Many of you shared my uneasiness about the new perfume brand bearing the name of legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland. I still harbored a secret hope that Mrs. Vreeland's heirs did justice to her memory by creating a spectacular line. The bold colors chosen for the bottles seemed to hint in that direction, and the display at Bergdorf Goodman looked inviting. The bottles are even nicer when you see them in person. They're heavy, modern, and come with a magnetic cap that closes in a satisfying click. The boxes are just as great, so the overall design aesthetic is quite appealing. But we're here for the juice, and that's where it all fell apart.
Leaving Diana Vreeland's heritage aside, if you're launching a luxury perfume brand that takes a wall and a counter at Bergdorf Goodman you'd better have something interesting to offer, and preferably more than just colored glass. At $185 for 50ml (and $250 for 100ml) these perfumes should better make a statement of quality and creativity. Instead, what we got was the standard department store fare. You could have slapped any designer label on these floral-fruity-fake wood-vanilla combos and no one would blink.
These are my general impressions from my first encounter with Diana Vreeland Perfumes. It's not a comprehensive review, since I gave them limited time and limited skin space. Frankly, I doubt I'd go back for more. This is meant to give a general idea of the fragrances and not an in-depth analysis.
Extravagance Russe. I expected the most from this one, considering the Russian theme and the oriental notes. It's hard to ruin an oriental perfume, and this isn't a bad one (not crazy sweet), just surprisingly flat and unremarkable amber. Think of the magnificent Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe ($145/100ml), and understand my disappointment.
Notes: amber, resins, vanilla, musk
Simply Divine. I like this one in the same way I like most rich tuberose perfumes. There's nothing original about it, but it's competent and sexy in the way big white florals tend to be.
Notes: tuberose, fresh crushed leaves, nutmeg, orange blossom, jasmine, sandalwood, orris root, cashmere wood, tonka, musk
Absolutely Vital. A generic synthetic jasmine-rose thing over a generic synthetic sandalwood. We've smelled it a thousand times before.
Notes: sandalwood, rose, jasmine, myrrh, vanilla
Outrageously Vibrant. Basically- a fruitchouli. A big and bad one. I could have sworn I smell mango, as did the Husband. And I'm not talking about a Duchaufour mango. This one is the stuff that gives fruity-florals their bad name.
Notes: rose, cassis, patchouli
Perfectly Marvelous. It's a weird one, and I chalk it up mostly to skin chemistry, though it was just as amorphous on the blotter. It's a modern skin scent, completely gender-neutral and just as forgettable.
Notes: sandalwood, pimento pepper, jasmine.
Why don't you buy a Serge Lutens instead?
Photo: “Diana Vreeland: A Velvet Hand in an Iron Glove,” by Ingeborg Day for Ms., 1975.