Week in Beauty


The best thing about the new, 150-essence (untold billions of Turkish roses, wildflowers, bits of cassis and pear), 14-years-in-the-making-millennial -extravaganza pefume from Annick Goutal—besides its truly unbelievable, wildly romantic scent—is what you get to say when someone asks what perfume you’re wearing: Tonight or Never.

Men are forever demanding to know why I don’t wear any makeup. As if. This is because most men, saddled as they often are with overdiscussed -but-nonetheless-valid Madonna/whore complexes, don’t understand what makeup is for: To make the wearer look better. The Vegas-meets-Versailles look, love it though we do for the right occasion (a Gucci show, say, or a Marilyn Manson concert), just isn’t what most people want for their next job interview, date, or walk in the park. Bobbi Brown Raspberry Shimmer lipstick is the most flattering non-makeup makeup that exists. It’s the color of lips, yet faintly more fabulous; ever-so-subtly zingy and shiny and glimmery; it’s just, as Bobbi Brown herself would say, pretty. Side benefits include the fact that I have yet to meet a person—no matter their skin tone—that it doesn’t look gorgeous on, and the fact that I can put it on without a mirror because of its aforementioned subtlety. Pretty and easy—isn’t that what they say they want?

The charming toddler I. (otherwise known as my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter) and I were alone one night, reading Goodnight Moon or some such, and not thinking about the Blair Witch Project at all, when suddenly a loud buzzing noise–sort of a foghorn sound—rocked the house. I was terrified; she was terrified. We finally plucked up the courage to go downstairs to investigate.

We were standing, clutching one another, in the living room, when the baby monitor sounded from upstairs: The noise, again. We waited, full of dread, for what seemed like an hour; nothing happened. “It’s ok,” she finally said. “Everything will be all right.” So we went back upstairs, and I put her to bed. The noise again.

I finally traced it—alarmingly—to the bathroom; I crept toward the door, S.W.A.T.-style, and kicked it open (for unknown reasons, I. seemed oblivious to all the proceedings) to reveal – – – my new Sonicare toothbrush, gone temporarily haywire. I’d overcharged it, or something, and it was trembling wildly, its gyrations reverberating through several bottles of perfume standing next to it.


I had to dismantle the thing in order to get it to stop, but once reassembled, it did behave. “What’s wrong with a good old-fashioned toothbrush?” demanded my beleagured husband G. upon his return. Here’s the thing: It may have caused me (and my child) four hours of sheer terror, but there is no way on earth I’d ever part with the Sonicare. Use for, say, even a month, and then go to the dentist. The dentist, who’s probably been not believing that you neither brush thoroughly nor floss for the entirety of your relationship, will examine your mouth in stunned silence, because there’ll be no plaque to get rid of, no problems to cluck over—no work to be done.

My dentist, the handsome and dashingly-named Arthur Kent (you wondered what he did after Desert Storm, didn’t you?), was of course, cooler than most. “So, isn’t it a little amazing that I don’t have even a bit of plaque?” I demanded, the first time I visited him after having begun the all-important Sonicare routine. “Oh,” he said, trying to sound unimpressed, “you must be using the Sonicare. I see it all the time.”

That and the I-just-ate-a-very-crisp-apple feeling you get each and every time you use it is quite enough for me, incidences of sheer terror notwithstanding.

A dear friend of mine, J., is one of those people whose lives the readers of Wallpaper are always aspiring to. She’s sleek, thin, tall, and eats lots of Indian, Thai, and otherwise exotic, vegetable-intensive cuisines. She moves from L.A. to New York to London at the speed of light (currently, chic-ly, based in London). Most of all, she can throw things away with the greatest of ease; if added carefully, her contributions to Goodwill might rival the entirety of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s war chest. If she doesn’t wear something, she instantly gives it away. Her life is calm. Organized. Streamlined. She recently purchased several Sarinen chairs.

My life, on the other hand, is hopelessly cluttered: old family furniture, knick-knacks, fashion I’m hoping will come back in to fashion, far too many brands of breakfast cereal.

The blue-and-white tube of foot balm from Weleda is pure Wallpaper. It’s all I want to be; it gives me hope that someday a Sarinen chair might fit into my lifestyle. Intriguingly called FuBalsam in blocky, Flinstone-ish type, it smells clean, lemony, and oddly, comfortingly spicy. Rubbed on the feet, it has a tingly, revivifying effect, leaves a slight, thoroughly moisturized, vaguely Scandinavian sheen.

Flying is a less-than-glamorous enterprise these days, no matter how you slice it. But business-class to Paris for the fashion shows (my former life) has an undeniable edge on coach to Minneapolis (welcome to the Internet!). The most horrifying aspect was not the leg room, the stuffy air, or the fact that phones didn’t work, but the “dinner”, oddly entitled “Fajita Sandwich”: Soggy strips of reconstituted chicken coupled with wildly pungent bits of green pepper, all mashed onto a hard roll. Tex-mex meets the Mall of America. Anyway. Resigned to the oppressive non-specialness of it all, I lined up for the restroom (P.S. to airplane designers: You’ve widened the seats to accommodate the ever-increasing girth of your customers; they’re about to not fit into your bathrooms). Once inside, there was, suddenly, a moment of actual glamour: A tall bottle of Aveda Calming Cleanser, perched atop the miniature metal sink, scented oh-so-subtly with chamomile and rose. Completely reversed my elitist desperation. Minneapolis, it seems, has something on Paris.

**** In a related incident, the very same Aveda Calming Cleanser appeared when I escaped into the spacious, impeccably designed restrooms at the Matsuhisa in Aspen (drug- and sex-fueled revelers, more common than white-tailed deer in Aspen, had descended upon our table, intent on annexing us into their web of 80s-style intrigue).


And appeared again, coda-like, the next night at the Aspen Club. . . . It’s in the air, and it smells fabulous.