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Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black, Nirvana White ~ fragrance reviews & quick poll

Elizabeth and James Nirvana advert

Ashley and I are really into oils, and those were the notes we were really attracted to. — Mary-Kate Olsen, talking to Women’s Wear Daily.

Remember way back when — about 20-odd years ago in perfume years — when Sarah Jessica Parker launched Lovely, and everyone was talking about exactly which perfume oils it was based on? It was the first thing I thought of when I smelled Nirvana Black and Nirvana White, the new fragrances from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Elizabeth and James lifestyle brand. Lovely, it turned out, was inspired by Parker’s own layering blend of Bonne Bell Skin Musk, Comme des Garςons Avignon and some Egyptian Musk oil she bought from a street vendor, but as translated into something marketable by Coty, Lovely was far tamer and more wearable than you might have expected from the original mix.

Nirvana Black and Nirvana White come closer to walking the walk…

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Tory Burch by Tory Burch ~ perfume review

Tory Burch fragrance advert

I was going for tomboy meets feminine, and I wanted the vetiver because not only did my father wear it, I did too and so did my brothers. Then we looked at how we could mix it with citrus and florals — I’ve always loved tuberose. [The juice is] unexpected, but fresh.1

That’s Tory Burch, talking about her debut fragrance, Tory Burch, which launched last month under licensing arrangements with Estee Lauder. And who, exactly, is Tory Burch?

Flip through stacks of glossy magazines, and you are all but guaranteed to find Tory Burch, the designer who has built an empire on tunics and gold-medallioned flats.

[…] But she seems to be modeling her cool image after that of her former boss Ralph Lauren, the Bronx-born onetime necktie maker who turned a small business making polo shirts in the 1970s into a billion-dollar global lifestyle enterprise.2

And the Tory Burch fragrance? Well, it’s a pretty good fit with all of that, especially if you’ve been watching the designer fragrance market long enough to read between the lines…

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See by Chloe ~ perfume review

See by Chloé advert

a breath of perfume, an intriguing personality…draped in the natural elegance of her well-known sister, the see by chloé girl twirls. instinctively playful, smiling, immersed in the moment… urban, self-confident, she arouses the unexpected and cultivates contrasts. assertive, seductive, cheerful, hers is a natural smile.

See By Chloé embodies femininity while blending masculine codes in an urban-chic way. This fragrance captures the audaciousness and strong personality of the Chloé woman.1

See by Chloé is the Chloé brand’s youth-oriented diffusion line, which probably tells you much of what you need to know about its new eponymous fragrance: “the target user is 18 to 30 years old with an mischievous, rock ’n’ roll edge.”2 From the video advertising, I would have guessed something closer to 15 to 18, but then, my rock ‘n roll edge has probably long since worn away — if you’re anywhere near the target age, do tell me if you liked the commercials (I found them a turnoff), and do the clothes in the videos appeal to you (ditto)?

The modern Chloé fragrance brand has been a mixed bag so far. The 2005 comeback fragrance, Chloé, was a huge seller, but I’m not the only perfumista still scratching my head over its popularity. I did like last year’s L’Eau de Chloé flanker, and I’m a fan of the 2010 pillar, Love, Chloé. See by Chloé, in my ranking, ends up somewhere in the middle: I don’t much care about it either way…

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Marni by Marni ~ perfume review

Marni perfume bottleRaquel Zimmerman, advert for Marni

Because it’s a perfume that’s quite individual, that doesn’t evoke anything in particular. It’s for a woman who dresses for herself, who doesn’t follow trends but is sophisticated and also maybe a little eccentric.1

That’s Consuelo Castiglioni, founder and designer of the Italian fashion house Marni, talking about the brand’s recently-launched debut fragrance.2 Marni has been around since 1994, but I had never heard of them — not unusual given how little attention I pay to fashion, and if the fragrance takes off, it won’t be the first time that a luxury designer is best known for an affordable perfume — Viktor & Rolf, anyone?3 The thing that caught my eye right away was the packaging, which is sophisticated and also maybe a little eccentric, and which is also excellent good fun; plus, it doesn’t remind me of any other bottle I can think of — how often does that happen now that we’re getting 1000+ new fragrances a year? Also a plus: Estee Lauder holds the license and the perfumer is Daniela Andrier. Double bonus points: Consuelo Castiglioni apparently doesn’t like fruit, flowers or sweet. I don’t dislike any of those, mind you, but we get plenty enough of them on the fragrance counters already.

Despite Ms. Castiglioni’s preferences, Marni starts with a little whoosh of fruit, tinged green and mingling with bright citrus, but it’s not sweet, and neither the fruit nor the flowers take over the proceedings…

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