Salvatore Ferragamo F : Fragrance Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

F is indeed an appropriate name for this rather indifferent new release from Salvatore Ferragamo. From the sharp nail polish remover stringency of the top notes to the cloying sweetness pervading its base, F adopts every single cliché of a commercial feminine perfume with the resulting impression lacking any suggestion of character or individuality. …

Commercial is not necessarily a derogatory term. By way of example, both Prada and Calvin Klein Euphoria take the highly commercial patchouli overdose pioneered by Angel and then dress it with rich amber in the former and purple tinged tropical fruit in the latter. However neither is a me-too copy, but rather they build on the theme, with good results in both cases.

F does not seem to have a distinctive touch, save for the striking bottle shaped like a famous Ferragamo wedge shoe. This lack of signature is particularly surprising given that F is meant to embody the retro glamour and the daring spirit of Salvatore Ferragamo, a remarkably talented shoe designer whose inventions range from the wedge and the stiletto heel to the “invisible” shoes made out of thin nylon strands. It is even more surprising to discover that F is made by Francis Kurkdjian, whose work I tend to admire for its grace and harmony.

In 1990, there were about 70 new releases, while last year the counters included more than 500. Out of those 500, only a small handful will remain on the market for longer than three years. In the language of game theory, the new launches are subject to a prisoner’s dilemma—the short-term benefits sometimes override the considerations of greater long-term gains. F provides a good illustration of this analogy.

According to the press release, F by Salvatore Ferragamo contains only three notes–rose, jasmine and orange blossom. It certainly does not mean only three ingredients, since the effect of the flowers can be achieved through several different materials. Whatever the case may be, one is not left with the illusion that any of these three flowers came from a living plant. F is available at Sephora and Neiman Marcus.

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20 Comments

  • Dusan: Ouch! I can’t believe it is *that* bad. Not that I have any illusions regarding today’s proliferating perfume industry, but Francis Kurkdjian to produce a dud? Oh well, I guess there will be a target group for F, too.
    You cracked me up with “one is not left with the illusion that any of these three flowers came from a living plant” bit. How sad! Still, I found the men’s Incanto just as generic and unnatural, so why am I not surprised?
    Hugs September 18, 2006 at 12:53am Reply

  • chayaruchama: I am so glad that we agree here-
    I felt that this was an extremely mediocre effort, and a disappointing one at best.

    An adorable design does not compensate for the juice within… September 18, 2006 at 7:01am Reply

  • marchlion: Oh, how disappointing it was! And my expectations were higher, given the Ferragamo name. It could have been wonderful. I am pleased, in a sad way, by your review. I kept thinking I must be anosmic to part of the scent, because surely I was missing something, it was so thin. September 18, 2006 at 7:13am Reply

  • Laura: Yuck! I’m happy that you’ve likely prevented me from getting a raging headache, which is what I get with many of these mass-produced fragrances. Thanks, V ;D September 18, 2006 at 8:26am Reply

  • Marina: Hee! Loved the way you dealt with it.
    I’ve stared and I’ve stared at the bottle. I don’t see a shoe. What’s wrong with me? 🙂 September 18, 2006 at 8:38am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, if a good perfumer makes a mediocre perfume, then the client is to blame. F strikes me as faceless. Overall, I do like Francis Kurkdjian’s work. September 18, 2006 at 11:50am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, I like the shoe shaped bottle too. It is adorable. September 18, 2006 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, my expectations were high too, given that Ferragamo was such a trendsetter in his field. I must admit that I have not tried the older fragrances in the line yet, but I am planning to rectify it soon. September 18, 2006 at 11:53am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I doubt that you would like it in any case. The bottle does deserve a sketch though, if you ever decide to do the perfume bottle monthly theme for your drawings! September 18, 2006 at 11:54am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, have you ever seen Ferragamo’s designs from the 1940s? The bottom of the flacon represents his signature curved sole, the hollowed part on the lefthand side, the connection
    between heel and sole. Check out this site to see several designs:
    http://www.designboom.com/history/ferragamo.html
    It is fascinating! September 18, 2006 at 11:59am Reply

  • violetnoir: Five hundren perfume launches? Well, that is not surprising at all. Just visit the local mall, and you will see several new releases almost every week.

    Based on your review, I think the “F” may have been a Freudian slip on the part of the maker.

    Hugs! September 18, 2006 at 12:27pm Reply

  • Jenn: I don’t think I’ve heard a single good thing said about this fragrance and it really is hard to see the shoe in this bottle. September 18, 2006 at 12:47pm Reply

  • Nick: Hi,

    Will be interested to see your thoughts on Insolence. I think it is well made; a rich, original and distinctive accord which sets its apart from the flood of fruity florals out there. However, whether this is the sort of fragrance one would anticipate as the next step for Guerlain is another question. It sort of depends on your proximity to the Champs-Elysees, and all of the limited editions which might quench thirsts for a more “serious” fragrance. Insolence is deliciously frivolous, and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, if it is done well. September 20, 2006 at 4:31am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, isn’t that the truth! The figure is worldwide, of course, but still, the US market is quite big in itself. September 20, 2006 at 2:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Jenn, Salvatore Ferragamo’s 40s designs were fantastic. He was really a genius. September 20, 2006 at 2:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, I have been wearing Insolence for the past couple of months, and I am enjoying it more and more. It has a certain luxurious quality that marks Guerlain fragrances, but at the same time, it is lighthearted. It is done well. The only thing I do not like is the ad campaign. September 20, 2006 at 2:29pm Reply

  • Laura: Can you imagine drawing nothing but perfume bottles for a month? I’d go batty. However, as a one-off thing, this bottle sketched would be fun! September 20, 2006 at 5:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I was being a bit facetious. I can imagine that one might go crazy! September 20, 2006 at 8:33pm Reply

  • Nick: Dear Victoria, I’m glad that your wearing Insolence. It has given me added impetus to wear it! That first note when it hits the skin! Glorious – that hit of an almost L’heure Bleueish muskiness mixed with the berries and powdery notes…
    I agree with you about its luxuriousness. It’s the rich lady’s modern fruity floral. September 20, 2006 at 10:35pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, I can definitely see the similarity to L’Heure Bleue. And you are absolutely right about its luxurious feeling. I am enjoying it this fall. September 22, 2006 at 4:50pm Reply

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