Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Diana Vreeland Perfumes- First Impression

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.


  1. Too bad to her the news they are just meh. Dabbing Ambre Sultan as we speak. ;)

  2. Gaia,
    The perfumes may be over priced.
    But again , I do not believe that the 20 to 30 young generation of today , knows or cares about Diana Vreeland.
    $185.00 is expensive for someone in their 20 , 30 or even 40's .
    I know a few people that they have no problem with prices, but the people that I deal with everyday they care about

  3. Head in hands, silent scream of complete frustration and annoyance at her grandson. But surprise? No. After I read he was planning on releasing five scents simultaneously my expectations went from low to basically subterranean. It would be hard enough to create one scent that would be truly in sync with the original, eccentric force of nature that DV was, but certainly not five. I'm glad the packaging is lovely, but it is, after all, ultimately about the scents. If he absolutely *had* to do something to profit from her name (could easily go into a War and Peace length grumbling tirade here, but will refrain), maybe he should have simply commissioned art works for her.

  4. Well said! The moment I read about them, I saw dollar signs in someone's eyes. I'll bet she is turning over in her grave.

  5. Had a chance to smell these over the weekend and was also given a sample of Perfectly Marvelous.
    The SA told me they were very "vintage" smelling. Of course, they are not at all.
    Agree more or less with the reviews above. I did like Perfectly Marvelous - it's nothing ground breaking but it's a perfectly nice jasmine/sandalwood and doesn't overpower me in the way jasmine often does on my skin. Alas, the tenacity is quite poor as it doesn't last more than a few hours. So overpriced.

  6. As I am quite new in perfume, I'd like to ask: which fragrance would you recommend instead of Absolutely Vital? I fell in love with this scent but this price!


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