Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flora by Gucci : Perfume Review

There’s some incongruence here, something I cannot quite wrap my head around: Frida Gianini, Gucci’s absolutely brilliant creative director, has been diving into the archives of the prestigious house and has revived Flora for this season, an iconic print originally exclusively designed for a scarf for Princess Grace of Monaco. The Flora pattern has been revived for S-S ’09 and now once again graces accessories and ready-to-wear luxurious garments. The pattern itself and its honored, royalty-tinged past served as inspiration for the newest Gucci fragrance, Flora. At the same time however, the house has made it no secret that Flora (the fragrance) is very much intended for a younger demographic, that is, a customer younger than the one who would go for Gucci by Gucci (which is excellent, by the way), the only other fragrance that has so far been released during the tenure of Gianini as creative director.


I mean, does that younger demographic actually know who Princess Grace was? Why go into all the trouble of connecting the perfume to the beautiful, graceful and utterly elegant Grace Kelly if you are going to try to market it to a group that likely can’t even evoke an image of the woman without resorting to Google first? Because at least here in Northern Europe Gucci by Gucci (a musky composition very much in the spirit of Narcisso Rodriguez for Her) is extremely popular with women in their 20’s. How much younger can you go?

Moving on to the fragrance itself however, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by Flora. Having been introduced to it through magazines like Vogue and Elle where I originally learned about the intention to appeal to a younger crowd, I was actually expecting a vacuous fruity-floral like so many others (yes, go ahead and blame the various ad copies for conditioning me to associate the word young with boring when it comes to perfume). In reality, Flora surprised me by actually being a light, subtle, sophisticated floral with fruity top-notes.

The opening is my least favorite part of Flora: a mixture that is at once refreshing and musty/dusty with an undertone of a particular type of funk that shall remain unnamed, the most salient notes are yuzu citrus and pink pepper. Then… SURPRISE! Fifteen minutes later Flora transforms to something I am very intimately acquainted with: the twin of Laura by Laura Biagiotti, a fragrance I wore to death as a teenager. It unashamedly comes complete even with the slight aquatic feel of Laura, which March of the Perfume Posse also noted. Amusingly, even the image I chose to accompany my review of Laura actually fits the modern Flora commercial to a T (See image to the right and click to view the video below).

Although I describe them as twins (I am wearing the two as I write this and they are indeed extremely close) there are differences: Yes, both of these abstract florals are feminine, romantic and elegant. However Flora is not only missing a certain edge Laura has that sets it apart, it also misses the particular, extraordinarily addictive musk Laura makes such excellent use of. Importantly, lasting power is also lacking: while Laura keeps evolving, remaining strong and powerful, Flora quietly falls apart after a while, leaving but a transparent film on the skin. Both are good feminine scents, but if you want the real deal, stick with Laura.

Image of girl with dress made of flowers


Ines said...

Hmmm, I'll have to try this one more time. I only sniffed it on a piece of fabric (they were giving them to customers) and I didn't like it one bit (sth strange in the beginning) so I never even sprayed it to see if it's better in real life and after some time...

P.S. I do like Gucci enough to own a bottle. :)

Anonymous said...

My husband and son came back with this a week ago for my birthday. I am actually really enjoying it, although I do know what you mean about the funk. It's a good thing it goes away after a while! (the funk, not the perfume)


PinstripedZebra said...

This is a nice scent in my book.

The connection to Laura is immediately obvious to me but I have to agree with you completely, Laura has the edge over Flora.


Divina said...

Ines, yes, as I mentioned in the post there is indeed a tragically strange thing in the opening ... I refer to it as funk in the post and I don't even want to start describing what it smells like. Give it some time on the skin though. If you can get over the opening it calms down to a romantic floral scent.

Divina said...

Christine, I am glad it works for you! Also glad to have 2 people confirm the 'funk'. Glad to not be the only one who detects it :P

Divina said...

Z, well I am emotionally attached to Laura as you know :) But Flora ain't bad at all.