Not-So-Dirty Diana

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The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it. ~ Diana Vreeland

Believe it or not, I don’t pamper myself that often. It seems like I do, because those are the moments I like to write about and play up here, but for the most part my paycheck goes to the mortgage and car payments (I’m a bit behind) and food (ok, and clothing.) As for things like my Tom Ford Private Blends collection, those are mostly the generous special-occasion gifts from my husband. But every once in a while I treat myself, especially when something as pretty as this calls out my name. (Considering that no one seems to know what to get me from my Christmas Wish List, I have to take things into my own hands. It makes moving on that much easier. Besides, no one got me this, so it was a safe purchase – not that I was worried. No one on this earth knows me.)

Diana Vreeland was the arbiter of style during her famed reign as Editor of Vogue, and she had her own bold sense of fashion that went beyond what she wore and bled into how she lived. Her legacy lives on today, one of the rare fashion icons whose presence is still felt, particularly when a new line of fragrances carries her name.

I finally got to try the line at Neiman Marcus, and though a few had the requisite floral aspect that I was expecting, two carried a more masculine slant – Extravagance Russe and Absolutely Vital. Both of those spoke to me, and I could hear the whispers of Ms. Vreeland daring me to wear one of her perfumes. I took the dare and chose the ‘Absolutely Vital’ (created by perfumer Yves Cassar.) Steeped in sandalwood, with just a shade of smoky sweetness, it’s somewhat similar to Tom Ford’s ‘Santal Blush’ but without the cloying floral aspect that Ford’s confection veers toward. Like its namesake, ‘Absolutely Vital’ is a little over the top, but that’s precisely the sort of scent I like for the holiday season.

You don’t have to be born beautiful to be wildly attractive. ~ Diana Vreeland




It matches the sparkle and sequins and holiday lights, and its sillage manages to be powerful yet elegantly restrained. It’s got flair and poise, but is well-behaved. Drying down into the mystical incense-like remains that the best sandalwood leaves behind, it is practically a religious experience. The packaging and the color of the bottles is exquisite – as bold and brazen as her infamous red drawing room in New York – each with a colorful tassel to set off additional brashness. In short, they are the perfect representation of the spirit of Ms. Vreeland: potent, vital, and with just enough power to pack a pretty punch.

“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.” ~ Diana Vreeland


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