I love Prada. I think their fragrance output is one of the most consistent, both in terms of quality and when it comes to projecting a strong house identity. You can smell a Prada fragrance and know that it’s a Prada, and this comes down to two key elements; Daniela Andrier as the unofficial house perfumer (who has created the entirety of the collection); and the key ingredient of orris. Combined, these two elements make a Prada fragrance by crafting a house signature that is distinct, luxurious and beautiful. Whatever they do, whether that be a classic like Infusion d’Iris or a contemporary like Candy, Prada never compromises its signature, nor its quality.
Speaking of signatures, Prada launched their flagship fragrances La Femme & L’Homme Prada in 2016. They have since become staples of the brand, epitomising the Prada woman and man. After receiving the intense treatment last year, La Femme & L’Homme are now subject to the ‘l’eau’ treatment, resulting in two fragrances that take a lighter approach. We have one which is a golden, sparkling floral and another that stretches iris powder into something fresh and cool. Both smell absolutely great and show just how versatile that inimitable Prada signature is.
La Femme Prada L’Eau
Top: Mandarin Orange and Frangipani
Heart: Tuberose and Ylang Ylang
Base: Tuberose and Santal
How Does it Smell?
Remember how I started this post by banging on about how all Prada fragrances conform to a strong signature? Yeah, well forget that when you think of La Femme Prada because, whilst it may demonstrate the sparkling luxury of the house, it’s always stuck as out as something a little bit more voluptuous and bombastic – far from the aloof, fizzy irises that make Prada so, well, ‘Prada’. La Femme Prada is a beautiful, tropical floral with a rich intensity and it lends itself to the ‘L’Eau’ treatment particularly well indeed!
La Femme Prada L’Eau is so sparkly and fresh. It starts with a juicy mandarin accord, with hints of crisp greenery and floaty, bubbly neroli, before unveiling a sumptuous heart of tropical white blooms. These flowers sit on the honeyed-fresh side of the spectrum as opposed to the vanilla-banana side. There’s a real golden quality to it as well as a strong liveliness, giving the sense of sunlight reflected off mirrored glass. In the base, La Femme L’Eau rests its cool, golden tuberose upon a bed of sandalwood and musk, rounding things off with a supple, smooth finish. The whole thing is delicate, glamorous, solar and weightless. Wonderful.
L’Homme Prada L’Eau
Top: Mandarin Essence and Ginger
Heart: Iris, Red Ginger and Neroli
Base: Amber and Sandalwood
How Does it Smell?
L’Homme Prada is one of the most handsome mainstream masculine fragrances out there and it presents an accessible, affable softness that has an almost feminine edge to it. It’s this duality that makes L’Homme Prada so enjoyable, because it doesn’t subscribe to perfumery’s usual gender codes, presenting something that is both masculine and feminine, taking cues from both genres. But how does a powdery, woody masculine with a strong sense of greyness translate into a transparent L’Eau fragrance? Well, rather splendidly I must say!
L’Homme Prada L’Eau opens zesty and fresh, but not vibrant and bright. There’s a strong coolness, but also a matt, dull effect which is in line with the grey iris of the original. The iris is paired with neroli to create a strange, contrasting white floral signature that provides an almost aquatic impression to the powdery texture of the orris. There’s a really strangeness here, something undefinable that leaves one wondering what they’re smelling – a sort of two dimensional, spacious quality that creates transparency where it normally wouldn’t be found. In the base, L’Eau marries cool sandalwood with grey amber to create a cold fluffiness that really is sooo Prada. For a subversive summer scent, L’Homme Prada L’Eau can’t be beaten. It begs to be paired with a white shirt.
So these L’Eau versions of La Femme and L’Homme Prada could have easily been wishy-washy thinned out flankers that lost much of the suaveness that makes the originals so special. That was the danger but seeing as Prada very much pays attention to the detail in all that they do, these flankers successfully manage to provide more transparent compositions without thinning things out too much or diverging from the structure of the originals. They don’t feel superfluous or unnecessary, instead they take what are obviously two very popular fragrances and simply make them summer-appropriate, providing elegant, smart alternatives to one’s typical summer colognes. I like them both very much.
La Femme Prada L’Eau is available in 35ml (£45.50), 50ml (£64.50) and 100ml (£93) Eau de Toilette.
L’Homme Prada L’Eau is available in 50ml (£51), 100ml (£72) and 150ml (£87.50 Eau de Toilette.
Samples, notes and quotes via Prada. Images are my own. Prices correct at time of publishing.