Labels flaunt scents of style

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am

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Over recent weeks, the eyes of fashionistas have been glued to the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris. But designer apparel is not the only thing making waves.

After years of playing it safe, designer fragrances are striking out with head-turning creations.

Established labels such as Burberry, Chanel and Prada, as well as newer brands, are imploring us to try something new. The difference? A stronger focus on the quality of the materials used in the scents and a greater link between the fashion and the fragrance.

'We are seeing many brands telling the story of the fashion house as well as the craft of perfumery and its link with fashion,' says Lauren Creecy, senior marketing manager at fragrance house Givaudan

'The last decade was focused on the celebrity fragrance. But this decade we are seeing perfumes with something more legitimate and authentic,' professeur de parfum Roja Dove adds.

Burberry Body (HK$670 for 60ml) is, according to Burberry's creative director, Christopher Bailey, 'the biggest launch we have ever done; one that captures all the modernity and heritage of this brand.' Described as a 'luxury chypre', the scent combines absinthe, peach and freesia with rose and iris, while sandalwood, musk, amber and vanilla create the 'naked skin' scent that gives it its sex appeal.

The advertising campaign features model of the moment Rosie Huntingon-Whitely draped seductively in just a Burberry trench, which certainly highlights a new direction for the brand.

Dior has a new campaign for its J'adore scent. In the television advert, the face of the perfume, Charlize Theron, is seen mixing backstage with Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe before making her catwalk entrance in couture Dior.

This autumn also sees long-awaited scent debuts from Elie Saab and Bottega Veneta.

Le Parfum (HK$650 for 50ml) is a faithful translation of Lebanese designer Saab's couture style into a fragrance. Orange blossom blended with luminous aldehydes, jasmine, cedarwood, patchouli and rose honey create a sophisticated and polished scent.

Bottega Veneta's (HK$765 for 50ml) first foray into fragrance takes its inspiration from the work of the leather craftsman in the brand's hometown of Venice. It's shot through with bergamot, patchouli and oakmoss, while jasmine adds sensuality. Pink peppercorns give a spicy hit to the scent.

Dove calls it a 'classic chypre that captures the classic tailored quality you think of when you think of couture brands like Bottega Veneta'. Expect a cult following.

Miuccia Prada takes the Prada fragrance franchise to a new audience with the launch of Candy (HK$765 for 50ml, available next month). With a heady blend of musks, benzoin and caramel, it is a warm, powdery scent with a distinctive pop of vanilla.

'It's a bold fragrance,' Creecy says of Candy, which was created with perfumers at Givaudan. 'But the high concentration and quality of the ingredients cuts through the sweet notes. The brand wanted to highlight the craft of perfumery as well as appealing to a new Prada generation.'

Valentino has a new perfume licence partnership with Spanish beauty giant Puig and a new creative direction. Restyled and updated by creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, Valentino's looks combine chiffon and black leather with metal studs and cashmere, and the scent followed similar sublime lines. Valentina, due to launch in Hong Kong next year, is irreverent and floral, mixing Calabrian bergamot, white Alba truffle, Amalfi orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose and wild strawberry with an amber kick.

'Fashion houses go back into their archives for inspiration, and the same thing is happening in perfumery,' Creecy explains.

Chanel has reworked its classic No 19 with this concept in mind. It has been reinvented as No19 Poudr? (HK$750 for 50ml, available this month), a clean fragrance with an overdose of iris, which creates the powdery signature. In a nod to the original, it keeps the fresh green element, with notes of mandarin, neroli, tonka bean and white musk.

'The rework of No 19 is truly a classic,' Dove says. 'It was highly original when it was made but the structure was a little old fashioned for some. The addition of iris keeps it current yet classical.'

Next year sees new creations from Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta and Emmanuel Ungaro, to name but a few.

As Coco Chanel once said: 'A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future.' Ladies, it's time to get spritzing.