Natori Eau de Parfum (Natori)

...Elfine obediently resumed her reading aloud of 'Our Lives from Day to Day' from an April number of Vogue. When she had finished, Flora took her, page by page, through a copy of Chiffons, which was devoted to descriptions and sketches of lingerie. Flora pointed out how these graceful petticoats and night-gowns depended upon their pure line and delicate embroidery for their beauty; how all gross romanticism was purged away, or expressed only in a fold or a flute of material. She then showed how the same delicacy might be found in the style of Jane Austen, or a painting by Marie Laurencin...

-- excerpt from Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm, 1932
I'm generally what you might call a lingerie Philistine. On me, the word "delicates" is wasted. I buy my generic cotton bikinis by the three-pack off the peg wall at Target or JCPenney. My bras must be able to withstand fifty washings with denim jeans, or what's the point? I have neither the time nor patience for hand-laundered silk or lace. I have a life, see? (Sure, I'd probably have even more of one if I added a couple of teddies and peignoirs to my scanties drawer. But how long is a sane person supposed to tolerate the hot pink walls, klieg-lit mirrors, and seizure-inducing club music of the local panty palace?)

Similarly, I regard with suspicion any and all fragrances released by lingerie designers. Almost invariably of the vanilla-sugar-topped-with-pink-cherry-blossoms variety, these egregious 'fauxrientals' provide half the reason I need to avoid Victoria's Secret like the plague. (The other half is plain old modesty-- blame it on my shtetl genetics, but I would sooner choose a nightgown that cloaks me from stem to stern than the flimsy négligée Victoria offers. "Secret"? What secret? Feh!)

The sleepwear line authored by investment banker-turned-fashion-designer Josie Natori falls halfway between the tznius-laden frumwear of my forebears and the overly revealing costume pieces favored by Victoria et al. On one hand, these gently flowing tunics, gowns, and pajama sets certainly cover you up, if that's what you wish. (I do). On the other hand, said garments are executed in the most hilariously overwrought colors and patterns conceivable. (Hideous jaguar prints? Check. Eye-hurting tie-dyes? Check.) It's almost as if both hemispheres of Natori's brain are expressing themselves simultaneously, at wildly different volumes; the loudness and force of one drowns out the genteel cadence of the other, leaving the shopper feeling as though they're witnessing an argument... available in sizes XS-XL.

Luckily, Natori's eponymous perfume suffers from no such cognitive dissonance. Here we have a soft floral in the Chanel No. 5 mold-- which is to say that no single note is predominant; all sing together in pleasing four-part harmony, backed by the Percy Faith Orchestra. It slips on over one's head like a floor-length bias-cut gown of the most whisper-soft charmeuse. No transitions from top to heart to base interrupt its serene journey through time; from beginning to end, it plays one smile-inducing chord at the sort of subtle decibel level that allows you (and presumably those around you) to simply think straight.

Elevator muzak for the nose? Maybe. But if you find the mall as distressing as I do, the piped-in sounds of "A Summer Place" as you ride the escalator heavenward can be the only thing standing between you and a consumer panic attack.

Scent Elements: Aldehydes, rose, ylang-ylang, peony, jasmine, plum, patchouli, amber, musk