A few years ago I read The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr (the perfume critic for the New York Times), and became enchanted with the process of creating fragrances. Last week, during Fall 2009 Fashion Week, I had a chance to visit the Givaudan midtown office, and hear from Claude Dir, Givaudan’s international master perfumer, about how Elizabeth Arden’s newest scent, “PRETTY” was crafted.
Pretty began, like most fragrances do, with a story and concept. As Geri Archer, Vice President Global Fragrance Marketing at Elizabeth Arden explains: “We all watched our mom getting ready to go out and even today we can still remember the perfume she wore.” (How true! ) So, Claude was inspired by the feeling of a woman getting dressed to go out who is feminine, confident and flirty. When she looks at herself in the mirror, she realizes at that moment that she looks…pretty! Claude’s task is to capture the feeling (pink, feminine, flirty, the ritual of getting ready to go out) in a bottle. However, this scent isn’t just a romanticised memory of mom’s scent wafting through the air as she gets ready to go out, it’s a pretty scent that also has a contemporary edge.
To get to the heart of the matter (pun intended), Pretty’s key notes are as follows:
Top Notes: Italian Mandarin, Orange Blossom, and Peach Nectar
Middle (Heart): Petalia, Star Jasmine, Pink Iris, White Peony
Bottom (DryDown): Fluffy Musk, Jacaranda Wood, Creamy Amber
Claude described why he selected each note for Pretty (called “Project Princess”). He was most excited about a brand new, middle note molecule called “petalia.” It smells fresh and feminine and like flower petals…but you can’t quite put your finger on what flower you are smelling! Petalia enhances all the other floral notes with a “pink, charming” vibe. The well chosen notes evoke different feelings and emotions. For example: in the top notes, orange blossom is a romantic favorite of brides, a soft, sweeet floral that balances the bright citrus and fruity notes in the top of the scent; Star Jasmine in the heart adds a beautiful dimension and works well with the other florals in the middle; creamy amber in the bottom evokes the feeling of love, comfort and happiness and works well with the soft musk and woods in the bottom to make the scent warm and sophisticated.
It was fascinating to hear Claude discuss his thought process and the technique of creating a fragrance. You could tell that he is not only an expert, but that he loves his work. “Fragrance is a living thing” said Claude. TIP: if you want to have your fragrance “live” better on your skin, apply your scent when your skin is a bit moist. Using a body lotion first, for example, will make the scent, stick just a bit better.
Eau de Parfum Spray $62.00 3.3 fl. oz. and $49.00 1.7 fl. oz.
Body Lotion $30.00 6.8 fl. oz.
Body Powder with Puff $37.50 3.4 fl. oz.
Claude graciously posed for a photo with me after the event. My personal feeling about scent is that, like lipsticks, you can’t have too many. A fragrance wardrobe with many choices for each season, each mood, makes every day, special (and enhances it for everyone around you as well). This new, Pretty frgrance is sure to become a runaway hit with consumers looking for an easy to wear fragrance that is right for all seasons, and all reasons. The fruity notes were a treat to my senses, initially, but didn’t stick around for very long (as Claude predicted). The feminine, floral notes are pretty like a light, fresh, Spring bouquet. The warmer, more sensual notes on the bottom arrive without ruining the pretty florals, but they do add that more sophisticated touch that keeps Pretty from becoming just a young girl’s delight. The scent makes me feel upbeat and happy, and ready to dress up and show my best self to the world. I find that I’m choosing it over other scents since I got my own bottle. In a quick summary: Pretty is pretty great!