Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Signature by Donna Karan : Perfume Review

In my mind, I’ve saved the best for last, although surprisingly, this is the only one of the Donna Karan Essence Collection (including Fuel) that has not yet received any “air time” so far on perfume journals and blogs. Launched in 1992 as simply “Donna Karan” and now re-introduced under the new moniker “Signature”, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking this might be Donna’s personal favorite, not only because of the name, but also because of the celebration this scent makes of the designer’s favorite flower, the Casablanca Lilly. That honor however goes to Essence Lavender, another Donna Karan Essence Collection scent that although never discontinued, had, until now, been semi-exclusive.

Of all the newly re-launched perfumes in the collection, this is the one I would most like to possess. And there is certainly a dichotomy here between the one I most admire and the one I love most: my admiration would have to be reserved for the one that’s most unique, and that would undoubtedly be Black Cashmere, surprising now as it was back then, peculiarly new and cutting edge, ahead of its time, still. My heart however belongs to Signature, a child of its time that is delightfully out of place now in today’s market. Signature is a thick, baroque fragrance that carries the mark of its era in its deep, experienced laughing lines and makes my heart flutter with joy by reminding me exactly how fragrances used to be back then, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. It smells crassly, thoroughly and unabashedly Italian and brings to mind other masterpieces of the same era, like the glitzy, opulent (and of course discontinued), Fendi’s Asja with which it shares the very same over the top feel, despite the fact that it doesn’t share Asja’s spicy oriental theme. Another comparison I can’t help but make, is with Beautiful (the original, not the shadow of the exceptional floral it has become in the last decade…), with which it shares a beautiful oakmossy-resinous accord in the drydown.

Signature opens with the bittersweet delight of sparkling, aldehydic fruit notes: peach and creamy, lovely apricot adorned with a shining bergamot twist. A beautiful, at once leafy and grassy green accord, balances the fruit and restrains the perfume, keeping it on the side of elegance despite its flamboyance. The heart notes reveal an exuberant alliance between a gorgeous orange blossom note and lilies, which becomes deeper and sultrier as time goes by. The sex-appeal of this perfume is no doubt helped along by the addition of hypnotic ylang ylang and slightly sharp, indolic jasmine. Behind it all, there is a beautiful earthy greenness that I find absolutely irresistible and addictive. I have not been able to find mention of the note anywhere, but whether it is just my perception or not, I have to tell you, that to me Signature feels like it is drenched in oakmoss, a feeling that becomes especially prevalent as the captivatingly strong floral notes start subsiding, or if you will, opening up, to let the base notes show through. Together with the sticky, sensual resin and patchouli of the basenotes, the combination becomes inexorably fascinating, especially for those of us who long for the prototypical chypre structure we’re so depraved of. The patchouli in question is slightly minty and lends a smidgen of freshness to the sueded notes that so smoothly manifest from the leathery aspects of ylang in the heart notes, into the deeper suede of the basenotes. Time renders the perfume slightly sweeter, despite the fact that it retains its sticky, restraining green note to the very end. The drydown is woody, musky-sweet and perfectly inviting. This is exactly the type of perfume that will do best at night, with a bolder lipstick and chunky accents of gold. There is another side to it too, however: the side that will function as the ultra-feminine, sexy touch when dressed in knits, cardigans and flats. It’ll be the mischievous twinkle in the eye.

The Signature, as well as Chaos, Wenge and Lavender scents also come in luxurious, stylish black candles that burn for approximate 45 hours.

Images: Flickr by valeyoshino, www.producepedia and www.


The Daily Connoisseur said...

Signature sounds lovely... and I can't help but fawn over those Christian Louboutins!

Divina said...

Daily, I knoooww! Louboutin, Roger Vivier and Giuseppe Zanotti/Vicini are this shoehollic's favorite shoes!!! Despite all the media attention on Manolo's I've never actually managed to fall in love with them... And that's saying a lot, considering how obsessed I am!

From these three by the way, Zanotti is probably my favorite. Pure genious. Can't beat Vivier for feathers and general special occasion extravagance nor Louboutin for va-va-voom sex-appeal, but hell, Zanotti is an all rounder who is timeless and keeps producing stunning designs. His shoes are the ones I most often see copied by the high street season after season. He has given us so much!! Waaah, I am in luuuuurrve!!