Anna Sui Sui Dreams & Sui Dreams in Pink ~ fragrance review

Anna Sui, Sui Dreams in Pink

Sui Dreams, the second fragrance in the Anna Sui collection, was released in 2000. It's a floral gourmand with top notes of bergamot, tangerine, nectarine and bitter orange; heart notes of peony, freesia, peach and rose; and base notes of vanilla, sandalwood, cedarwood and skin musks. It was developed for the brand by perfumer Philippe Romano.

According to the Anna Sui website, Sui Dreams "plays on a harmonious multiplicity that is warm and fresh, rich and transparent, sweet-scented and sparkling." I'll agree that it's "warm," "rich" and "sweet-scented"; some people may find it too sweet, but looking back, I admire Sui Dreams for arriving on the market long before the taste for caramel-musk-vanilla perfumes that took off in 2003 with Aquolina Pink Sugar (remember that one?!) and has continued unabated through 2011's Prada Candy and beyond.

Sui Dreams isn't as fruity as its list of notes might suggest — there's something that reminds me of candied orange peel, but the real star is vanilla, backed by toasted-sugar woods and a cozy, fuzzy musk. It starts off a bit overpowering — is the vanilla's almost-cloying aspect due to ethylmaltol, that cotton-candy-like ingredient that nearly always makes me feel a bit ill? — but then it quiets and mellows into a very wearable musky-sweet vanilla. I can't imagine paying $250 for a Profumum fragrance like Confetto when Sui Dreams can be found for under $50 through online fragrance discounters. 

I enjoy Sui Dreams, not least because it reminds me of a happy time when I favored gourmand fragrances and often shopped and sniffed at a Parfumerie Douglas store that stocked the Anna Sui line. I also happen to love this fragrance's purse-shaped packaging, as I love most designs that are part and parcel of the Anna Sui brand. I still own a mini-bottle of Sui Dreams, which never fails to make me smile when I see it sitting in my perfume cupboard.

And now we have Sui Dreams In Pink, just released this spring: it was developed for Anna Sui by perfumer Claudette Belnavis, and its composition includes top notes of pomegranate, peony and magnolia; heart notes of pink freesia, raspberry, cherry and water lily; and base notes of cypress, musk, hibiscus and mango wood. It is a limited edition, created primarily for the brand's Asian market. It's also available in Anna Sui boutiques worldwide, so I had the chance to try it at the New York flagship location.

Despite its name and its packaging — a pale pink version of the vintage handbag-inspired bottle — Sui Dreams in Pink doesn't have much in common with its older sister. It's a sheer, pretty floral without any gourmand notes; in fact, unlike the original Sui Dreams, it actually is "fresh," "transparent" and "sparkling." This one isn't as fruity as it sounds, either. There are some red berries present, especially in the dry down, but the primary effect is a bouquet of lily, tea rose and peony, with some dewy green leaves and a very delicate musk at the bottom.

Sui Dreams in Pink is definitely a youthful, spring-y floral, and I'd happily recommend it to girls and women in their teens and twenties, although it would probably also appeal to an older demographic; plenty of women like to have a delicate, soft floral perfume in their collection, right? This one also has very good staying power for something that seems so airy; when I spray it on my wrist just before leaving the house, I can still smell some faint rose and berry notes on my skin at the end of the work day.

The original Anna Sui fragrance is still my favorite from the line, and I regret not buying a bottle of Dolly Girl Ooh La Love when I had the chance (in 2004!), but both Sui Dreams are worth checking out if you have access to them and if you're craving a simple, enjoyable vanilla or petal-fresh floral scent. I still keep hoping for Anna Sui to release a fragrance that's a little deeper and more complex, to complement some of her darker-colored, historically influenced clothing designs. . . but in the meantime, if you're looking for something fun in a pretty bottle, it's a very reliable line.

Sui Dreams by Anna Sui

Anna Sui Sui Dreams is available as 30 ml and 50 ml Eau de Toilette; Sui Dreams in Pink is available as 30 ml Eau de Toilette.

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