Féerie, by Van Cleef & Arpels features an unusual bottle design: the cap is metal (or metal-like?) and features a fairy sitting on a twig (it was inspired by their Midsummer Night’s Dream jewelry collection). From what I’ve read so far, it’s probably shaping up to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it bottles, but my own initial reaction was ambivalent. After seeing it in person, however, I’m firmly in the hate-it camp. The blue glass bottle is pretty, but the “sculpture” on top just isn’t as luxe as its price*, and it’s all a bit twee for my taste — my taste, apparently, runs more towards plastic doll heads. Besides that, even the sales associate acknowledged that eventually, you’re gonna poke your eye out with that thing.
The scent, advertised as a woody floral violet by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu, started out difficult on paper: a screechingly-pitched blast of sweet berry over creamy-powdery violet (the notes: violet, red berries, mandarin, rose, jasmine, iris and vetiver). It gets nicer (and drier) soon enough, but it’s markedly better on skin, where the top notes fade from cloying to merely sweet much faster, and the earthy base helps to balance it out.
Eventually, Féerie is a good fit with the bottle: delicate, feminine, a bit fanciful. It’s one of those scents that has the makings of something wonderful: there is just enough there to love that I found myself redesigning it in my head every time I wore it. As it stands, at a more reasonable price I’d think it a wearable if not dreadfully interesting department store entry, and hey, I wasn’t expecting anything edgy from Van Cleef & Arpels anyway**. But the scent can’t live up to the aspirational pricing any more than the bottle can, and the red lollipop opening, instantly recognizable if you’ve smelled any of the fruity florals marketed to ‘tweens over the past few years, seems at odds with the luxury positioning.
Van Cleef & Arpels Féerie is available in 50 ($110) and 100 ml ($150) Eau de Parfum, and is currently exclusive to Neiman Marcus.
*As March pointed out at Perfume Posse, “it is primarily whimsical – but it should also look like it was issued by a venerable jeweler, not Avon”.
** We’ve another chance for an edgy violet from perfumer Antoine Maisondieu this year: the new Comme des Garcons + Stephen Jones fragrance. It’s already out at Dover Street Market, and I do wish one of you Londoners would go smell it and tell us how it is. It’s even more expensive than the Féerie (around $140 for 55 ml at today’s exchange rate), by the way.