I remember how when Nina Ricci (and whoever owned the brand back in the 1990s) launched Deci Dela it was followed by a huge ad and marketing campaign in an effort to revive the brand's image and make it relevant to the young consumer. Deci Dela was not the only new product- there was a full line of cosmetics in the same quirky and curvy pink and gold packaging. I didn't own any Nina Ricci perfume at the time but I went in to check out the new stuff. I bought a red lipstick but left Deci Dela on the shelf.
I thought it was hideous.
My tolerance for fruity perfumes has always been low. It's only in recent years after smelling an overwhelming number of perfumes and scented products that I've learned to appreciate some parts of the genre. I'm especially interested in fruity chypres, simply because like all other true oakmoss-based perfumes, they are a dying breed. But I admit I was scared of Deci Dela. In my memory it had the same impossible-to-scrub fruit syrup quality of Ted Lapidus Fantasme ( a traumatizing experience I'm reluctant to relive). But it's been about 16 years from the last time I tried Deci Dela. It was time to revisit.
I can see and smell why this was a real shocking to the system of veteran Nina Ricci customers. There are dainty flowers or elegant doves in this one. Instead, Deci Dela hits you on the head with red fruit, orange fruit, pink fruit... and then their juice. The note list includes several flowers but honestly, the compote drowns them all. I'm a lot more tolerant these days to funky aromas and perfumes that used to send me screaming. Still, the opening of Deci Dela is difficult for me. It's not all bad, it's just so very thick, red and fruity.
I get happier as woods, resins and oakmoss join the party. This is what separates Deci Dela from latter day fruity florals. I guarantee that no one of the yummy generation who wears all forms of vanilla-apricot scents would ever consider this Nina Ricci perfume youthful or acceptable. It has such a chypre-like streak that would actually make it smell "dated" for many. Of course, that's the part of Deci Dela that actually interacts with my skin and develops in interesting directions. I kind of like it now, but must acknowledge that a) this is probably not a perfume to wear in a crowd, and b) there are better alternatives out there.
Deci Dela on its quirky charm and nice structure is not as well-made as Yvresse or Ungaro Diva. The overabundance of fruit notes makes it so obviously synthetic the perfume borders on drag queen territory. It's fun, just not exactly how I want to smell most of the time. Still, in todays plastic perfume world, Deci Dela has a certain charm you don't find in products geared towards the young or even in Nina Ricci's own modern line.
Notes: apricot, raspberry, osmanthus, peach, boronia, red currant, freesia, jasmine, sweet pea, rose, oakmoss, cypress, sandalwood, patchouli, resins and vanilla.
Deci Dela was discontinued at some point in the last decade. Bottles of the EDT can still be found online, usually for semi-reasonable prices.
Artwork at the top by Piers Atkinson
Nina Ricci Deci Dela ads from 1994 and 1996- couleurparfum.com
Nina Ricci lipstick (circa the 90s) from shopping.com.