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by Yong-Mi Kim

September 10, 2000

Our intrepid heroine braves the jungles of NYC, and emerges triumphant with some trophies and scars.

Part I - The Quest for T. LeClerc

T. LeClerc loose powder in Banane, a light yellow color, is "The favorite of stars and top models" according to descriptions on the web. It is not widely available - none of the major web cosmetics retailers or even Sephora carry it. An initial web search turned up Four Seasons, a Florida retailer of specialty cosmetics brands. From their web site I learned that there are also other products in the line, such as concealers, eyeshadows, and lipsticks.

But surely it had to be available somewhere in New York City, fashion capital of the U.S.? Another web search turned up which is the web site for Bliss Spa in New York City. With the aid of MapBlast! I discovered Bliss's location on E 57th Street was within walking distance of the hotel in which I would be staying. Have I died and gone to heaven? I could walk there, purchase the products, and arrange for a facial appointment, all at the same time!

The astute reader may surmise at this point that actual events did not proceed so smoothly. Yes, I managed to find 57th Street, but I forgot to write down the actual street address on my Palm Pilot IIIxe. Being a simple country girl from the Washington D.C. suburbs, I had assumed there would be a sign for the store visible from the street. I walked and walked on 57th avenue, across 5th Avenue, across Madison Avenue, across Park Avenue, but no sign of Bliss. I passed Bergdorf Goodman and Christian Dior and Celine. I stopped in Otto Tootsi Plohound to rest my aching feet a bit. While slightly distracted by the shoes, nevertheless I was starting to feel a bit desperate.

I decided my best course of action was to return to the hotel. Back in my room, leafing through a New York City shopping guide conveniently placed on the desk, I discovered the peculiarly New York City phenomenon of drug stores that sell imported high-end cosmetics in addition to the usual aspirins and vitamins. The next day, I bravely set out on Madison Avenue towards Boyd's. Alas, they did not carry any T. LeClerc. But, a very helpful sales clerk told me I should try Windsor Pharmacy, which turned out to be even closer to my hotel than my previous targets. Doh!


Hallelujah! Windsor Pharmacy indeed had the T. LeClerc face powders. But those were the only T. LeClerc products they carried. The concealers and lip glosses would have to wait for another day. I tried on the aforementioned Banane, and Nacre, which was almost white in color. The sales associate and I agreed that Banane would be the better choice. I decided to go with the loose instead of the pressed powder, which then led to another decision - which size container to buy? The loose powder comes in 35 g, 50 g, and 115 g sizes. The 35 g size (as well as the 155 g size) comes in a lovely metal container that looks straight out of the vanity table of a belle of 1881, the year Théophile LeClerc established his namesake pharmacy in Paris. Lovely but flimsy, and the sales associate and I agreed it might not be the best choice for the trip back to Washington, D.C. The 50 g (1.69 oz) size, or "Voyage Box," comes in a sturdy and attractive double-lidded plastic container, complete with a sifter and a velour puff. This, then was the obvious choice.

I have to give props to the extremely helpful sales associate at Windsor Pharmacy. As well as instructing me on the proper application method for the loose powder, she gave me the helpful tip to not tear off the plastic film inside the container, but instead, use a pin to prick holes in it. This way, I would not end up with a mess every time I opened the box. Only later was I to discover that Windsor Pharmacy is also the home of a makeup line called New York Cosmetics.

According to makeup guru Bobbi Brown, light yellow powder is the most flattering color for the majority of women. It tones down redness, makes the skin glow, and is also useful for toning down foundation too pink for one's skin (a fault of many drug store foundations). So far I can attest to the first two properties of T. LeClerc loose powder, not having yet tried it with foundation. This is because the powder is also intended to be an alternative to foundation, when worn directly over moisturizer. The powder has been remarkably effective in keeping shine down, and a little goes a long way.

As an aside, given current exchange rates, it is significantly cheaper to purchase T. LeClerc in Europe rather than the U.S. Looking at, prices are less than half of those in the U.S.

Next: Sephora Rockefeller Center, with a side trip to H&M

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