Dry eyes may typify the emotionally unmoved, or on the other hand, a calm and settled gaze. In the most literal sense, there is the dryness caused by winter air and the wind whipping away moisture from the eyes as well as all other exposed areas of the skin. Or both meanings can be operating at the same time, on a personal level, as the season changes and time passes. I am on a mission to winterize my life on all levels. In the physical sense, the cold winds outside and the hot air inside is, as every year, very drying. The economic contractions work to withdraw public and private interest from conspicuous consumption. Both of these conditions have served to intensify my interest in the beautiful aouds out there right now, and there are so many. They are warming, soft, quiet and expansively intoxicating at the same time. A balance to the contraction of the season's cold and the economic shrinkage. They make the blood flow faster through to the brain and out into the extremities from within. Amouage Lyric Woman, the Montale Aoud Rose Petals and Montale Blossom, are three samples I have been rotating through the past couple of weeks. The deeper notes of wood and rose together are a physical manifestation of what I aspire to internally as well as externally. An ideal mental and physical space. A modern use of aouds has combined them with a full range of other substances, as done by Pierre Montale, who traveled to Saudi Arabia and there was able to access the quality available only to the royal family. The Amouage line based around aoud has also been instrumental in bringing this material more widely into Western sensibility and vocabulary and making it into something contemporary. Aoud is a traditional material in Arabian perfumery (one of those vast subjects you can get lost in for years) that is created by condensing and refining the essence of a beautifully scented wood and enormous amounts of other fragrant natural materials into a thick liquid substance, used in tiny amounts in perfume. These aoud scents hold very close to the body but every so often I will quickly turn around and suddenly be hit by a sensation of being bathed in celestial light and happiness emanating from the fragrance lifting out from my own body heat. I recently shared some with a colleague at work and she thereafter did not want to move from her room, so as not to dissipate the atmosphere the fragrance was creating around her. Aoud ties into a space of personal rapture, it has a strong effect on mood. Of course, the quality range is wide as well as the price, but what Montale and Amouage have done is within the realm of orbiting the earth (only just). The "real" stuff which is only affordable to Arabian royalty in the Gulf whose wealth comes from oil, is so out of range I don't even want to think about it.
On a simpler note I have also been wearing Wild Hunt from CB I Hate Perfume which has migrated into my primary winter wool coat. I love when fragrance clings to my scarves, picked up from being wound around my neck. It's a lift whenever putting my outer wear on to go out. Wild Hunt translates into warm light on a cold day falling on fallen leaves, damp black earth, mushrooms, within the dappled shadows of an old forest, all combined into an introverted amber-y fluid tone that keeps your own body heat kindled. Joy and sadness combined, and perfect for winter.
This is the time to start heavily moisturizing everything again, changing even eye makeup to cream based formulas. Moisturized skin also holds perfume much longer, as does leather, the same thing after all. I have not tried perfuming my leather gloves yet, but I will soon since that tradition is where European forms of perfume originated centuries ago so I know it must be worth it.
In this climate of economic contraction, one of the most comforting affordable luxuries still left is taking good care of your skin. There are so many effective methods in all the price ranges now. Lately there has been a huge jump in quality in the drugstore and the health food store brands and of course there are still the many exquisite expensive and mysterious French and Japanese products at Bergdorf Goodman and the like. It is all luxury wherever it comes from, whatever it costs, and it is all good.
Above, peacock eyes from a free jigsaw puzzle site online.