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The toughest book I’ve ever written… by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , ,

Sometimes there are no words for how you feel… and a picture says it best.

Tonight I got hit by a double whammy.

9/11 and Dachau.

I watched two TV shows back to back… the first dealing with the fabulous documentary on CNN by French filmmakers and brothers, Gédéon and Jules Naudet, and firefighter James Hanlon. on 9/11 and the New York Fire Department… exceptional and gripping filmmaking.

And next a story about World War 2 shot in color by Hollywood director, George Stevens, and what he filmed when he visited Dachau in May 1945.

What do they have in common?

Well, this story will post on 9/11 on the 20th anniversary and I can’t not take a few moments to stop and ask for a moment of silence for all those who died… and those who survived who still have nightmares and heavy hearts. It’s something we do every year and this year it’s especially important.

May we never forget.

———-

The second TV show has to do with the toughest book I ever had to write. It’s about a beautiful perfumer who fights the Nazis, is arrested and sent to Dachau… I won’t give away the story except to say my heroine’s ability as a ‘nose’ or perfume creator gives her a different perspective on what survivors of the Holocaust experienced. Her talent puts her in a unique situation to tread on a different plane when she’s sent to the infamous concentration camp near Munich, Germany.

And how she survives…

Doing the research for my book was a soul-searching experience that makes me grateful for every day lived, every meal I enjoy…. every night of blissful sleep. No one coming for you… no beatings, degradation and humiliation (especially the treatment of women by SS guards) no rationing of the simplest things, no privacy, and for so many, no hope.

What sent me into tears tonight was when I saw the liberation of Dachau in color… the camp prisoners’ striped ‘pajamas’, the beetle-green German uniforms, the pure white snow… scorched red brick buildings… the hot yellow flames still burning in the crematoriums.

It was chilling.

What made this book so tough to write goes beyond just reading about the horror these people endured. I tried on a very small scale to experience the physical and mental emotions… wearing the same sweats and socks for a few days, not leaving the house, rationing my food to a bare minimum, deactivating social media to cut myself off so I’d have no idea what was happening the world. Setting my alarm to wake myself at odd hours to get a feeling of the uncertainty of life.

I was a mess in a few days.

I want to emphasize what I did was on an extremely small scale compared to the reality of the camps, but the hunger and feeling unclean and the loneliness became very real to me. It gave me a better perspective on how quickly lives changed when innocent, hard-working good people were rounded up — Jews, Roma, LGBT, political dissidents… even German citizens who simply spoke out against the Reich.

How some were sent to their death immediately, while others went to labor camps, a slow death. (‘You don’t come to Auschwitz to live,’ they said, ‘but to die’.) The prisoners in the camps endured unspeakable conditions for months… years.

So many were lost.

But so many did survive.

And it’s their stories I listened to, watched in documentaries, read in first person accounts. I urge you to do so, too.

We must never forget the Holocaust.

And unite in a sisterhood of remembrance. And never, ever, let it happen again.

Jina

——————-

My new Paris WW 2 novel is called THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS and is up on Amazon for pre-order. I don’t have a cover yet, but here’s a graphic I put together and the blurb:

‘I will never forget what the Nazi did to me. Never

1940, Nazi-occupied Paris. A powerful story of love, tragedy and incredible courage, about one woman whose life is ripped apart by war and risks everything to seek justice. Brand new from the bestselling author of The Resistance Girl.

As Nazis patrol the streets of the French capital, Tiena is alone, desperate and on the run. After defending herself against the force of an officer, she must find a new identity in order to survive.

An accidental meeting with members of the Resistance gives her a lifeline, as she is offered the chance to reinvent herself as perfumer Angéline De Cadieux.

However Angéline will never forget what happened to her, and will do everything she can to seek revenge. But vengeance can be a dangerous game, and Angeline can only hide her true identity for so long before her past catches up with her, with some devastating consequences…

Paris, 2003. When the opportunity arises for aspiring journalist Emma Keane to interview world renowned perfumer Madame De Cadieux about her life during World War Two, she is determined to take it. There are secrets from her own family history that she hopes Angéline may be able to help unlock.

But nothing can prepare Emma for Angéline’s story, and one thing is for certain – it will change her own life forever…

An absolutely heartbreaking, unforgettable historical novel of war, sacrifice and survival. Perfect for fans of Suzanne Goldring, Ella Carey and Catherine Hokin.

US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

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Vintage Perfumes: The Fragrances That Defined Each Decade by Connie Vines

May 13, 2016 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

Nothing can transport you back in time like a fragrance. They say that your sense of smell is the most powerful and evocative sense, and it’s true: Emeraude reminds me of my mother, Quorum my husband, and Halston Z-14 reminds me of my teens and guys who bathed in a cologne—rather than indulging in a spritz or two.

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel

This may have been a dramatic overstatement, however, when I was in the business of selling perfume, quotes such as these, gave women confidence when she entered a room! And Chanel No. 5 is one of the most popular fragrances of all time, a bottle of it is sold every 30 seconds (this includes me , too).

Coco Chanel also stated that women should wear perfume wherever they hoped to be kissed. Wise words indeed – please note that this does not mean ‘layered’ in perfume, as perfume counter girls armed with spray bottles will advise you.  No one should be able to smell your perfume unless they’re that little bit closer than is polite, then it should be something delicious and intoxicating.
Whilst researching which perfumes were popular over the decades I was surprised how many of these I’ve actually owned. Over the years, I’ve tried Anais Anais, Shalimar, Opium, Poison, Red, and Patou 1000 before I finally settled on Chanel No. 5. Of course, I selected one of the most expensive perfumes on the market, but I guess there is a good reason why it’s been a bestseller since it was launched in 1921!

Vintage Perfumes: The Fragrances that Defined Each Decade
It’s surprising how many of these perfumes are still best sellers even now, but then why would they go out of fashion?

Popular Perfumes in the 1920s.

Chanel No. 5, launched in 1921, was an immediate success even though it was the preserve of the rich at this time.  Famously worn by Marilyn Monroe, the square bottle design was rumored to been inspired by the design of a whiskey decanter.

Guerlain’s Shalimar launched first in 1925. It is one of the most popular fragrances of all time and was said to be inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, the women for whom the Taj Mahal was built. The perfume was named after the Gardens of Shalimar in Lahore, Pakistan, which were also built for her.
Popular Perfumes in the 1930s.

Tabu by Dana Fragrances which were popular in the 1930s included Tabu by Dana (a sexy evening perfume), which was launched in 1932 and Je Reviens by House of Worth, both of which remain available today.

In 1934 Elizabeth Arden developed Blue Grass.

Perhaps the most notable perfume of the 1930s was Joy by Jean Patou, voted Scent of the 20th Century at the Fragrance Foundation FiFi awards in 2000. It was created in 1929 (the year of the Wall Street Crash) and even though it was marketed as ‘the world’s most expensive perfume’, it was a huge hit. It is also considered to be one of the greatest floral fragrances of all time.

Popular Perfumes in the 1940s.

L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci (in a pretty glass bottle with a bottle stopper fashioned as two doves). After the war lighter and fresher perfumes became more popular, one of which was the still-popular Miss Dior by Christian Dior in 1947

Popular Perfumes in the 1950s.

Femme de Rochas was a rich, sultry perfume aimed at the femme fatale created in 1944.
Arpege by Lanvin is a floral romantic perfume, created in 1927,  but became particularly popular during the 1950s.

Max Factor’s Hypnotique and Primitif (as advertised by Jean Patchett above) were popular and an affordable perfume for the masses compared to the fragrances by the big fashion houses.
Soir de Paris by Bourjois was a popular fragrance amongst teenagers during the 1950s. It was discontinued in 1969, but relaunched in 1992

Popular Perfumes in the 1960s.

Oh! de London by Tuvache, YSL Rive Gauche was a popular 1960s scent
Hubert de Givenchy created L’Interdit for Audrey Hepburn and she wore the perfume for many years before it was released to the public in 1957. She featured in the adverts for L’Interdit throughout the 1960s.

Tuvache’s Oh! de London is a bright sparkling scent which perfectly captured the mood of the swinging sixties.

Guerlain introduced the heady oriental scent Chamade in 1969.

Popular Perfumes in the 1970s.

Charlie by Revlon and Diorella by Christian Dior, a perfume for the independent woman who has everything, were both very popular.

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, launched in 1977, and was a heady, rich oriental evening perfume.
Christian Dior released the classic perfume Diorella, which combines citrus and musky notes.
Anais Anais by Cacharel, launched in 1978 and was an immediate hit (my brother gave this to me as a Christmas Gift).

 Did I list one of your favorite perfumes?

Or, perhaps a fragrance you’ve never dared to try?

Perfuming is an art.  Indulge your senses, enjoy the fragrance—it’s mystical, it’s magical, is the new you.


Happy Reading,

Connie Vines



Links to Connie Vines’ Novels

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Before Black Swan there was Anna Pavlova

June 11, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

When I recently checked out the DVD for “Black Swan,” it brought to mind another dancer.

Anna Pavolva.

What would it have been like to see her dance?

I decided to go straight to the source: Lady Eve Marlowe, the heroine of my Spice novel, Cleopatra’s Perfume. After all, who would know more about Berlin in the 1920s than someone who was there?

When I asked Eve to take over the blog, she was quick to point out she didn’t come to Berlin until 1928.

I reminded her that she had inhaled the sights, smells and sounds of the city–an elixir of the finest perfume that was Weimar Berlin. Hadn’t she often whispered in my ear about the decadent goings-on in the cabarets, the entertainers, artists, literati? I said. And partaken of the delights that hypnotize with the telling?

That’s when Eve smiled and I saw that sexy gleam in her eye, knowing what she was thinking, how much fun it would be to once again live through those wild times and indulge in the poetry and fantasy that was Weimar Berlin.

And so I give you Lady Eve Marlowe, who will guide you through Hot Weimar Berlin.

********

Thank you, Jina, for giving me this glorious opportunity to write this post.

Sitting at a café, I write the words: Berlin 1921 and it unleashes a completely different world, people racing through a time when they struggled to find their life rhythm in those trying times.

You mentioned several readers were interested to know more about Pavlova’s impromptu dance that night in the cellar club. Oh, how I wished I could have been there, but I was fortunate enough to hear about it from another dancer who knew someone who was there that night.

According to her account, Anna Pavlova was out for a night with friends, sitting in the corner and not drawing attention to herself. Someone recognized her and the buzz began–everyone started looking in her direction.

This was in 1921–she would have been around forty then (she died in 1931). I can see her in my mind, this sophisticated woman with the long, elegant neck and willowy body, knowing she possessed a beautiful gift that belonged not to her but to the world.

Pavlova embraced the wonderment and homage the customers showed her and rewarded them the best way she knew how.

Her dance.

According to this eyewitness, she was wearing a suit and shawl–she removed her jacket and whispered something to the violinist, who no doubt never dreamed his music would accompany the famed ballerina.

Then she began to dance…

Her body floated across the tiny nightclub floor with elegance and grace, her spirit ethereal and dreamlike, her steps as light as the gossamer notes of The Dying Swan played by the violinist, her art of dance shaped by a lifetime of diligence to her craft…but it was her passion that all who were there would never forget.

A beautiful swan who lives on…

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958

“Cleopatra’s Perfume”

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The Berlin Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe: Else’s Story by Jina Bacarr

November 11, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , ,

On November 11th, we celebrate our veterans. But mothers are also veterans of war. Here is a story about such a mother written by Lady Eve Marlowe, the heroine in my novel, Cleopatra’s Perfume.

Before Lady Eve married a member of the British peerage, she was a cabaret dancer in Berlin in the late 1920s during the wild days of the Weimar Republic.

The scene in what I call a “story vid” (story video) takes place after one of the girls in the show is murdered and Eve goes to visit her mother.

Best,
Jina

The Blonde Samurai: “She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Jina Bacarr is also the author of The Blonde Geisha ,Cleopatra’s Perfume, Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous, a Spice Brief, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs

visit my website: http://www.jinabacarr.com/

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What is a Novel? by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

A novel is like my friend, Uccello.

Writing is a solitary profession and taking a break from sitting at my computer is important to me. I like to walk. Every day I walk through a park on my way to the beach, smelling the flowers, enjoying the shade of the trees and listening to the birds singing.

One bird in particular captured my attention. He doesn’t sing better than the others, he’s not prettier, and he doesn’t fly in a soaring pattern. But we’ve formed a bond, Uccello and me.

I call him “uccello” (bird in Italian) because he reminds me of the birds singing outside my hotel window in Venice. I fell in love with the magical city with all its sights and smells when I spent time in Italy speaking and performing about Body & Eros at La Biennale dance festival.

Watch a short clip of the view from my window in Venice, Italy.

Seeing Uccello every day takes me back to Venice and reminds me of the evocative perfume I inhaled there.

I learned to recognize Uccello from the other birds, little things about the charcoal grey bird that caught my eye. He has a little white belly that wiggles when he preens himself like a de’ Medici grand duke and his chirping is short and musical like breathy notes on a flute. He follows me through the park, flitting from one perch to another, poking his head around to see if I’m dallying.

I’ve gotten to know his idiosyncrasies, like how he chirps twice when he sees me, then how he likes to show me what path to take by flying in front of me. The park has many winding pathways and I look forward to seeing where he’ll lead me on my walk each day.

To me, a novel is like Uccello. Something about it attracts your eye–it could be the title or the cover–you get closer, open up the book and it takes you on a journey. As you follow its winding paths, you breathe in its uniqueness. That’s part of the fun for me. I like to inhale the scent of the story.

It’s not something you can smell in a physical way, but it evokes an odoriferous response in you that makes you aware of the scents the author has created in their world, whether it’s fragrant roses, the salty sea, cinnamon, oil, pine cones, or the smell of sex.

The next time you read a novel, think about what you smell. It may surprise you.

I’m off to see Uccello.

Want to come along? It’s easy.

Open a novel and join us.

Best,
Jina

The Blonde Samurai: “She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Jina Bacarr is also the author of The Blonde Geisha ,Cleopatra’s Perfume, Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous, a Spice Brief, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs
visit my website: http://www.jinabacarr.com/

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