The snow may be falling (yet again) here in Manhattan, but jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth—known for her use of colorful stones like lapis, onyx, and fire opals—wants Barneys’ shoppers to have a beach day…every day. The third installment in the Barneys New York Designer Fragrance Collection, Neuwirth’s namesake fragrance, developed by perfumer Ralf Schwieger, “smells like what my jewelry would smell like if it had a scent,” the L.A.-based designer told actress and friend, Busy Philipps, in the video interview above. A blend of neroli, orange blossom, jasmine sambac, rose, vanilla, musk, and coconut, this eau also boasts a hint of saltiness—the final composition resembling a luxe and sophisticated version of Coppertone (a favorite aroma of Neuwirth’s, according to WWD). Another beloved note that didn’t make it into this sleek but weighty bottle: banana. “When I was 14 years old, I went to Paris with my dad and my sister and drove them absolutely crazy, running around looking for banana-flavored perfume,” said Neuwirth. Philipps response: “Why?!” Not distinctly Parisian, it just happened to be the designer’s preferred scent at the time. Her tastes may have evolved since that initial sensorial adventure, but the end result stays true to her Southern California roots.
Creative director of Carven, Guillaume Henry, breathed new life into the storied house beginning in 2009 and put a fresh olfactory stamp on the brand by launching Le Parfum in 2013—the label’s first fragrance in sixty-seven years. The company waited nearly a millisecond in comparison to its last stretch between scents, as the follow-up, L’Eau de Toilette, is set to launch exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue in March. Described as “different from the original, but not in opposition,” the spring-y blend contains three of the same key notes: sweet pea, white hyacinth, and sandalwood (with sweet pea now being used at the top and white hyacinth at the heart). Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian imagined the eau “like a lightweight piece of clothing…as easy to wear as Le Parfum but made of a different fabric, probably more airy.” He replaced mandarin blossom with transparent lemon and peony notes; swapped jasmine and ylang ylang for soft freesia and wisteria; and reworked the woody base to include white musk and amber for a more delicate dry down. The signature color scheme inspired by Madame Carven’s Ma Griffe striped gown also remains intact, but is used in reverse when compared with the previous scent (featuring a white box and pistachio-colored juice). Model Brynja Jónbjarnardóttir will continue to serve as the face, adding yet another familiar aspect to the fragrance. Change is never easy, but imagine this bright and elegant blend like your go-to dress from seasons past: Take it to the tailor, make a few choice alterations, and it suddenly feels brand new and better than ever.
The house of Ermenegildo Zegna has always sourced the finest of materials for its sumptuous suiting, and the label’s Essenze fragrance collection (launched a little over a year ago) is no different. Each eau celebrates an ingredient derived from the company’s private crops around the world. The newest addition to the collection of colognes (out this month), Haitian Vetiver, stars the fragrant grass hailing from a single plot in Les Cayes, a seaport town located in the southwestern region of the Caribbean island. After the vetiver is meticulously harvested, its woody-scented oil is extracted from the roots via steam distillation before being threaded with notes of bergamot (grown in the brand’s orchards in Calabria), neroli, carrot seed, and orris. Wearing the final composition feels like wrapping yourself in a cashmere camel jacket (seen on the Fall 2014 runway): comfortable, luxurious, but not too over the top.
Chloé’s spunky sister brand, See by Chloé, launched its own fragrance approximately a year ago this month. The follow-up to this release was an innovative paint-on version of the original scent, which made its debut in late August. And created for sundress weather (if it ever arrives) is Eau Fraîche—meant to mimic a walk through a French garden. Designed by perfumer Michel Almairac, the latest addition to the family blends water hyacinth and vetiver with the classic apple-blossom heart. The result is a light, feminine floral that pairs well with an airy apron frock and crisp white shorts—both of which can be found in the label’s Spring 2014 collection. A spritz isn’t exactly the same as a stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, but an American girl can at least dream (and smell) of Paris.
Just in time for the season of love, where heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, cellophane balloons, teddy bears, and red roses abound, a more timeless gift arrives care of two French companies: Diptyque and Macon & Lesquoy. The fragrance company partnered with the design duo known for their hand-embroidered, military-style pins and accessories to craft this limited-edition broche à parfumer. Comprised of cannetille on felt, the pink bloom features a tear-shaped ceramic charm designed to hold the brand’s Eau Rose toilette (or any other scent of your choice). When spritzed with perfume, you can rely on the dangling dropper to preserve the aroma and help it stand the test of time—which is more than can be said for your standard bouquet or, for that matter, most relationships.