnight Eye Cream is formulated with 100% bioactive ingredients including pomegranate, lotus cell water, and green coconut water to accelerate healthy skin growth. The addition of buckwheat promotes circulation, while algae minimizes dark circles. This absorbent elixir enhances elasticity, leaving your eyes sparkling and bright.
Packaged in boxes that are an amalgam of objets d’art and origami, the Empire line is designed for an "intrepid pioneer" - or, in other words, a connoisseur of quality and vision.
With its sleek packaging and stylish profile, the Ambuja Empire skincare line looks as if it belongs in the master bath of men like Karl Lagerfeld or Tom Ford.
A perfect holiday gift for the Maharajah in your life.
PRICE: 215.00 € / 30 ml.
LINK: Legart Forschungs Atelier Ambuja Empire Overnight Eye Cream
Ulrich Lang: Lightscape
When you enter someone’s home for the first time, your nose knows before your eyes do just who lives there. And one of the joys of a fragrance by Ulrich Lang is that the very first whiff reminds you that you are in the hands of a refined gentleman.
To wear one of Lang’s fragrances is to enter into the world of a visionary designer who expands your horizons just enough to enable you a newfound perspective on what you might have thought you knew before.
Lightscape is Lang’s fourth fragrance, a riff on the concept of a fresh citrus fragrance - save for the fact that Lang expands the cliché and infuses it with character. The lightness of Sicilian lemon is underscored by a verdant note of galbanum and the earthy warmth of violet leaves. The result is less a lemon and more a locale. The gardens of Harold Acton’s estate, Villa La Pietra, outside of Florence, for example, where an alleé of lemon trees form but one part of the whole.
There’s a sense of place in Lang’s fragrances and the manner in which their structure transports the wearer. The heart of violet flower, with the slightest hint of mineral and metal, brought to mind a scene from Ian McEwan’s "Atonement" where the two protagonists have fought over a broken vase in a stone fountain.
Launched in 2003, Lang’s line of fragrances includes Anvers (the French word for "Antwerp"), Anvers 2, Nightscape - and now Lightscape. Lang’s passion for both art and fragrance has resulted in elegantly understated packaging that captures the spirit of his fragrances in photography. The Amsterdam-based artist, Elspeth Diederix, has created a luminous interpretation of Lightscape that evokes a dreamy afternoon in mauve, befitting the fragrance’s dry down of ambergris and cashmere wood.
Your cheek against the grass, a violet near your nose, you gaze into a lightscape that takes you away.
PRICE: $110 / 3.4 oz
LINK: Ulrich Lang Lightscape
Strange Invisible Perfumes: Hydro-distilled Frankincense & Coriander Body Lotion
If it was good enough for Three Kings, then we’re all over it. That’s how we feel about frankincense, the aromatic resin with the sweet, lemon balsamic aroma that is as uplifting as it is evocative.
The new line of bath washes and body lotions from Strange Invisible Perfumes includes Frankincense & Coriander Body Lotion. Doesn’t that sound like a gift from the magi? And given how many queens are on your holiday gift list, Frankincense & Coriander Body Lotion might be the perfect offering for those divas.
Suitable for all skin types and formulated with frankincense from Oman, this vegan moisturizing body lotion is handcrafted with certified organic ingredients and purified glacier water. The fragrance is evocative of an Egyptian garden in summer. Inhale this after showering and you might find yourself reminded of Lawrence Durrell’s heroine Justine from his magnum opus "The Alexandria Quartet."
Founded in 2000 by botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis, Strange Invisible Perfumes is dedicated to creating fragrances and beauty products from real botanical essences. Balahoutis utilizes 100% certified organic, beverage-grade grape alcohol alongside her proprietary blends of ethically sourced essential oils.
The line of bath washes and body lotions are handcrafted, with the most nourishing base ingredients and the purest botanical aromas. Strange Invisible Perfumes uses ingredients that are certified organic, wild crafted, biodynamic, and pesticide-free.
The company’s fragrances are designed, hand-blended, and bottled in Venice, California, which is also where the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique is located.
Offer this with a gift of gold and myrrh - and you’ll definitely be a King.
PRICE: $60 / 8 fl. oz.
Strange Invisible Perfumes Hydro-distilled Frankincense & Coriander Lotion
(Holiday Gift Guide continues on next page...)