From the Middle East and coffee to men’s colognes, cardamom…
We’re peddling petals this season by embracing floral perfumes for spring. Groundbreaking, we know. But thank God.
Floral perfumes are not novel. Every spring, fashion designers, bigwig cosmetics brands and indie perfume houses pick, artfully arrange and deliver the latest bouquets for our consumption. And God bless them. After a season filled with layers of wool and flannel, hours of cold and darkness and décolletages scented with deep, dark and heady parfums, we’re all craving a light and fresh new start.
While botanical perfume oils are said to have been worn by Cleopatra and biblical heroines, it’s fashionably safe to say our modern understanding of flowery eaus begins with Chanel’s elegant No.5 in 1921, Jean Patou’s luscious Joy in 1929 and Rochas’ rich Femme in 1943. Favouring blends of rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine, these now classics paved the way for future incarnations making no bloom off limits. Since then, bottles have been brimming with everything from iris, lily of the valley and tuberose to tiari, lotus blossom and hyacinth. And this year, designers took this floral diversity to the runways and to heart.
Flowers: powerful on the runways and in the bottles
The spring 2016 runways showcased a diverse approach to flowery womanliness, making floral-fresh looks de rigueur. From Prada and Christian Dior’s vintage appliqued blooms to Dolce & Gabbana and Restless Sleeper’s larger-than-life silk blossoms, to Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta’s bold red poppy and carnation prints, designers left no petal unturned. Naturally, perfumes follow suit.
Depending on the supplementary notes swirled into each floral elixir, like their fashion counterparts, these floral perfumes have been created to appeal to a range of tastes. Now, it’s as easy to smell fresh-green or fruity-sweet as it is lush and heady.
Gucci Bamboo combines warm sandalwood, vanilla and amber with ylang-ylang, lily and orange blossom for a confident and feminine bouquet.
Michael Kors Sexy Sunset pairs lush exotic fruit and sultry woody notes with an alluring bouquet of peony, gardenia, rose, magnolia and jasmine for a seductive spritz.
Chloe Love Story Eau de Toilette is sparkling and romantic, mix-mastering dewy and peppery notes into plum blossom, nasturcia and orange blossom.
Donna Karan Liquid Cashmere White is decadent and rich with black currant absolut, musk, vanilla bean and sandalwood stirred into wild rose, osmanthus and ylang heart.
And that’s not all.
Flowery notes such as orange blossom, violet and orris root have been longtime favourites in men’s perfumery. Think of Dolce & Gabbana The One Eau de Parfum, Shiseido Zen and Gucci Homme. We have their damp, earthy appeal to thank for that.
But more opulent blooms like rose, jasmine and gardenia have also been stirred into men’s fragrances for decades, we just didn’t talk about it. Thankfully things have changed.
With the proliferation of metrosexual men and their beard wax, boy-band hair and skinny jeans, perfume houses have stopped hiding floral notes behind incense, wood and spice, allowing them to be displayed in bold text, front and centre on the packaging. Now, new blends like Ermenegildo Zegna’s neroli and jasmine-infused Mediterranean Neroli and CLEAN Reserve’s orange blossom and honeysuckle-steeped Skin proudly boast their blooms. And while they have been crafted for and are attractive to men, women are also taking notice, planting these bottles into their fragrant repertoires too.
New floral perfumes to try for spring:
Donna Karan Liquid Cashmere White, $102 (50 ml) www.thebay.com
Ermenegildo Zegna Mediterranean Neroli, $220 (125 ml) www.holtrenfrew.com
CLEAN Reserve Skin, $125 (100 ml) www.sephora.ca
Gucci Bamboo, $109 (50 ml) www.thebay.com
Michael Kors Sexy Sunset, $107 (100 ml) www.thebay.com
Chloe Love Story Eau de Toilette, $90 (50 ml) www.sephora.ca