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Aura by Swarovski Eau de Parfum — A Refraction in Fragrance

Fine crystals faceted to maximize their light-reflecting properties and add a sense of texture, their level of transparency and vibrant colors mimicking those  of the rarest and finest gems, adding enough glitz and pomp to appease a post-Higgins-boot-camp Eliza Doolittle… Those traits, ladies, are what we’ve come to associate with Swarovski. So, when the crystal czars unveiled their plans to release a signature fragrance, Aura by Swarovski, those familiar with the brand expected a scent that conveyed luxury and luminosity.

The Aura by Swarovski EDP ($65 for 1 fl. oz, $80 for 1.7 fl. oz., and $100 for 2.6 fl. oz. at Swarovski boutiques) comes in a sleek bottle masterminded by Japan-based, French designer Gwenaël Nicolas, whose resume includes working on modern design store concepts for Uniqlo, LED installations for Lexus, and envisioning Issey Miyake fragrance bottles. The elongated, cylindrical, totem-like bottle features a sleek metallic cap that extends almost down to the tube’s base, which is also wrapped in a metal fabric. Between the cap and the base, both of which boast asymmetrical, slanted edges, there’s a slither of the glass bottle beneath the metal — and, since the fragrance boasts a light pink hue, this wedge-like strip feels like a glimpse into a pink sapphire. The top surface of the bottle cap, which also slopes down at an angle, nestles a jewel-like metal accent with an exaggerated shape that borrows elements from the Ring Pop-style shape we associate with diamond rings as children and from futuristic, space-age design (hence the orb-like shape). Atop this metal accent, in turn, you’ll find a clear faceted crystal with a pointed tip and enough overlapping angular slices to create a prism-like effect, with light dispersing in numerous directions as it hits the dazzling stone. Overall, then, the bottle’s design speaks to Swarovski’s roots in fine jewelry, to the importance it places on color, clarity, and shape, and to the way its crystals can manipulate and toy with beams of light to create a near-magical effect. The use of silver-toned metal, meanwhile, speaks to the brand’s modern thinking, to its constant evolution and reinvention.

Given that so much emphasis is placed on the crystal as the inspiration behind the fragrance, one might expect the perfume’s composition to have this very same sparkle, a transparency that’s translated via lightweight but striking notes. Like the bottle in which it’s encased, the Aura by Swarovski scent values simplicity above all else — in fat, there are considerably less notes in this eau de parfum than you’d traditionally find in a fine fragrance.

Developed by Jean-Pierre Bethouart and Olivier Cresp, Aura by Swarovski is boasts an aromatic epicenter that blends together amber, benzoin, and white musk for a very carnal, woody, exotic base. From this base, however, three different “rays of light” are channeled via specific notes: with a sensual illusion yielded through a juicy lychee note, a sophisticated and ladylike vibe conveyed via a white tuberose note, and a spicy, perky disposition captured through a pink pepper note.

I’ve been wearing this fragrance for some weeks now and, while I wish I could rave about it, I must admit that it fell a bit short of my expectations. When you first apply the fragrance, it doens’t lure you in — I’d even argue that the composition feels a bit matronly an stodgy upon first sniff. In fact, it’s the pink pepper and amber notes that save that initial impression from being disastrous, as the tuberose and lychee can both feel rather overpowering. That being said, as the fragrance settles and softens, it becomes much more alluring — in fact, it’s at its best when there’s nothing but a trail of the scent left of the skin, the musk and amber lingering behind with just a hint of pink pepper and tuberose. It’s at this point, nearly four or five hours after applying the fragrance, that it really feels like a modern, translucent, captivating scent to me. But, of course, since I’m way too impatient to wait for such a long period of time to finally enjoy a scent, when looking for a similar but slightly superior and more youthful scent I’m more likely to reach for a true rose scent like the Chloe EDP or Jo Malone’s Red Roses Cologne or spray myself with an amber-based scent like Prada’s Amber EDP.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, this particular scent doesn’t have the most positive, inviting aura.
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