Fall's Most Fashionable Fragrances
Fall's Most Fashionable Fragrances
The Muses! The Magic! Fall's most fashionable fragrances.
Fashion's top designers have taken a keen interest in fragrance this fall, presenting scent statements steeped in their design DNA.
Excerpts from a fragrance editorial by Sarah Brown, Scent & Style.
New Fall Fragrances
Givenchy - Dahlia Noir Perfume
"What fashion has taught me: You don't always have to be shocked to be chic." So says Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci, the man who brought us graphic Rorschach florals with an urban edge for resort, a jaw-droppingly pretty all-white couture, and fierce golden-eyed panther prints for fall. Tisci is lounging on acres of Ultra-suede in a suite at the Mercer hotel in SoHo, the terrace doors thrown open to the sunshine and light breeze. He is very thoughtfully talking about his first foray into fragrance, invoking the grand master, Hubert de Givenchy, more than once. "Even though I can be futuristic, I love traditions," he reflects. "That was the most important thing for me: classicism. And that shocked everybody at Givenchy." As did Dahlia Noir, the fruit of two years of his labor, a fragrance named for a flower that has no smell. An odd choice for a perfume, except if you are Riccardo Tisci. "It gave it a sense of purity, possibility," he says of the scent that ended up a sexy floral chypre. "The dahlia has a sense of freedom as a flower, but it still has romance and sharpness -- which is my style." -- Fleur Fatale: For Dahlia Noir, Riccardo Tisci was inspired by best friend Mariacarla Boscono, and Dahlias -- flowers with no scent.
Michael Kors - Gold Perfume
Take Michael Kors, For Gold, he has done his best to bottle "unselfconscious glamour" -- which roughly translates to tuberose, magnolia, orange blossom, and a healthy dose of musk. "What I wanted was something indulgent and glamorous, but sporty at the same time. 'Cause that's who we are," he deadpans from his Bryant Park office, mirrored silver aviators folded neatly on the table within arm's reach. He chose Karmen Pedaru (a former soccer star in Estonia) as his muse because "she is truly one of those girls who could be on a surfboard at 5:00PM and on a red carpet an hour later." The name, Gold, seems a natural fit, connoting easy extravagance (Kor's zillion-ply cashmeres come to mind), as well as the army of bronzed-to-the-ghilt beauties who regularly walk his runways. But he had something else in mind. "I was thinking of it as the golden hour. I always say, 'You want to take my picture? Call me at 5:30. Give me the golden hour.'"
Balenciaga Paris - L'Essence Perfume
"Poisonous and magnetic" is how Nicolas Ghesquière describes Balenciaga L'Essence, his olfactive homage to the intriguing complexities of Charlotte Gainsbourg. A green fragrance laced with violet leaves and vetiver -- a traditional hallmark of men's eaux de cologne -- it plays with notions of masculinity and femininity, as the lanky Charlotte often does. Inspired by the hematite and pyrite jewelry in Balenciaga's resort collection, the bottle -- an architectural, space-age rendition of a classic flacon -- is pleasingly green, too.
Bottega Veneta - Debut Fragrance
At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier has been toying with the masculine/feminine scent divide, as well, and for his first foray into fragrance, he looked no further than the supple notes of leather, a house staple. "I like introducing the idea of leather into a woman's scent because it has a slight ambiguity to it," he says. It has layers of spicy femininity, too, with notes of Italian bergamot, Indian jasmine, and pink peppercorns. The Venetian glass-inspired bottle, cinched at the neck with a flesh-toned leather ribbon, is indeed beautiful, but the best part will likely be noticed only by the woman who holds it in her hand: Bottega's signature woven "intrecciato" discreetly etched in frosted glass on the bottom, "Private luxury," nods Maier. And for his muse, Maier picked an unknown -- though not for long: Nine d'Urso, the bewitching daughter of French fashion icon Ines de la Fressange, and the street-style subject of her mother's new book, Parisian Chic (Flammarion). "I was looking for somebody fresh and new. I love what she looks like," Maier says simply.
Diane von Furstenber - Diane Perfume
The fabulous thing about Diane von Furstenberg is that she designs for herself, and she's proud of it. "I have put everything into this perfume," she says of her self-titled new scent. "It's my first name. It's as personal as I can possibly make it." But, of course, it's not just for her -- like the wrap dress, she hopes it will embolden a new generation: "Lately, I think younger girls just don't appreciate the power of perfume and what it does," she laments. "Perfume is a weapon for women, and it has been one since antiquity!" The scent is ripe with DVF's favorite flowers: frangipani, which she first spotted on a trip to Bali ("It grows on an ugly tree, this beautiful flower"), and violet, "a tiny plant that grows most of the time in the woods, and normally you step on it. But it's mischievous."
Prada - Candy Perfume
Speaking of mischievous: Prada Candy. From the moment French actress Léa Seydoux impulsively careens acress the screen -- a variation of the combative Apache dance performed by Paris street ganags in the 1900s -- in the short film by Jean-Paul Goude that Miuccia Prada commissioned about the fragrance, you know it's going to be good. And it is, especially if you like candy. The Deco/Pop bottle, which is fun just to look at, contains an over-the-top blend of powdery musks and warm, balsamy benzoin (a resin from Laos's styrax tree), capped off with sticky, sweet caramel.
Oscar de la Renta - Live in Love Perfume
And then there is the romantic. Oscar de la Renta encourages women to quite simply "'live in love,' a wonderful sentiment that encompasses many things," including the name of his new perfume. The gold-edged labels on the Moorish bottles have the look of handmade paper gently affixed by someone who cares. With green, flowery notes of ginger orchid and lily of the valley, this is certainly something for Oscar's ladies. "You change your dress every day. I hope you don't change your perfume every day -- I hope it's a more intimate relationship, something that it yours," he says wistfully. "I want to walk into a room and there is a lingering smell -- and that smell is you."
(Brown, Sarah. "Beauty: Fragrance, Scent & Style." Vogue Sept. 2011: 606-612.)