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Reem Acra Eau de Parfum — The Glory of Amber

Few runway shows during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week manage to produce the kind of wide-eyed wonderment in me that Reem Acra so effortlessly instills via her productions season after season. Reem Acra’s designs always  convey glamour and t sophistication. Her transcendent designs are inspired by a classical interpretation of femininity and poise yet they manage to feel distinctly modern thanks to their silhouettes and the material choices made — whether Acra is manipulating leather to create body-conscious, color-blocked shift dresses; layering yards of chiffon onto the skirts of floor-length gowns to give them the type of graceful movement that mimics floating;  adding intricate beadwork along the sheer bodice of elegant dresses; or playing with notions of transparency and opacity via cleverly placed cut-outs, unexpected fabric juxtapositions, and provocative slits. Now, the  New York-based, Lebanese fashion designer is hoping to make women feel poised and regal through the sensuous allure of fragrance.

Working with master perfumer Pierre Negrin, the designer created the  Reem Acra Eau de Parfum ($125 at Saks Fifth Avenue and SaksFifthAvenue.com), a couture scent inspired by the golden tones that abounded in the designer’s Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 collections, hues that feel opulent and warm. The aromatic composition also nods to Acra’s penchant for draping and for her ability to incorporate sheer and translucent details that make even the most intricate designs feel airy and magical.

The fragrance’opens, then, withe an opulent, intoxicating, warm amber note that could very well be described as the aromatic equivalent of sheer lace and chiffon, with orange blossom, pear, and bergamot notes adding a juicy, dewy quality. Though you might think the orange blossom and bergamot notes add a zesty and citrus-y quality, they actually don’t distract from the warmth of the amber. If anything, they constitute the mystery glimmer layered beneath that blanket of amber.

At its heart, the Reem Acra EDP incorporates a floral bouquet of jasmine, lily of the valley and peony for a delicate feminine feel that’s light, slightly powdery, and delightfully ethereal, while a hint of ginger provides an unexpected dose of spicy earthiness and warmth. Base notes, meanwhile, include a cedarwood note that  pays homage to the  unique Lebanese cedar trees growing in areas like the Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve, a musk note that adds a carnal and seductive quality, a hint of patchouli that conjures up a sense of mystery and a woody wonderment and, of course, a trail of glorious amber.

Over the span of a few months, I’ve grown obsessed with this scent. It’s never overpowering — even when you first spritz  it onto your pulse points. And, as time elapses, new aromatic elements are revealed, as if we’re moving past the surface embellishments of a gown, traveling via layers of chiffon and through delicate and sheer lace, finally traversing to the bare skin. In that way, then, this scent is both seductive and mysterious, enticing in its subtlety and finesse, graceful and confident while also being ethereal and magical.

As for the packaging, the glass flacon, designed by Doug Lloyd of Lloyd & Co., exudes glamour with the dove pattern that constitutes Acra’s insignia, a cubical cap that feels modern in its geometrical and architectural quality, and a red detail along the collar meant to reference royalty.


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