Juliette Has a Gun perfumer, Romano Ricci, has an annoying habit (for his competitors) of getting it right. You only have to look at his past catalogue of successes such as Lady Vengeance, Romantica, Not A Perfume and the beautiful, slinky, limited edition Oil Fiction, to see this. And, while he gets it right on the creative side, he also has his fun racing sports cars and hanging out at all the best places in that maddeningly European suave manner. He also oozes a devilishly playful sense of humour & charisma as well as having perfumery in the genes (as the great grandson of Nina Ricci and grandson of iconic perfumer, Robert Ricci). And, whatsmore, he obviously enjoys women enough to create a divergent range of ultra modern fragrances that dare to be different. If you were a bloke, you may be just jealous enough to hate him. Or, if you’re a woman, to be charmed by this laid-back rogue in a fedora. He can ruffle feathers like a soft warm breeze, can Monsieur Ricci.
Ricci chooses to go for the less obvious route. In the same vein as fellow compatriot, Francis Kurkdjian, another agent provocateur in the perfume world, Ricci keeps his collection tight, in all the right profile, fashion-tinged outlets (naturally). Ricci chooses to play with ambroxan (first devised chemically in the 1950s as a substitute for ambergris) as a base note for his fragrance range which explains the soft and velvety, yet brusque and clean attractiveness of much of the range. Ambroxan seems to intensify the other ingredients while offering a more-rounded, light-filled experience. And, that, my dears, is what makes Juliette Has A Gun such a modernist, arty yet deviously attractive little niche range. If you buy into one of the perfumes, you’ll no doubt be encouraged to try another and have this as an alternative favourite.
As a new release to Juliette Has A Gun, Anyway has been as surprising as it’s sister fragrance, Not A Perfume which is known for its one-note composition of ambroxan in ethanol. Anyway is ‘a kind of protest’ said Ricci while slinking on a sofa beside me at London’s Dukes Hotel, ‘an attempt to simplify things’. Ricci uses ‘anyway’ a lot in speech when he wants to just get on with things. Anyway (the perfume) seems like a light-filled addition to the Juliette Has A Gun range that brings a lift and a more youthful and laid-back spirit. Anyway seems the polar opposite of ‘Mad Madame’ (2012) which Ricci urged me to try as ‘I made it for a woman exactly like you’. I could take that in two ways*. (*Thankfully, I read the press info on Mad Madame so took it as a great compliment). Anyway, back to Anyway. Anyway reminded me of another recent release by Francis Kurkdjian, Aqua Vitae, in that the two perfumes share in common, the maverick niche perfumers’ attempt to strip back, to be less complex to let air, skin and youthful vitality to run free. They are almost freshly showered skin-like, carefree and nonchalant in their make-up possibly because they both contain hedione, a jasmine smelling synthetic that smells of warmth and relays a comforting feeling.
Anyway features only 15 ingredients including neroli essence, green lime essence (there’s a definite jolt of green fruitiness in the opening notes), jasmine absolute, ambretolide (musk), ambroxan and hedione (HC). Ricci stated ‘you need to surprise people sometimes to get their attention.’ Coming from a man who isn’t afraid to court controversy, Anyway, in it’s sophisticated white on white opaque Juliette Has A Gun cylindrical bottle and with its French Bulldog promotional imagery, Anyway should stand out as much for its ‘I’m Here Notice Me’ attitude as it does for its youthful burst of freshness and carefree name.
Anyway launches exclusively at Selfridges priced at £65 for 50ml & £85 for 100ml and will be available at other retailers including Harrods from November.