Buy it: Balenciaga Paris gift with purchase

Fact: Most high fashion houses make the bulk of their profits from leather goods and cosmetics, not from clothing sales. And this totally makes sense--a woman may not be able to afford a $4,000 Chanel suit, but she might deem a classic 2.55 bag worthy of a $2,000 investment, and she--as well as many women--can certainly afford a $30 Chanel lipstick. In other words, it's easier to sell 150 $30 lipsticks than it is to sell one $4,000 suit. So it's surprising that Nicolas Ghesquiere has waited this long to launch a fragrance for Balenciaga, especially considering his Gucci Group mates Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen both have several under their belts. Granted, there are several older Balenciaga scents out there, some of which have been around since the 40s and 50s, but he hasn't introduced a new one until now. Interestingly, Balenciaga Paris isn't quite as fashion-forward as its namesake fashion label--I would've pictured something more modern and unisex--and in fact it's a pretty, slightly powdery and substantially woody scent of the kind that's pretty popular nowadays. It doesn't have any offensive notes (like patchouli), which makes it a great choice for work; overall, it's a very respectable scent.

If all of this is already appealing to you, here's something that will totally persuade you: Nordstrom is currently offering a gift with purchase: Buy the $130 2.5 eau de parfum and get a little Balenciaga zip pouch. Now, I'm sure the GWP version isn't real leather, but a similar style retails for $295 on the Balenciaga website. This could easily be used as a clutch bag; I'm tempted to order the perfume just for the bag. You might not be able to dress like a Balenciaga woman, but, hey, there's nothing wrong with faking it till you make it.


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