Thursday, June 02, 2011

Nina Ricci- Deci Dela

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-
Nina Ricci lipstick (circa the 90s) from


  1. I remember trying this years ago, it got really sweet. I don't mind fruity chypres-I love vintage Amazone, and Ananas Fizz, but somehow those two seem a bit more balanced.

  2. Elizabeth, I agree. Deci Dela on all its charm isn't even in the same league as Ananas Fizz or Amazone.

  3. I did use a fe miniatures of this perfume, my excuse being that I was 17 :) Not a bit of chance I could stand it again now. I did, however, owned and used up a few of these lipsticks, it's too bad these products disappeared.

  4. I never took to this one, either. I wore many of the Nina Ricci scents: Farouche, L'Air du Temps (of course), Capricci, etc. but this one never took for me. The ads were a bit odd as well; nor did I like the bottles or packaging.

  5. MoB, I use the being 17 as an excuse to many a sin ;) .
    The lipstick I had was a gorgeous color, but if I remember correctly it was a bit too dry and didn't have enough slip. It made me buy my first lip brush to get a perfect application.

  6. Hopflower, I think I need to dig up some vintage Capricci. It's the one I'm least familiar with out of this line.

  7. I wasn't familiar or enamoured with other Nina Ricci scents until I read a review of Farouche on your blog a while ago.
    After reading the review, I'm glad I purchased Farouche-it's one of my go to scents for evenings out.

  8. oh my , i had this! perhaps even during college years. i was such a perfume buff back then. i remember wearing van cleef and arpels to school lol.

  9. Elizabeth, it's wonderful to hear I was the one who introduced you to Farouche! I'll wear it in your honor tonight.

  10. Lena, thanks for remiinding me to review "First" soon. You have an excellent taste.


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