Elisa on another perfume that’s lighthearted, easy to wear and interesting.
There are certain perfume brands that fly under the radar. They are neither so mainstream that you see testers on every department store counter (Estée Lauder, Gucci, and the like), nor do they qualify as “niche” or earn the cult status of pricey brands like Serge Lutens and Amouage. These perfumes – I’m thinking of brands like Paco Rabanne and Cacharel – are found at mall perfume kiosks and online discounters, usually for under $50 a bottle. If you know about one of these scents, you probably either bought it at a drugstore as a teenager, heard of it through word of mouth, or discovered it via pure happenstance.
This last method of discovery was the case for me with Moschino Couture!, launched in 2004. (The exclamation mark is part of the name, but I’ll drop it from here on out.) Early on in my perfume-buying days, I had an insatiable hunger for new fragrances, but not a lot of money to spend, and I frequently blind-bought bottles when they could be had for just a few times the cost of a sample ($4 for 2 ml or $20 for 50 ml … this seemed like easy math to me). I bought Couture on a whim because I was ordering a bottle of Moschino Funny! and the site had great deals on both.
It was a serendipitous decision – years later, this fruity-floral-meets-floriental is still a favorite. The top note is a citrusy blackcurrant – tart, zingy, and addictive. The rest of the fragrance is basically a clean jasmine blend on a sheer woody base with plenty of tonka bean, which gives an effect similar to YSL Cinema or the discontinued Armani Sensi. What makes Couture different is that the blackcurrant note combines with the almond to create an illusion of cherry, which reminds me of mixing Amaretto and cranberry juice in my college dorm room, an experiment that resulted in the cocktail version of a red snowcone.
Not all my blind buys have been so successful, naturally, but Couture has become a staple in my collection – carefree and easy without smelling like candy or shampoo. It’s one of those simple fragrances that is so well-balanced it never feels boring. Every time I wear it I wonder, “Why does no one ever mention this wonderful fragrance?”
A note on availability
Although discontinued, Moschino Couture still occasionally shows up at low prices in some outlets. (As such it joins other tricky-to-find gems like Cartier So Pretty and Fendi Theorema.) I recently spotted bottles in the dedicated perfume store at my local mall, and Victoria has seen it at Overstock and on eBay, so keep an eye out.
Moschino Couture! includes notes of bergamot, tangerine, pepper, yellow poppy, pomegranate blossom, poppy seeds, benzoin, vanilla, and cedar.