Luxury is not Chic... Tiossano ç'est Chic!

I spent these past two years creating the mesmerizing scents for my upcoming line of Tiossano body care  products. I have been immersed in the world of scents and initiated to the art of perfume. I have been blessed to learn from some of  the world most renowned noses.  I also read from some of the most enlightening specialists. Amongst them is an interesting character, Luca Turin.

Luca Turin (1953 - ) is a biophysicist with a long-standing interest in the sense of smell, the art of perfume, and the fragrance industry.

A quotation from him in English that perfectly describes what my brand Tiossano draws from:

The French like luxury, but what the French call luxury is actually call-girl chic.  Put it this way.  After finishing secondary school at sixteen, I went back to Paris to go to university, Paris XII, Pierre et Marie Curie.  I rented a room from Madame Clouzot, the sister of the film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, right near the Champs Elysees.  She explained that there were only two great French perfume makers, Guerlain and Caron.  Guerlain, she said, was for cocottes – kept women.  Caron was for the duchesse.  But in fact it was 1880s cocotte style that passes for chic in France.  What the French consider 'chic' is actually kept-woman vulgarity. . . . Caron, on the other hand, is absolutely proper, proper chic. . . .  Chic is, first, when you don't have to prove that you have money, either because you have a lot and it doesn't matter or because you don't have any and it doesn't matter.  Chic is not aspirational. . . Chic is the most impossible thing to define.  Luxury is a humourless thing, largely, and when humor happens in luxury it happens involuntarily.  Chic is all about humor.  Which means chic is about intelligence.  And there has to be oddness – most luxury is conformist, and chic cannot be.  Chic must be polite and not incommode others, but within that it can be as weird as it wants.

And the Best Baguette Prize Awarded in Paris goes to…. a fellow Senegalese born Baker



The secret to his award-winning bread? Nothing too complicated: “A good baguette needs to look good, have a crispy crust and a good smell and taste,” he said.

I tell you: there is no secret to anything in the world but just EXCELLENCE! It wins every single time!

As a Montmartre lover, I know where I will be getting my baguette this summer  while in Paris:)

Read the full article here

Blown away by Paris?


Florence Foresti, above, is my favorite comedienne française.  Jerry Seinfeld is my favorite American comedian.  I like going back and forth between them, as each side brings out the freshness of the other side.  After the wonderful, raunchy screeching of Foresti, it is a relief to watch the gentle, kind Seinfeld for a while.  But after watching Seinfeld for a while, I'm ready for the raw reality of Foresti.  I love the French for their gritty raw attitudes, and I love the Americans for their niceness, but too much of either is a bit much.

One of the things that I love about Foresti is the clever, sophisticated way in which she manages to be raunchy while being civilized.  In this piece on Paris Hilton, she is appearing on a sophisticated French literature and culture show which typically has as guests leading writers and thinkers.  And she doesn't literally say anything that is offensive to a polite audience; but the double entendres are outrageous!  I love the one about "sous cellophane" (pronounced "sue sell o fan" and meaning "cellophane"), the phonetic of that in french could also come across as "sucer les fans" (pronounced "susay lay fan" and meaning "sucking the fans," i.e., the audience).  But of course there is nothing wrong with being under cellophane, is there Paris, you busy one?


I love each of my three cultures for the way in which they freshen me for another.  When I am in the U.S., I long to return home to Senegal after a while. But then after being a while in Senegal, I'm ready to return to the U.S.  After when I've been gone from France for too long (or Tahiti, my other "French" home away from home), I really need a dose of French culture, French food, French lifestyle - and the raw vulgarity of French humor.

It is funny - the French are in one sense the most civilized culture on earth; they have established the standards for many aspects of decorum and etiquette. And yet in day-to-day life, they use salacious jokes, cuss... Do you see President Obama, or even ex President George W. Bush saying "piss off, asshole" to an angry citizen refusing to shake hand? Well, that is what Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, did at the Agriculture  Tradeshow a few years ago (see video clip below). It really cracks me up how he has these big fake smiles and as similarly fake little innocent voice saying "bonjour" here, and "bonjour, monsieur" there  . . . until the beast gets provoked and his true face comes out...