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“Working with her has made me a better perfumer,” says Stephen Nilsen, on his collaboration with Madonna—the musician, entertainer and business woman—in creating Truth Or Dare, the star’s debut fragrance. “She has the wisdom and confidence to trust her own creative instincts: to take this out, that out. She has a designer’s sensibility in her creativity and attention to detail.”
And true to her provocative past, Madonna’s perfume surprises.
Where one might have expected an overtly sexy oriental, Nilsen mixed a sophisticated and feminine toilette centred on gardenia and tuberose inspired by Madonna’s perfume memories of her mother. To counter those heady white flowers: a sultry combination of benzoin, vanilla, carmelized amber and skin-like musk. “The musk note smoothes out the details and adds a great sensuality to the fragrance,” Nilsen says.
The bottle also epitomizes the signature dichotomy of Madonna: legendary designer Fabien Baron tweaked a classic flacon form with a flashy, Like A Virgin-style gold cap as well as a glossy white lacquer coating that is detailed with sleek beading. It’s cool and contemporary, elegant with a smidgen of edge.
Truth Or Dare is a floral for even non-floral lovers. And like Madonna’s music, the scent—like the bottle and the Truth or Dare commercial, which features the undeniably sexy, age-defying, black-lingerie-clad star, appeals to all generations. “It embodies everything about her,” says Nilsen. “It’s feminine, bold and iconic.”