Friday, April 17, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Spring Florals: The One & D&G Femine Reviews

I’ve held a grudge against the perfume division of Dolce&Gabbana’s glitzy empire ever since my beloved By Woman was discontinued. With their designs, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have always challenged our preconceived notions about fashion, blurring the borders between what is vulgar and chic, over-the-top and demure. Their clothes have always been distinguished by a raw, unapologetic sexiness, where corsets rule supreme, party dresses become weapons of seduction and whips are never unlikely props. By Woman was the essence of all that, bottled and ready to use. From the scent itself to the bottle, this perfume was nothing less than the signature of the amazing house. Nothing that came before or after has managed to even come close to capturing the essence of Dolce & Gabbana’s designs or the feel of their advertizing campaigns. So I ignored most everything petulantly after a little sniff, ever looking for that sense of lost glamour and kittenish sex-appeal.

But it turns out that right there under my nose, were not one, but two excellent florals that I’ve been snubbing: The One and D&G Feminine. No, they will not engage the mind in provocative fantasies reminiscent of any Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, nor do they embody the spirit of the brand. And no, when it comes to majestic florals, these ain’t the precocious, grand canvases painted by Lutens, nor are they exceptional harvest blooms. But what they are is something equally worthy of a space in a scent wardrobe: They are perfectly wearable, very well crafted spring florals that give a sense of rejoicing in good weather and have the ability to lift the wearer’s sprits with their cheerfulness. Aside from being utterly wearable florals for spring, their other most outstanding feature is their sense of effortless, charming prettiness, which seems to serve to underscore the femininity of the wearer.

The One: Released in 2006, this has quickly become a bestseller here in Europe. It is a musky floral, which puts lily on center stage. I have a difficult relationship with lily in perfume (and admittedly there are many varieties, many of which completely scentless): it can either go very right or very wrong. The One manages to get it right for me. The opening is slightly green, featuring beautifully sweet, jammy citrus top notes. Peach aldehydes lend a smooth creamy texture to the transition from the sparkling top to the floral heart. If there is any jasmine in the blend, I cannot smell it; my nose instead focuses on the beautiful combination of lily and lily of the valley, tinged with accents of green. Lush and juicy, the heart notes evoke not just the flowers, but also the scent of thick, sappy flower stems cut at a florist’s. There is an aqueous freshness there, a glossy coolness that unfailingly brings the ritual of cutting stems and preparing them for a vase filled with cold water to my mind every time I wear this. The drydown is honeyed and warm, giving me the same sense of flower honey over musks that Boudoir does, despite the fact that the two smell very different. Despite the warmth, The One retains a clean, sometimes even sudsy profile from start to finish. Its slightly soapy nature means feminine appeal is combined with a completely untarnished image. As such, this is an excellent daytime scent that is safe enough for the office but playful enough to make one feel sexy in a sundress for a stroll in the park. I adore the 6ml EdP roll-on pen, which is lightweight enough to carry in a purse or clutch for touchups!

D&G Feminine: It is strange indeed that the youth orientated D&G Feminine would turn out to be the raunchy alternative to The One’s sanitized femininity. Feminine can come across as innocent at first, but it doesn’t take long before its sexually charged character shows through. Seemingly devoid (to my nose at least) of discernible top notes, Feminine throws the wearer into its deep floral heart with a giggle. It is an extravagant spring bouquet of white and mauve hues, combining fragrant wisteria, purple lilac, hyacinths, heliotrope and mimosa. The indolic character of the hyacinths and the lilac make this otherwise very romantic bouquet roar with pure animal lust. Despite their bad rep as passion-killers, as we well know powdery notes can also be very sensual, and this is exactly the role they assume here: soft, powdery mimosa and gentle, almondy heliotrope place the indolic notes well within the context of the boudoir. This one lasts and lasts on me, in fact I can often trace a faint whiff of it the next morning after having worn it the night before. It gets muskier and deeper in the drydown and the floral bouquet becomes all the more abstract, but its character remains intact for many, many hours. Gorgeous for a night out, ideally worn with a backless dress. Mmm…

Images: Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign, Flickr by Scott Robinson and Mrs. Gemstone


Ines said...

Now that you mentioned D&G, it is strange but after trying long ago Light blue and the original D&G for women which both I didn't like, I never tried anything else after. Now, I'll have to sniff those, they sound interesting. :)

P.S. I tried the Sisleys and I like very much no. 1 and 2 (although I prefer the 2) but you were right, 3 smells very much like Eau turquiose which I can't stand.

Linda said...

Dearest Divina,
I'm going to re-explore these: I have some body lotion in "The One" and I'm going to use it this evening. It has been a beautiful afternoon here and our lilac bush in the garden is smelling lovely. Spring is really here now and bringing good cheer to us. I hope that the weather is sunny where you live, too. Evenings outside drinking cold white wine?

Divina said...

Hi Ines! Do try them, I think they are really good for this beautiful weather that is neither too warm nor cold. I am thinking very seriously of springing for a bottle for Feminine for myself. It reminds me of Easter in Greece, with all the lilac and beautiful floral smells.

Divina said...

Oh Linda, dear, you are so lucky to have lilac in your garden! I grew up with the most glorious bush covering our fence in my paternal home's garden. I miss it so much. Here ever lilac bush I've encountered is scentless or just about scentless. What a travesty. Feminine needs a light-hand when applying cause like most italian scents it can get merciless when overapplyed :) A spritz on both inner elbows though, and I have the marvelous sense of spring floating around me all day. How gorgeous.

Flora said...

My extreme dislike for Light Blue made me biased against this house for a long time - however, The One did win me over and I really like it. Must try Feminine soon, it sounds like something that would really get along with my skin.