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Vibrant and uplifting, mandarin perfume is this season’s feel-good trend
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been glued to The Handmaid’s Tale on Bravo. Based on Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, this show about a woman living as a concubine in America under a fundamentalist dictatorship grips our hearts, leaving us breathless as we watch and then, anxiously counting the days until next week’s episode.
We ache for the heroine, Elisabeth Moss’s character Offred. Valued solely for her fertility, she’s been stripped of everything else—her husband and daughter, her independence and career, her privacy and freedom. Given our current global climate, Offred’s struggles often resonate with an oh-my-God-that-could-be-us quality.
Oranges are the only fruit available in Atwood’s post-war and post-environmental-disaster world. Offred is praised when she brings the fruit home. For us the viewers, they are symbolic of Offred’s hope and happiness. If only she could bottle the fruit’s zesty scent and wear its effervescence every day. The effect would be immediate and profound. It’s why perfumers have been experimenting with citrus notes for decades.
Cue the positive vibes with this season’s mandarin perfume
Bright and happy in colour and juicy and tangy in smell, oranges, tangerines and mandarins are renowned for their innately uplifting effect. Their positive vibes create sunny, wearable, upbeat scents, making mandarin a perennial, this season included, fragrance trend.
“Mandarin is relevant again, because people need to feel uplifted, fresh and positive,” affirms Ruth Sutcliffe, the founder of The Scent Guru Group in Greenwich, Connecticut. “We are living in a very difficult, scary time. I personally feel that women’s rights and our equality has taken a step back in time, so any fragrance that can help me feel uplifted, I’ll wear.”
It explains why fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta, Akris, Tory Burch and Givenchy lit their Spring/Summer 2017 runways on fire with pops of the fruit’s orange-red colour in their couture. How decorators are encouraging we paint our walls in its vibrant, red-based-orange Pantone hue, Flame. And why sunny, brilliant, energetic citrus notes are being swirled into this season’s must-spritz fragrances, like CK One’s fresh and tart Summer, Valentino’s sophisticated and smooth Uomo Acqua for men, Tom Ford’s crisp and aromatic Mandarino di Amalfi Acqua and Jo Malone’s refreshing and elegant Lime Basil & Mandarin.
“Some trends are a no-brainer,” says Sutcliffe. “That said, I believe that in order to keep the industry and the consumers inspired and excited, the creators, perfumers and developers have to keep a pulse on what’s happening in the current state of the market and the world, they have to find the right notes that are needed to keep things fresh.”
Enter Offred’s orange — otherwise known in non-TV-land and today’s perfume world as mandarin. Here are the mandarin perfume picks you should shop this season.
Citrus notes mingle with fresh cucumber and lime. A ginger, pepper and saffron heart and musk and woods to help the dry down. CK One Summer, $80 (100 ml), www.thebay.com
Tomato and mandarin mix with patchouli, sage, leather and iris. Valentino Uomo Acqua, $115 (125 ml), http://shop.nordstrom.com
Wildflowers, thyme, mint and citrus mingle in this new fresh, summer scent. Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi Acqua, $240, (100 ml), www.holtrenfrew.com
Bergamot, mandarin and lime give way to a floral and herbaceous heart and vetiver and patchouli. Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin, $165 (100ml), www.holtrenfrew.com
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