Robert Piguet’s ‘Nouvelle Collection’ Mademoiselle and Oud reviewed

by Katie on August 21, 2012

It took a bold move for some forward thinking soul to try to capture the elegance of Robert Piguet’s couture house which was in existence from the 1930s to early 950s. But try they did in fragrance form and very successfully indeed, managing to translate the original eponymous scents and their inspiration from Piguet, the master of sleek bias grace who had even worked under the great Paul Poiret.

I’ve been a fan of the Robert Piguet stable of perfumes since the re-issue and re-formulation of the unrivalled Fracas in 1998 and such subsequent winners as Visa, Bandit, Baghari and Cravache. Indeed, there seems nothing that this on-the-money licensee (FFC Ltd) can’t do, remaining as true to form re vintage scents and their composition as they can while noting the dreaded IFRA regulations that make it doubly hard to re-capture the past.

Each Piguet scent is undeniably distinctive and can be picked out at a hundred paces. Even the addition of designer Douglas Hannant’s launch which has been described as a younger, fresher, lighter Fracas had its loyal bunch of fans and the hard to convince, oft sceptical fragrance press, won over. This was a house that meant business (commercial as well as creative).

Enter the Nouvelle Collection – Five whole new fragrances launched at once and to be followed at some point by three others in the same stable.

In the new collection, we have Mademoiselle, Notes, Oud, Casbah and Bois Noir, all vying for attention and desperate to make their claim on olfactory fans who seek out the different. Created by Givaudan’s Aurelien Guichard (also responsible for the recreation of Piguet’s Classics), Piguet are upping the ante on the niche perfume area providing choice with more than a nod to vintage themed scents that decry modern fragrance fripperies as one would cheap shoes and hokey handbags.

One of the most charming of the new collection is undoubtedly, Mademoiselle. It’s bright fuchsia label with it’s vintage style scroll font hints at mischievousness and giddy girlishness, all the while trying on her mother’s heels and desperate to begin life as an adult(ress). Whether ‘sixteen going on 17’ or much, much older and not necessarily wiser, this scent is impossible not to love. It’s soft approach is due to the tonka bean base with a beautiful, sunny disposition of bergamot and orange flower that lifts the wearer’s mood instantaneously. Mademoiselle is as romantically radiant as she is captivating; a little bit coy, a little bit capricious and whole lot enlivening. I have several friends who truly live and breathe a vintage lifestyle and this one is for them. It’s a ‘Roman Holiday’ come to life.

Piguet’s Oud is all together another beast. There’s been a glut of both good and bad ouds released in the rush to attract a lucrative Middle Eastern audience and of course, Piguet have an Oud offer. I make no excuses when I say I loved this version. It’s not for everyone, sure, and it has its detractors but the big ballsy nature of this Oud combined with a retrotastic vision takes the normal heaviness of Oud resin and Middle Eastern heat to the couture showrooms of a Paris past – of swaying models in tailored three-quarter-length skirt suits holding numbers and being announced while slyly eyeing the exotic Prince in the corner; of a daring Oud wearing madame with a room full of highly scented floral bouquets; of Arabian nights meets Champs Elysees tripping the light fantastic.

Piguet’s Oud’s complexity lies in the saffron, fir balsam and myrrh additions with its white patchouli and hints of dark, bitter, yummy chocolate. This oud’s intriguing for its non-run-of-the-mill make-up with a seemingly enormous bowl you over and leave you reeling attitude. Not for the faint hearted and non-stylish fo’sho. Wear with 4 inch, kick-ass Louboutins and let them clamour in your wake.

Robert Piguet ‘Nouvelle Collection’ EDP (100ml) Parfums are on counter at Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, London priced at £130 each. 

Review to follow on Notes, Casbah and Bois Noir

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