Alaïa Parfum: beauty made absolute

Beloved by supermodels of the ’90s (when women on catwalks were allowed to have hips and a cleavage – imagine!) and va-va-voom vixens the world over; one of the most iconic fashion designers celebrating truly feminine beauty throughout the ages has always been Azzedine Alaïa.
Seeking to bottle his inspiration in the form of an Alaïa Parfum – he knew that he must search for a very special ‘nose’ who, more than simply understanding his concept, had the innate skill to make the beauty become absolute – the same process of turning an original sketch into a stunning gown.
Alaïa Paris explain that during his quest to find the right perfumer, he heard of ‘…a young woman perfumer, Marie Salamagne, from the new generation of Firmenich perfumers. Bold, determined and enthusiastic, as soon as she heard of Mr Alaïa’s brief (the smell of cold water falling on hot chalk), she immediately started searching. ‘Very quickly,’ she says, ‘I came up with a formula that evoked this feeling: they were fresh, aquatic mineral notes; I created this accord by progressive essays, in less than one day. Then, I had the intuition that it needed to be mixed… in a less innocent way, and I added an animal note by surrounding it with musk.’
Among many projects submitted to Alaïa, only that of Marie caught his interest. ‘The accord requested by Monsieur Alaïa,’ Marie Salamagne states today ‘is a true oddity, it has nothing to do with what is currently offered.’

A fresh impression: airy notes and pink pepper

A floral impression: freesia and peony

A bare skin impression: animal notes and musk.

At The Perfume Society, we have a particular penchant for fragrance campaigns that dare to be cute, and this cartoon style video really manages to showcase the perfume perfectly!

The bottle itself is a head-turner, too – totally appropriate the Alaïa ethos, having been conceived by talented designer Martin Szekely who said he wished it to become… ‘a fetish object dedicated to women.’ Szekely created a body of heavy translucent black glass ‘half-way between a meteorite and a polished pebble’ adorned on both sides with the famous Alaïa laser-cut pattern – an emblematic pattern which first appeared on one of the leather corsets in the 1990s. In contrast to the bottle, the cap pays homage to Alaïa’s pure craftsmanship – a spool of thread made of zamak and pink gold. Even the outer packaging has been delicately framed with black and carries the Alaïa nude – an intense pinky beige that evokes the skin – one of the creator’s ‘fetish colours’.

We think the overall impression is of a dusky violet haze – womanly, knowing, sophisticated but still with a definite sense of fun. The dry down on the skin is particularly beautiful – a harmony of soft musks that gently billow into the warm breeze of a Summer’s evening. It’s certainly suitable for wearing throughout the day, and for those of us who enjoy something a little more nuanced than a spritz of something simply citrus or a linear floral. To be worn with a wiggle of the hips and a knowing smile…

Alaïa Parfum from £42 for 30ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale

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