‘Plum’ by Mary Greenwell launches at House of Fraser.

by Katie on October 14, 2010

Make-up artist, Mary Greenwell, like compatriots, Pat McGrath, Val Garland, Kay Montano and Tom Pecheux  is one of the names within the fashion and beauty industry that has inspired awe as long as I can remember.

Known in the 1980’s for creating trends such as the ‘rosy faced no make-up look’ first pioneered at Romeo Gigli’s first show in Milan and now a known staple ‘look’ within editorial pages globally.  As well as pioneering new looks and techniques for designers’ catwalk shows and the editorial pages of international fash mags, Mary also helped create the look that transformed Diana, Princess of Wales from a camera shy young stripling into the film star aura princess she quickly became.  Moreover, Mary’s current client list includes Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet and Kate Moss.  In fact, if your name’s Kate and in the ‘biz’ you should be raising your laurels to be made over by Ms Greenwell.  *makes mental note*

Its no surprise that Mary’s impeccable credentials are known the world over.  The surprise, however, is that Ms Greenwell instead of the overtrod road of ‘own make up’ ranges has chosen to launch her illustrious name with a fragrance, ‘Plum’, exclusively sold by House of Fraser. 

That may come as a shock to those expecting the launch of a sleek new make-up line, but let me tell you readers, this fragrance is beautifully packaged, perfectly poised and personifies niche ‘in the know’ style and class.

Created in conjunction with classically trained parfumeur, Francois Robert, who has also worked on reformulations for Lanvin’s Arpege and Vetyver, the fragrance is distinctively different enough to be recognisable which is usually a very tough call.

The Eau de Parfum packs enough dressing table chic to warrant a space which I’d expect of Ms Greenwell.  Topped with a 22 carat gold plated metal cap, the feel of which is smooth, beautifully rounded and heavy, like the fragrance itself.   It’s this slide into heaviness that hits you as soon as you smell it.  You are immediately enveloped in a warm fur cloak of  floral chypre which melts your resistance while exuding femininity.  Creamy, yellow, buttery and tinged with purple, the fragrance exudes plums in full juicy ripeness but, surprisingly isn’t fruity neither overly sweet.  Classed as a classic chypre, this doesn’t come across (and I know, I’ve already smelled Roja Dove’s Diaghilev which truly is a classic chypre, but more of that in another column).  What strikes you is the density and veil of fragrance.  Though plum, peach and blackcurrant come through in the top notes, the heart notes are powerfully present and thank goodness for that:  Gardenia, Tuberose, Orange Flower Absolute and Jasmine Absolute with base notes of sandalwood, oakmoss, patchoulli and white mush radiate floral musky lushness.  I loved this on trying it and am wearing it still.  It seems to brilliantly capture a Bohemian, feminine soul with a chic outer packaging.  That sounds about right and fits the bill of many such fashion and vintage wearing types I know who would personify this fragrance’s essence.

There’s something distinctly seductive and 1970’s floaty, chiffon and georgette about this scent – like a fragrance from another era totally ramped up and transformed for today’s woman who still has Biba leanings, only now you’ll find her in  Temperley, Issa, DVF, Matthew Williamson and vintage finds worn casually with Charlotte Olympia shoes.  It smells of women ‘then’ who wore their sophistication along with their Chloe kaftans and Ossie Clark diaphanous prints:  ‘The Good Life’s’ Margot Leadbetter springs to mind and boy, was she stylish and headstrong.

Plum’s warmth certainly charms and seduces women.  I now just have to test it on men.  Wish me luck!

Plum by Mary Greenwell is available from 7th October in selected House of Fraser stores nationwide.  Eau de Parfum (100ml – £90), Solid Parfum (3g – £70), Purse Spray (7.5ml – £25), Scented Candle (180g – £36)

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