Paula Dorf started as a make-up artist and eventually launched her own line of color cosmetics in 1997. Her first (and so far, only) fragrance, Zita, was released in 2003. It was created by perfumers Cecile Krakower and Ralf Schwieger, and has notes of tea rose, fresh cut grass, freesia, galbanum, peach, pink peony, iris, sandalwood and musk:
"I had this vision of walking with my mom as a little girl," said Dorf, who noted that childhood memories were the main inspiration for Zita, which is also her middle name."The smell of the grass, the flowers, I've always had that scent in me." (via Womens Wear Daily, 1/31/2003)
Zita starts as a very green, very grassy floral. The rose is predominant, but it is a light, fresh kind of rose rather than a deep rose — a pink rose, if you will — and the grass, along with the peony and freesia, gives it an airy, out in the garden kind of feel. The peach is subdued but adds a bit of lushness, and there is a hint of powder from the iris. On the dry down, it gets somewhat deeper and warmer, and the fresh green notes are replaced by a musky sandalwood.
It is dewy and soft, and very spring-like. It is reminiscent of the lighter Rosines like Ecume de Rose and Un Zeste de Rose, although it doesn't really smell like any other rose perfume I can think of. There is something about it that seems perfect for an outdoor May wedding, and when it was still easily found online (see below), it was often touted as the perfect bridal scent.
I love rose fragrances, but for some reason I don't reach for them often. I pulled Zita out of the cabinet today because I was thinking about romantic perfumes for Valentine's Day, and as it turns out, it is also the perfect scent to counteract the 12-odd inches of snow we got here yesterday. I am more than ready for spring.
I am sorry to say that I have no idea where to buy Zita. It used to be readily available at department stores and at online sources like Sephora and Beauty.com, but no more, and it is not included in the Paula Dorf collection at Home Shopping Network. Bottles turned up at TJ Maxx last year shortly before it began disappearing, so I suspect that it has been discontinued. Please comment if you know! Update: I just remembered that Paula Dorf has a website. I called. It is discontinued. They still have a few bottles, call 1-888-472-8523 if you're interested.