By Deborah Fulsang First impression: Plush and breezy with a…
Sparkle, shine, glow: Solar perfumes are the latest fragrance trend to channel the carefree sexiness of summer.
If you’re anything like us, you grew up in the ’80s, crimped your hair into a dandelion pouf, adorned your wrists in stretchy neon-yellow bracelets, sang Like a Virgin at the top of your lungs and felt like life only got started when school broke for summer. It certainly explains why we equate the smell of sunshine with Hawaiian Tropic, lemon juice and the cool, fresh comfort of Noxema being swiped across our nose.
Back then, our Walking on Sunshine state of mind was enhanced by the rich, warm and sunny scents of Giorgio by Beverly Hills’ Giorgio, The Body Shop’s Dewberry and Hermes’ Parfum d’Hermes. And while each was unique as a floral, fruity or chypre elixir, they all managed to emotionally whisk us off to a happier place.
Since then, we’ve put away the tanning oils, SunIn and aluminum-foil sun reflectors. We’ve grown up, so to speak. And yet, we’re still craving the carefree, anything-is-possible mentality of our youth. And it could be that fashion designers such as Dries Van Noten, Derek Lam and Sonia Rykiel are too, given how they dropped pops of yellow, gold and sparkle into their Spring/Summer 2016 runway collections. That sunshiney happy fix is surely the rationale behind cheerful banana and lemon hues being lacquered across walls and nails faster than you can say Sherwin-Williams Funky Yellow and OPI Towel Me About It. And why warm, sensual, brilliant floral, citrus, gourmand and amber notes are being poured into fragrance with abandon.
Solar perfumes: An introduction
Sunny scents are nothing new however, although their descriptor as being solar perfumes is a mere decade old. The term was coined by Narciso Rodriguez with For Her in 2004 and was recast by Thierry Mugler as sunessence in Alien Sunessence in 2011.
Brands such as, Worth, Nina Ricci and Guy Laroche had set the stage with Je Reviens in 1932, L’Air du Temps in 1948 and Fidgi in 1966, while heavy weights like Donna Karan and Estée Lauder perpetuated the solar essence with Gold and Bronze Goddess in 2006 and 2008, respectively. And while every juice is mix-mastered into its own creation, most of these sunny elixirs are replete with amber, the perfume ingredient that evokes a luminous, heady, sunshine quality.
“Amber is extremely impactful with infinite possibilities of combinations,” affirms Sylvain Delacourte, the director of fragrance evaluation and development for Guerlain. “It is warm and sensual. When combined with [other notes] it will achieve a fresh scent such as [in] L’Instant de Guerlain or Shalimar, or [be experienced] as a spicy and woody quality such as [in] Bois D’Armenie, or be mysterious and powerful as in Ambre Eternel and Santal Royale. As the combinations are infinite, amber will always be relevant in perfumery.”
White flowers such as tiare, jasmine and tuberose and gourmand notes the likes of coconut, caramel and cashmere are also aligned with this bright and euphoric sensation. They “give the fragrance depth and makes it more gourmet,” says Delacourte. “Once flowers are added it can be argued that the scent is more feminine.”
Today’s sunshine-inspired perfume picks
The latest solar scents meet our desire for sunny, carefree days. Michael Kors’ use of tuberose, orange blossom and jasmine with fruit, wood, musk and amber in its new Coral fragrance creates a juicy, sparkling eau. Calvin Klein’s infusion of sea salt, sage and herbs with lime, cedar and amber in Eternity for Men Summer 2016, offer a fresh and aromatic version on the solar character. And Giorgio Armani’s inclusion of tangy bergamot with earthy iris and a bouquet of yellow and white flowers with intoxicating vanilla in its new Sun di Gioia become a milky, soothing, sun-fuelled elixir. All are worth spritzing.
After all, the sunshine and these soleil-inspired scents “appeal to a broader population of people who love extremely prominent perfumes with incredible tenacity,” says Delacourte.
Michael Kors Coral Limited Edition $125 (100 ml), www.michaelkors.com.
Nest Citrine, $78 (50 ml), www.sephora.com.
Calvin Klein Eternity for Men Summer 2016, $89 (100 ml), www.thebay.com.
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, $350 (100 ml), www.holtrenfrew.com.
Giorgio Armani Sun di Gioia, $95 (50 ml), www.sephora.com.