“There is always an emotional element to everything that I make, especially when it comes to creating fragrances. There has to be. Fragrance after all, is all about emotions.” – Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta was an icon in the world of fashion and fashion design who passed away in 2014, aged 82. We mourn the loss.
But, fortunately, the brand lives on.
The de la Renta label has just released Extraordinary, a new fragrance that pays homage to the word “extraordinary.” It’s a word the designer loved to use to describe things of quality that he appreciated, and especially as the ultimate compliment to a woman. There is a bit of true “Oscar” in this fragrance because as I understand it, the designer played a role in conceptualizing the fragrance and the packaging.
The popular view of couture designers is that their customers are usually mature, affluent, sophisticated women, but Extraordinary, like many new fragrances from venerable designers and perfume houses,is skewed to a younger consumer in her 20’s to 30’s. These younger woman want lighter fragrances that are user-friendly but still feel special.
Extraordinary starts with a big burst of fruit (we smelled cherries) on the top, florals in the middle, and not too heavy on the sensual or spicy notes in the bottom. The top notes include sparkling lush neroli and dewy cherry blossom; the heart has peony, rose, magnolia; and the base has blond wood, warm amber resin and rich vanilla orchid. What our tester identified the most was cherry at first, then vanilla, and a few woody notes. The florals stand back a bit, although in other Oscar de la Renta scents, they might take center stage.
The flacon is exceptional (“extraordinary” if you will) in a heavy clear glass with a fluted design that looks luxurious and feels satisfying to hold and spray. To my eye it looked like a beautiful fluted shell or a leaf, but it could represent a lot of “extraordinary” things as well.
The hot pink and gold outer carton, hardly the kind of uber-elegant fare one might associate with a more mature “Oscar” customer, but this, plus the light pink juice of the fragrance ( The juice was created by perfumers Pascal Gaurin and Bruno Jovanovic of IFF), make it clear that Extraordinary is meant to be “modern & fresh” and the audience for this fragrance doesn’t want to copy her older siblings or her mother’s tastes.
That said, the actual fragrance isn’t really sweet or cute, and it’s more complex than the usual fruity floral, so women over 30 will find it satisfying and modern. I see this as a special or “date night” fragrance for a younger woman. I see it as something she might get to celebrate prom, or maybe because she is going to be a bridesmaid and needs something special for that special day (for a young bride, as well). For someone a bit older, it would be a fabulous warmer weather everyday treat (and perfect for Mother’s Day gifting).
Extraordinary is priced $92 for a 90-ml. eau de parfum, $58 for a 40-ml. size and $22 for a rollerball and lip balm duo. You can find this at fine department stores including Macy’s and Lord & Taylor and online. Learn more on the Oscar de la Renta Web Site