I know nothing of couture.
And, to be honest, I’m not bothered that I don’t. I’m fine not knowing. Couldn’t afford it, couldn’t fit in it, find it interesting to look at but not very practical: that all adds up to my don’t-care attitude.
I went looking for images of Denis Durand’s couture frocks when Parfums Micallef so kindly offered me a sample of the fragrance composed with Durand’s sensibility in mind. They’re interesting, at least – often what I’d call over the top, in terms of silhouette or embellishment, and really only wearable when you’d want to make an emphatic statement. “Simply pretty” is not really applicable to any of the ones I saw, though I will say that often the embellishments are luxurious and very feminine – Swarovski crystals, silk ruffles, enormous floppy satin bows.
The flacon offered for this fragrance is beautiful, too, at least in photos. It’s square and blocky, with a blocky rectangular lid, but as the press release says, “Dressed with hand sewn delicate Chantilly black lace, the bottle is adorned with a little satin bow and a golden medal with the initials of the two artists.”
Micallef calls it an oriental, but it seems quite floral to me so I’m going to toss it in the floral-oriental category and be done with it. As for the notes:
Head notes: Ceylon cinnamon, Italian tangerine
Heart notes: Bulgarian rose, orange blossoms, honey and animalis
Base notes: sandalwood, patchouli, amber and white musk
On to the fragrance. Does it smell like this dress?
Um… well, without the slit rising to risque levels, it’s not too far off. It wears closer to the skin than these outrageous dresses would suggest, for one thing. For another, it’s not particularly dark, but it’s not a clean bright floral either. There’s enough of a black-lace quality to the earthy base to suggest evening wear and liaisons over drinks, but the florals are quite lovely. Orange blossom tends to dominate the heart, and despite the Animalis note – which smells something like my fur hat, a delightful hint of really-vintage fragrances – it is relentlessly clean on me, like a bar of scented soap. (But then, I typically get a soapy quality out of orange blossom, so this is nothing unusual.) The opening moments remind me just a bit of Tauer Une Rose Chypree, with the aromatic tangerine and cinnamon, and they might be my favorite part of the fragrance. Not that the rest is dull or badly composed at all – no, it’s lovely. A number of people are getting oud and honey out of this, but I really don’t. There’s nothing about it that smells particularly animalic (the way oud and honey often can) to me, and it’s possible that other reviewers’ “oud” is my “dry wood,” but honey can sometimes go really, um, ladyparts on me, and I am not getting any of that at all.
The drydown is what many oriental-lovers are going to rave about, because it is warm and sensual without being too sweet or too raunchy. It makes me think of Givenchy’s Organza Indecence, though Parfum Couture is a little drier, its patchouli a little more prominent. I smell both sandalwood and a different, drier kind of wood in here (is this what everybody else is calling oud? I’m really only familiar with oud from those Montale rose-oud things, and the By Kilian Arabian things, and those were all much more medicinal), as well as a touch of amber. Lasting power is about average for an edp on me, 4-5 hours, and sillage is also average.
All in all, a very lovely fragrance. It’s available at Lucky Scent in the US.