Do you ever have those fragrances that you want to love, but just don’t? They often appear entirely suited to your desires and tastes, and often come lauded with high praise, but for some reason they just don’t click with you. For me, Dior’s Diorissimo was one such scent. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve picked up a tester, spritzed some on and waited for sparks to fly. They never did and I couldn’t understand it. I love white florals. I love Dior. Why didn’t Diorissimo and I run off into the sunset together to a symphonic burst of Hollywood music? Sigh.
Don’t lose hope, Dear Reader because, as with all true love stories in movies, the boy gets the girl, or alternatively the boy gets the boy (and the girl gets the girl), OR in my case, the boy (of the Candy Perfume variety) ‘gets’ the perfume. So what finally ignited the spark between that elusive Diorissimo and me? I have one word for you: vintage. It is widely known that the current version of Diorissimo is a pale interpretation of its former self, due mainly to restrictions of key ingredients used to create that unmistakeable lily of the valley effect. With this in mind I headed straight to eBay to seek out some vintage Dior to see what all of the fuss is about.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw it: 50ml of 1980’s Diorissimo Eau de Toilette, almost full for £25 with no bids. I didn’t bid on it at first, thinking that it would go and I stupidly allowed this gem to go unsold. Never mind, fate was on my side and I managed to win the bottle on its second listing. I honestly have never been so excited to receive a perfume package in my life. Could this vintage be the Diorissimo for me? Would it finally click into place, and would Diorissimo and I have that Hollywood ending I was looking for? Seeing as we’re talking in movie analogies, let me drop a spoiler: the boy gets the perfume.
It’s time to put on the Marigolds and start scrubbing because the new fragrance from MOSCHINO is here, and it’s very much channelling spring clean couture. The concept of this eye-catching new scent, the superbly named ‘Fresh Couture‘, is an interesting one. Packaged within the familiar form of an everyday household item, namely a bottle of spray cleaner, Fresh Couture has been created to “juxtapose the most mundane and commonplace of all products, the household cleaner, with something so precious – the juice of a luxury brand’s fragrance”. It is this “dichotomy of high and low”, i.e. the luxury of a fragrance and the value-lacking vessel of a functional cleaner, that is Fresh Couture’s inspiration, and it’s served with Creative Director, Jeremy Scott’s playful signature.
Unlike MOSCHINO’s other kitsch fragrance, the cute teddy bear that is ‘TOY‘ (all style and no substance, as much as I hate to admit it), Fresh Couture is delivered with a definite concept behind the juice. The whole thing plays, unsurprisingly on the idea of freshness in a feminine way boasting notes of citrus, flowers and woods. What could be more MOSCHINO than a “surprising and ironic perfume”, says the brand, and whilst I may not be on board with the idea of this being surprising or ironic, I’m perfectly happy to concede that Fresh Couture says ‘MOSCHINO’ right from head to toe. I should mention that it’s also quite a bit of fun, too.
The perfume and fashion loving public have been longing for a fragrance from clothing and accessories brand, Miu Miu for quite some time. Known largely for their handbags and shoes, the Prada-helmed fashion house knows youthful style quite unlike anyone else, and their aesthetic is undeniably feminine and fun. It’s no surprise that Miu Miu lovers would be keen for a fragrance to represent the aesthetic of such a key fashion brand. On the perfume front, Miu Miu’s parent company Prada has released a decent crop of exceptional perfumes in conjunction with the talents of perfumer Daniela Andrier. It stands to reason then, that a decent scent from Miu Miu would be a no-brainer, and despite some dissenting voices on the blogs, I really think it is just that.
“Natural and timeless in a contemporary way”¹ is the manner in which Miu Miu are describing their eponymous fragrance, which is penned by none other than Prada-favourite, Daniela Andrier, of course. Housed within the most gorgeous bottle to have graced the shelves of department stores in quite some time, Miu Miu the fragrance feels like a baby blue throwback to the pastel-shaded ’60s and ’70s, whilst keeping very much in line with the modern tastes of today. It also centres on lily of the valley, which means it’s a white floral, which therefore means that I was destined to fall for it hook, line and sinker. Just as expected, I did.
Tom Ford is a man that knows a thing or two about glamour. I refer you to this image of Gwyneth Paltrow dressed in TF at the Oscars, should you require any evidence. Mr. Ford creates exceptionally tailored suits for some of the world’s most attractive gents in addition to beautiful womenswear pieces that often channel old Hollywood glamour. He pushes the boundaries too and it’s safe to say that Ford is not averse to ‘sexing things up’ more than a little bit, as many of his advertisements will prove!
It’s safe to say that Tom Ford also knows quite a bit about fragrance too, and since he launched his first fragrance way back in 2006, he has created a veritable empire of scent that dominates department stores across the globe. Of course, when fragrance and glamour meet, the results can be very interesting indeed, and within his brand, Ford has many a fabulous fragrance, ranging from the casual chic of Violet Blonde, to the mysterious opulence of Fleur de Chine, with all of the glamour in the world in between.
I speak of the subject of glamour because Ford’s latest feminine fragrance, ‘Noir Pour Femme’, strikes me as a scent that practically pulsates with fierce feminine beauty. Created as the feminine counterpart to Noir, Tom Ford’s popular masculine from 2012, this interpretation for women has been designed to be as “suggestive as a slashed jet-black dress revealing the curve of woman’s shoulder, or the kissable dip of her back”. As you can probably imagine with a description like that, Noir Pour Femme is all sexed up glamour and no shame.
It’s not a new thing for a fashion designer to launch an eponymous fragrance, or any fragrance for that matter. In fact, at this point, the idea is decidedly old hat. But the worlds of fashion and perfume are so inextricably linked that it still makes perfect sense for such a thing as the ‘designer fragrance’ to exist. After all, we simply cannot deny that perfume is the ultimate fashion accessory. Can you imagine leaving the house without any? Sacré bleu! It doesn’t bare thinking about!
Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaïa has waited a long time to launch his debut (and semi-eponymous) perfume, ‘Alaïa Paris‘ (penned by the talented Marie Salamagne, no less), and having spent some time with the fragrance this week I would say that it has been worth the wait. With Alaïa Paris, the aesthetic of the designer is perfectly in tune with the olfactory composition, making for a scent that, whilst not boasting any particularly bold statements, is unique and interesting enough to represent the style of such a venerable designer. Click here to head on over to Escentual to read my full review. Don’t forget to comment with your thoughts if you have tried Alaïa Paris.
Criticise Paco Rabanne all you want, but you can never say that they don’t have a knack for tapping into the zeitgeist. Their fragrance launches are a perfect example of how marketing drives the success of a modern perfume, with irresistible packaging and expensive advertising campaigns drawing the consumer in. Take 1 Million for instance – a perfectly decent woody amber fragrance that most likely wouldn’t have had the phenomenal success it has if it weren’t packaged inside a faux piece of gold bullion and marketed with a club-culture inspired ad that tapped into the image and money-obsessed nature of modern youth. They are anything, if not clever.
Their latest launch for women, ‘Olympēa‘, which arrives as the feminine counterpart to 2013’s Invictus, comes with all of the trappings of a typical Paco Rabanne launch right from the show-stopping bottle shaped like a laurel crown to the high-budget visuals, but the scent itself appears to have a bit more depth than one would usually expect. Created by perfumers Anne Flipo, Dominique Ropion and Loc Dong, Olympēa is described as the “fragrance of a modern day goddess” and a “statuesque idol of conquest and victory”. That is quite the description, I must say, and in truth, the fragrance is more intimate and cuddly than the concept would lead one to expect, but that’s not to say that Olympēa is without interest, in fact, it’s really quite intriguing.
“The fragrance of a modern day goddess, Paco Rabanne Olympea Eau de Parfum makes a statement of strength, power and seduction. Between myth and reality is where you’ll find Olympēa, a statuesque idol of conquest and victory. Her fragrance is just as commanding as she is, featuring a legend-inspiring salted vanilla accord that elevates her above the clouds.”
I’ve been a little bit behind in putting a link to last week’s Escentual column up here, and for that I apologise! Anyways, the centrepiece of the article was Acqua di Parma’s Acqua Nobile Rosa, an Eau de Toilette incarnation of last year’s Rosa Nobile. Now, if you remember my review from last year, you will know that I was more than a little bit taken with Rosa Nobile, and I’m pleased to say that this new EDT is just as good, if not a bit lighter. Rosa celebrates the more ethereal, jammy and citrus-like facets of the rose and it’s a good alternative for those who want something less present. Click here to check out my review.
I would never claim to possess any from of synesthesia, but I do often think of colours when I smell a fragrance. Sometimes these ideas are led by the presentation of the fragrance, for example, despite how its ingredients are more brown and amber-coloured, it’s difficult to think of Mugler’s Alien as any colour other than purple. The scents themselves possess colourful characters too. Take Malle’s Portrait of a Lady as another example – has any fragrance ever been so ruby red? I think not!
So yes, perfumes have colours, whether they be pre-determined by the shade of the bottle or the juice, or even the fashions rocked by the ‘face’ in the advert, they are cast in one hue or another. Pichola, the latest fragrance from Neela Vermeire Creations is blue. Well, to be precise, its a deep, expansive body of sapphire-coloured water. It’s big, blue and beautiful, with great depth and complexity. Subtitled ‘majestic reflections’, Pichola takes inspiration from the lake of the same name in Rajasthan, India and attempts to capture its “timeless beauty” whilst adding a “new twist” to Neela’s incomparable range of India-inspired fragrances.
“A myriad of colourful historic, architectural and spiritual reflections fall on this splendid body of water – the sunlight and moonlight of each season bringing out the eternal and timeless beauty of Lake Pichola. Our latest fragrance captures such countless reflections on the lake from the past to the present – showcasing the splendour of opulent and vibrant flowers, princely spices and precious woods taking us on an unforgettable and hypnotic fragrant journey. Once you have experienced the diverse and stunning beauty of these indescribable reflections you will understand the true meaning of timeless luxury and effortless beauty….”
Cast your mind back to 2012 when Italian fashion label Marni launched their first and eponymous fragrance, ‘Marni‘. Created by perfumer Daniela Andrier, the nose behind many of Prada’s most recent offerings, this debut fragrance opted to be a little bit subversive and create something that was both playful and practical, capturing the spirit of the brand whilst remaining relatively commercial. The result is a vibrant, spicy rose scent that stands out amongst the many others of its kind, due to its quality and effervescence.
Now, bring yourself back to the present day and let’s discuss ‘Marni Spice‘ the latest addition to the Marni fragrance collection, which includes the original scent and one other flanker called ‘Marni Rose‘. Much like the Marni Rose that precedes it, this latest edition has been created as a “new interpretation of the original bouquet”, this time showcasing the spicier facets of the Marni signature. The brand describe the fragrance as a “lively and spontaneous dialogue between strength and delicacy”, and that seems fitting to me. Marni Spice displays a different kind of vibrancy to the original, hinting at an exciting kind of androgyny.
“Just like Consuelo Castiglioni, as a designer, plays with classical elements, producing unexpected results through an unprecedented balance of proportions, colours, prints and materials, perfumes play with classic elements in unexpected ways. The starting point is the ingredients: sophisticated and precious. Consuelo Castiglioni follows every aspect of the process, editing each fragrance as she would do with the collection for a fashion show”
When Versace launched their most recent masculine fragrance, Eros, in 2013 I really wanted to like it. Every fibre of my fragrant being hoped for it to be good and before casting my inquisitive nose over the scent, I was encouraged by the terrifically gaudy bottle and over the top, muscle-filled advert, both of which were done in that ridiculous way that only Versace knows how to do. Alas, it was not meant to be and Eros turned out to be a synthetic clash of chemically grown lemon and day old vanilla pudding. It’s pretty terrible to be honest with you and feels genetically modified in a way that is more evocative of Godzilla’s ball sack than the glistening pectorals of an Ancient God. To cut a long story short, I wasn’t a fan.
So when Versace announced the launch of Eros Pour Femme, one would have thought that I’d have learned my lesson and steered well clear. `One would think that I wouldn’t be enticed by the simply fabulous bottle with its gold medusa head, and one would hope that I wasn’t silly enough to think that perhaps, it could be a big old stinky white floral in the manner of Versace’s incredible Blonde. You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? That’s right, I fell hook, line and sinker for the aesthetics of Eros Pour Femme and raised my hopes to an incredibly high level, only rivalled by the time that the time that Madonna performed her new single at the Brits, and we all know how that turned out (disclaimer: I love you, Madonna and bravo for carrying on). I had high hopes for Eros Pour Femme, people, apple pie in the sky hopes and as you’ve probably guessed by now, I was sorely disappointed.
Eros Pour Femme was created by perfumers Alberto Morillas (CK One, Dalí, Iris PrimaMugler Cologne & Opus VII), Olivier Cresp (D&G Light Blue, Juniper Sling and Angel) and Nathalie Lorson (Dita Von Teese & Black Opium) – three incredible perfumers, no less. The striking ad campaign (which does have a degree of the glistening pecs of the original in it, I checked) was shot by fashion photographers Mert & Marcus. Donatalla Versace helmed the project. It would be fair to say that there are some talented people on board the Eros Pour Femme ship, but there’s also a striking lack of ingenuity or anything that remotely resembles innovation, in fact. Eros Pour Femme turns out to be nothing more than an allegory for what the brand now is – not as good as it used to be.