Back in the mid 1990’s when every new perfume was trying to be a fresh aquatic, one brand went a different way. In 1994 when Calvin Klein ck One hit the scene it focused on defining a different take on fresh which had nothing to do with an aquatic. It was a brilliant call by the creative team. As much as any of the aquatics it is also a defining perfume of those times. Now while I praise that decision, every year since has seemingly had an aquatic style flanker with summer in its name. Calvin Klein Defy represents the brand’s efforts to create an alternative to the current transparent trend.
One of the ways they seemingly approached the design it to make a perfume for a man who only has a few, or one, bottles on their dresser. The difficulty comes in being a fragrance that can cross from office to gym to date night. It is one thing that this lighter style plays very well into. Perfumers Loc Dong, Anne Flipo and Pascal Gaurin team up to put it together.
This is as simply constructed a perfume as it gets. A bit of citrus and lavender tangle together at the start. This is that masculine more herbal lavender popular in this sector. The difference is as an older wearer of perfume I like this combination to be more burly. Defy goes in the opposite direction. The citrusy floral is as gentle as a far-off breeze. The transition in the back half comes as vetiver in its greener grassier aspect connects with a synthetic amber in the base which dries things out while keeping it opaque.
Defy has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I don’t think this is as big a difference as was apparent back in the 90’s. I do believe it is a perfume designed to sell to a casual fragrance wearer. In that regard I think it hits the desired target right in the bull’s eye of today’s trends.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample supplied by Calvin Klein.
There are fashion designers I know are having fun. Lazaro Hernanadez and Jack McCollogh the artists behind the Proenza Schouler clothing brand show it in every collection which comes down the runway. At the recent debut of their Fall 2018 collection they rolled out a neo-1960’s grouping of elegant tie-dye and fantastic macramé weaves. These are designs for hippies who live on the Upper East Side. It does capture the breezy aesthetic which is part of the brand hallmark.
Proenza Schouler RTW Fall 2018
Of course, there was a desire to branch out into fragrance and I had forgotten there was a deal in place with L’Oreal for a few years. I was reminded of it when one of my friends told me of a party they attended at the recent New York Fashion Week and asked me if I wanted them to send me the bottle of the new Proenza Schouler perfume they had received. I said yes and while it made its way to me I looked up what I could find.
Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollogh
In numerous interviews the perfume, called Arizona, arose from the trips Mr Hernandez and Mr. McCollogh take after each collection is released. They have found the American Southwest one of the best places to unwind. When they discussed fragrance concepts they kept returning to a desert-inspired one. This is what makes it into the bottle.
I could not find out who the perfumer, or perfumers, they worked with. (UPDATE: The perfumers are Carlos Benaim and Loc Dong) What has been produced is a transparent fragrance typical of the current perfume trend. What is atypical is the two keynotes in the top and base accords. It comes together into an excellent designer fragrance.
On top the keynote is cactus flower which is really a transparent sweet floral accord paired with a set of expansive warm luminous ingredients to form a “solar accord”. This takes the floral and expands it greatly. As the cactus flower accord spreads out the pulpy heart of the succulent also begins to peek out. Orange blossom grounds all of this in traditional citric floral territory. This is the heart of Arizona and it is a classic floral version. The base is where it again moves in a different direction as a mineral accord of dried out sand composed of Iso E Super or one of its kindred aromachemicals. This is further tuned by using a few white musks and cashmeran. It is an abstract version of the well-known petrichor ingredient. It is my favorite part of Arizona and where it lasts for the longest time on my skin.
Arizona has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
Mr. Hernandez and Mr. McCollogh have effectively translated their fashion style into a fragrance which feels completely Proenza Schouler. Even high fashion tie-dye and macramé feels like the right clothing choice for Arizona.
Disclosure: this review is based on a bottle provided by Proenza Schouler at NYFW 2018.