Ever since fashion designer Christian Siriano appeared on Project Runway I have rooted for him. He was one of those reality show contestants who was easy to like. He used his victory to launch his own line which has thrived for over ten years. It was only a matter of time until he would begin to expand into fragrance. As much as I wanted to like the perfume with his name on the bottle, they’ve mostly been unimpressive in their lack of originality. Chasing trends without finding a way to make them stand out. The latest release Christian Siriano Ooh La Rouge still is chasing trends but this time there is a bit more there.
Mr. Siriano has been the creative director for the fragrance line. When it began in 2014 with Silhouette, he worked with perfumer Christelle Laprade. It was a transparent jasmine and praline accord with a jarring apple note which threw it off. This would become a common theme in the successive releases. There was something nice which would be offset by something that seemed out of place. Mme Laprade returns for Ooh La Rouge and they find the right partner for the jasmine and praline.
The better choice is a sharp grapefruit. The citrus adds some points of light to the jasmine. This is that non-indolic jasmine given a transparent shine. The grapefruit is what adds in some edginess through its tartness. The praline accord from six years ago returns with a lighter more balanced appearance. These three keynotes are expanded through some musks to the desired opacity of the current consumer. A synthetic wood ingredient completes the composition.
Ooh La Rouge has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
While I was wearing Ooh La Rouge I dug out my old sample of Silhouette. It probably isn’t a flattering thing to say but Ooh La Rouge feels like the perfume they’ve spent six years making better. It isn’t distinctly a flanker, but it shares the important set of core ingredients. I am hopeful that this might mark a new beginning for Christian Siriano perfumes.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by Macy’s.
It seems like the perfume year really doesn’t get underway until the winter version of Elements has kicked us off. Coming the week after the Super Bowl had consumed New York City it was an interesting transition from football World Championship to, sort of, the opening of the 2014 perfume regular season. What really struck me was the efforts which really stood out were team-ups of olfactory art and another kind of art. So stretching the sports analogy until it breaks I’m going to let you know which rookies captured my attention in the early moments of 2014.
The first thing that caught my eye were the striking bottles from Suleko. The atomizers sit inside individual sculptures three of which were designed by Joelle Fevre and the fourth one by Alain Fichot. Owner and Creative Director Anastasia Sokolow teamed up with the talented perfumer Cecile Zarokian to complete a Big Three team-up of sculptor, creative director and perfume which has resulted in a fantastic collaborative effort on all three fronts. The bottles were easily the most visually impressive thing on both floors of the Elements Showcase. The perfume inside, meant to evoke one of the seasons, equally impressive. From first impressions Baba Yaga’s spicy energy is more attention grabbing in the early going but I think Albho’s high altitude impression might win me over when I spend more time with them.
Quiet by Olivia Bee
Another collaborative effort came from Ulrich Lang as he debuted his fifth fragrance under his Ulrich Lang New York label called Aperture. There has always been a strong photographic inspiration to this line of fragrance, with Aperture the connection is made even stronger. Mr. Lang asked 19 year-old photographer Olivia Bee to come up with the photograph which accompanies the fragrance. The picture above came from Ms. Bee’s series “Quiet”. The silhouette against three strong bands of color almost mirror the pyramid of peppery aldehydes on top, a deep heart of tobacco, jasmine, and cedar, and an intensely blue base of vetiver, ambergris, and civet. All proceeds from Aperture will be used to support the Aperture Foundation.
Chef Rene Berges (l.)
The novel “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Suskind has been the jumping off point for many fragrances. The latest, by Absolument Parfumeur, is Le Trezieme Note Femme and Le Trezieme Note Homme. The Thirteenth Note, in the novel, is that which turns perfume into legend according to Baldini, the perfumer who teaches the protagonist Grenouille. Founder and Creative Director Pascal Rolland teamed with Chef Rene Bruges to create a fusion of food and fragrance for the thirteenth note. The Femme version, inspired by a dessert, is a fruity floral on a honeyed ambery base. The Homme version, inspired by an entrée, is an herbal wonderland with a wormwood heart which nods to the first Absolument Parfumeur fragrance Absinthe. The Homme version was particularly enjoyable and only time will tell if either will become legendary.
Sydney Australia floral designer Saskia Havekes presented her first two fragrances inspired by magnolia. Using the same name as her floral design business Grandiflora she convinced two of the more itinerant perfumers on the planet to create two visions of magnolia. Michel Roudnitska and Sandrine Videault, in her last fragrance, created Magnoila Grandiflora Michel and Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine. These two perfumers have turned in singularly magnificent interpretations of magnolia under Ms. Havekes’ creative direction. She also told me the third Grandiflora fragrance will be based on Madagascan jasmine called Stephanotis Floribunda and will also be composed by M. Roudnitska. Based on these first two fragrances it is my most anticipated new fragrance coming out of Elements Showcase.
I also got some advance peeks into the future of some of our favorite brands. Union’s Anastasia Brozler will be taking us to the Garden of Eden, Union-style, with the release of their sixth fragrance later this year. Douglas Bender of Charenton Macerations is currently hard at work on two follow-ups to last year’s Christopher Street. Designer Christian Siriano will be releasing his first perfume, Silhouette, in the next few months and it mirrors his fashion designs full of volume and intensity. Rouge Bunny Rouge has two new releases Muse and Allegria coming out very soon. The new Parfums de Marly Darcey was very nice and it is just starting to be released. I also got a sneak peek at the new boronia fragrance from Nomad Two Worlds, Raw Spirit: Desert Blush. It is another very beautiful fragrance born of an indigenous ingredient to Australia.
Elements Showcase continues to evolve and under the steady hand of Frederick Bouchardy, Ulrich Lang, and Jeffrey Lawson it will continue to present the best of the newest fragrant offerings. I’ll be back in August to see what they have for the mid-season showcase.