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April 24 2014

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Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours Is No Wallflower

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Van Cleef & Arpels

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” wrote Gertrude Stein in her 1913 poem “Sacred Emily.” But in the case of Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Rose Velours, this isn’t your typical, overtly feminine blend. The French label known for its jewels took a less conventional approach when creating a fragrance composed around the sweet and delicate bloom—intending to capture the many facets of the flower throughout the day. “I wanted to create an initiatory perfume that reveals itself gradually on the skin and enhances as the hours go by,” says perfumer Antoine Maisondieu. The top consists of fresh bergamot and violet leaf (meant to embody the morning rays), and leads to a heart of rose absolute, sweet honey, and iris that are reminiscent of an evening mist. It is the masculine base notes that reflect the heat of the setting sun, however, that allows this eau to stand out. Woody notes like benzoin, cedar, and ambroxan make it smell less saccharine and more seductive. I like to think of this fragrance as the sensorial equivalent of Yves Saint Laurent’s velvet Le Smoking—bold and unexpected, yet undeniably sexy.

Available in September at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

Photos: Getty Images; Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

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