Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Kenzo Flower is an example of a well-crafted and unique fragrance, which is neither a hard-to-find niche nor a revered classic from the turn of the 20th century. Created by perfumer Alberto Morillas and launched in 2000, it still remains as one of top selling fragrance in Europe, along with marvels like Chanel No 5, Dior J’Adore, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Thierry Mugler Angel and CK One. Flower is a beautiful example displaying that an impressive sillage and tremendous lasting power do not have to conflict with a nuanced and delicate overall impression. In fact, throughout its development, Flower retains a soaring, radiant quality, which is quite unexpected in a floral oriental blend.
If I were to put Flower in a fragrance family, it would follow the line of Guerlain’s majestic L’Heure Bleue. They both possess similar structures of anisic spice, floral and balsamic notes. The delicious softness of Flower is very much reminiscent of the same makeup powder effect that gives a dramatic effect in fragrances like Guerlain Insolence, Jean-Paul Gaultier Classique and Lancome Tresor, other great floral orientals. However, while JPG Classique and Tresor suggest a vintage glamour of swan down puffs and shimmery talc, Flower is free from any sentimentality. It is quite remarkable if one considers the fact that the composition is rich in rose and violet, both of which have an old-fashioned reputation. It is unmistakably powdery, which tends to be a big detraction for the contemporary consumer. Yet, when considered as a whole, Flower is a thoroughly modern composition.
Overall, it is a study in contrasts. There is an interplay between the vintage references and the abstract modernity. It skirts the line between power and delicacy. Even Flower’s innocent softness has Morillas’ characteristic sensual, addictive quality. There are moments when I forget that I am wearing any perfume, being simply conscious of the beautiful aura Flower creates. Perhaps, that alone is the best quality possible in a scent.
Kenzo Flower includes notes of “Wild Hawthorne, Bulgarian Rose, Parma Violet, Cassia, Hedione, Cyclosal, Opoponax, White Musk, Vanilla.” It is available from Sephora, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Saks5thAvenue and other major retailers.
Image: Inside of a Poppy Flower, 7art-screensavers.