Just like other bloggers who reviewed Armani Prive La Femme Bleue I wanted to dislike and dismiss it as all hype and no substance. Or to least to not like this exclusive limited edition perfume, but I guess I'm not going to be very original here. I like it. A lot.
I first smelled this limited edition in Paris (at Le Bon Marche). The bottle was stunning even in Armani Privé standards and I made good use of the tester, expecting to prove that once you own a few iconic iris perfumes you don't need this showy and exclusi...
It was love that first day and it's love now that I'm quickly draining my small decant. Look at the notes: black iris, chocolate, incense and vanilla. Armani might as well named it Gaia Bleue. I prefer to ignore the background marketing spiel about being inspired by the Tuareg people from the Sahara. No iris, black or other, grows in that desert, and I doubt vanilla is part of the nomadic palate. Incense? Maybe, but I won't hold my breath. But you can judge the marketing fluff for yourself:
"Envisaging a journey through the desert, following a Tuareg caravan, the nomad people who have become the aesthetic reference for my new couture collection", replies Giorgio Armani while he explains La Femme Bleue, the new cult fragrance by Armani/Privé.
"Only when your are working with a color, you manipulate it, you learn about all its countless variations. Indigo, matte, charcoal, kohl power, dark, glossy...". What is blue for Giorgio Armani? "Mystery, shadow, but also depth".
The following step: turning the chromatic and stylistic suggestion into a very exclusive fragrance. Only a thousand pieces in the world, 112 in Italy. A color that becomes perfume: "True, I wanted to express this idea of elegance also in other contexts. A unique and exclusive fragrance, realized with rare and precious ingredients". Haute parfumerie, of course, as explained by Monsieur Serge Majoullier, the nose behind the scent.
"It’s not easy to translate the idea of deep blue, I found the way by blending oriental and vanilla notes, perfect to evoke a hot starry night; so I added to black iris, which is dark blue in nature and whose scent at times verges on chocolate, a woody background. This way the fragrance is not just floral". (from Vogue Italy)
What I get from La Femme Bleue is incredible softness. Many iris perfumes are built on the cold and even chilly facet of the rhizome. They can be carroty, earthy and even ghostly. Guerlain took the buttery aspect and combined it with their signature pastry note in the cuddly Iris Ganache. But this is neither Iris Silver Mist nor Guerlain. Perfumer Serge Majoullier created a warm and incredibly soft and skin-like representation of this highly-coveted note. The chocolate is barely sweet and smells more raw than the French bakery of Iris Ganache (which I adore, nothing wrong with a good dessert in perfume). It draws you in and invites you to get closer and touch. There's something very tactile in La Femme Bleue, but again, it's the silk chiffon of Armani fashion and not the raw and coarse fabric of the nomad desert attire
The bottom line is that this Armani Privé perfume is an addictive and sensual interpretation of a haute couture concept and smells as luxurious and expensive as it really is. I don't know how much if any real orris butter was put into the 1000 bottles that were made of La Femme Bleue. Maybe it's another clever use of some new manufactured materials, but I doubt it. It smells exquisite.
Armani Privé La Femme Bleue is a limited edition available at very few location around the world (Selfridges London and Bergdorf Goodman in NYC are among the lucky ones). The price for 100 ml Eau de Parfum is £375. The Perfumed Court sells samples and decants.
Top image: model Karen Elson (at least Armani didn't use the cheap and tacky Megan Fox who is the face of the makeup line) in the La Femme Bleue campaign (also in the video above).
La Femme Bleue bottle from Armani's Facebook page and the backstage photo of the La Femme Bleue fashion show from vogue.it.