Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle, a most elegant cookie

Dries van Noten & Frederic Malle
A designer perfume usually describes a fragrance created for and marketed by a fashion or beauty label. And while fashion and perfume are natural best friends, far more thought and effort seems to go to design the former and not much creativity is then left for the latter. Often the perfume feels like just an afterthought and a nice little money spinner. 
Hence the arrival of the niche perfume, small perfume houses creating nothing but fragrances in collaboration with independent perfumeurs who are given  freedom of creation without having to appeal to the mass market. But nothing is ever black and white. There are fashion label who produce perfumes that could be described niche just for the fact that they are distributed in the genre typical way of relative exclusivity. Maison Martin Margiela, for example. Others, like Etro or Comme de Garcons have enough of an "edgy" image to allow perfume creations that have been quite extraordinary. 
But when a niche perfume house releases a scent named after a fashion designer all these classifications are turned upside down. Or are they? For this perfume Frederic Malle acted as an intermediate between the perfumeur Bruno Jovanovic and the Belgian fashion designer Dries van Noten to create a scent that would be his olfactory version of the world of Dries van Noten. The ultimate bespoke perfume. You cannot get more 'niche' then that.

My visual interpretation of Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle

I don't know whether the scent is a true representation of him as a person, I only know his magnificent collections, and as important those might have been for the style of the perfume, I doubt that DvN (the man) can be described by them alone. The first sniff of DvN (the perfume) is a surprise. It has a slight fizz to it, in German I would say:"Es bizzelt." And that brings always brings a smile on my face. And very soon that fades and develops into something incredibly soft and smooth, like custard cream, silky panna cotta and the softest buttery biscuit. This sweetness is again unexpected but very pleasant. There is a lot of sandalwood and patchouli to ground it, and for me it stays elegant throughout. An elegant cookie, who would have thought? I usually don't like gourmand scents too much, but this is different, probably not even a real gourmand, and simply delicious. It's perfectly unisex, but I think the softness/elegant juxtaposition will work to better effect on a man and on the Right one this will be incredibly sexy AND comforting, irresistible AND reliable. Dries van Noten is only the first of a new series of scents dedicated to special people that Frederic Malle will curate over time and I am very curious about who he will pick next.

How and where to wear:
Propose in style

Image of DvN & FM via

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