Morning at Bloomingdale’s: Miss Dior and Coco Chanel

Searching for beauty at Bloomingdale's, I meet Miss Dior and Coco Chanel. The day had started out damp and drizzly, and with nothing pressing on my agenda, I thought it would be fun to stop by Bloomie’s to check out what the designers were showing for fall. But before I could do that, I stopped at Pink Nail on Lexington for a manicure, knowing full well that no self-respecting sales person would pay any attention if I showed up with chipped nails. Flipping through a few fashion magazines while waiting for a manicurist, I learn that the must-have color for fall is burgundy. I’m in luck.

Three years ago, while rummaging around at the Marché aux Puces in Saint-Ouen, on the outskirts of Paris, I fell in love with a vintage Gucci handbag from the 1930s, a burgundy alligator bag with a shoulder strap. Of particular interest was the clasp with two facing letter G's which, according to Madame was the Gucci  logo before they began using the intertwined G's.

In mint condition, the handbag, lined in burgundy suede, had a matching change purse, a mirror neatly wrapped in a single sheet of tissue paper, and an inner flap stamped in gold: Made in Italy, by Gucci. My husband twisted my arm until I cried "uncle!" and then, after bargaining none-too-successfully, he ended up paying the asking price. Monsieur, madame insisted, this is a rare bargain! I had to agree with her.

And the ground floor at  Bloomingdale's  --a mix of chic boutiques and counters  spilling over with fragrances and skin care products -- is almost as entertaining as Les Puces. Stopping at Chanel, I sniff my way from one fragrance to another, spritzing a half-dozen of those little white cards, before narrowing my choices to: Platinum Egoiste, Chanel Noir and Chanel No. 5.

At which a beauty consultant comes over saying that Chanel No. 5 is the best-selling fragrance in the world. When she learns I have Chanel No. 5, without missing a beat she says: If that's the case, you might want to layer it with “Beige.” That’s what I’ve been doing lately.

What a clever girl!

Speaking of clever girls, I find myself  thinking about another clever girl, Coco Chanel, and wondering what she would say about layering perfumes. What she did say was: "A girl should be two things: fabulous and classy."

And my beauty expert fits the bill. Telling her I'm going to give some thought to this idea of layering, I wander down the aisle until I come to a blown-up photograph of a lightly-layered ‘Miss Dior,’ as demure and provocative as a young Bridget Bardot.

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May I be of assistance? At my elbow stands a young woman with the most perfect makeup, a pair of really red lips and a dazzling smile. Would you have a few minutes to spare?

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 We have our team of makeup artists here today including Ricky Wilson, Dior’s famous international makeup artist. He's done the makeup of a number of movie stars including Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron. If you’ll follow me, we have a screened-off area to give our clients more privacy.

It's as if she's the Pied Piper; I follow after. Her name is Gabriela Henson, a beauty artist for Dior, and, before I know it, she has me perched on a director’s chair with barely enough time to cross my legs before Carlos, who also travels for Dior, sets to work.

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He gives it his all, applying, without exaggeration some twenty products, starting with makeup remover and ending with really red lipstick -- at Ricky’s suggestion! Ricky loves red, feels that every woman can wear it, that it brings out the inner diva. I haven't worn red lipstick since I flew with TWA when the only permissible color was red; namely, Revlon's 'Fire and Ice.'  Oh, why not?

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Isn't he meticulous?  What I learn from Carlos is that I should never use black eyeliner (big mistake) with my blue-green eyes. No, the best color for me is Marine Blue. But not before covering the lower lids with a creamy light-as-silk concealer. As for the lips, best to start with a color reviver balm-- lip glow -- which adds a hint of pink, so perfect for running early morning errands, he suggests. But it's going to take more than lip glow to look like 'Dior Star.'

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And in my bag of goodies? Yes, of course,  the Marine Blue eyeliner, the Lip Glow, the concealer, and a sample of their newest fragrance, ‘Miss Dior.’

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So, what do you think? Make-up by Dior. Teeth by Brite Smile. Eyebrows by Donna Messenger.  Hair by Damp Drizzly Day.

After which I layer the Chanel No. 5. with Miss Dior. Let me ask you, if that's not fabulous and classy, what is?

This evening while rummaging for my keys in my handbag I come across the cards spritzed with perfume earlier in the day. Here's a tip: The one that had held its fragrance best isChanel No. 5. No wonder it's the world's best-selling perfume.

Ladies, what's your favorite scent? Do you change it with the seasons? And,  gentlemen, what's your favorite cologne or after-shave?  Are you still wearing Old Spice?

Next Sunday we're off to MOMA. Until then, Bonitababs thinks it would be bothclassy and fabulous if you shared this post with friends and family.

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