Balenciaga launches Florabotanica

by Katie on September 25, 2012

Whenever anything Balenciaga is announced, the fashion and beauty industries sit up and take note. This is, after all, one of the most advanced trend, on the money houses in the business and their reputation for going their own way with a look, a feel, a vision is respected.

Florabotanica is an unusual little ditty and not at all what what I expected from a house that gave us the coveted lariat bag. I expected an outre, out-there fragrance, all leather fringe, in your face haughtiness with aloof poise and what I got was…nice. Perhaps too nice as it juxtaposes with the high powered nicheness of the brand by appealing to a wider, floral tinged, pretty audience.
The bottle is the show-stopper. While the box is covered in beautiful scripted, botanists’ flora drawings reminiscent of those spotted at the V&A and Natural History museums, the bottle is as directional as can be with it’s optical illusion black & white striped stopper that is the feature, winking at you from it’s clear contents and framed by a strip of prism red and edged prism purple – very striking and what we’d expect from Nicholas Ghesquiere who’s last collection sent out an unsurpassed futuristic vision that had fashion editors and writers (including this one) clambouring to wear it (pictured below).

Florabotanica is a quandary in itself. With its crystal clear, striking  and high pitched resonance of vetiver, amber and caladium leaf, the smell is like melting ice over fresh ferns and moss, of frozen roses that impart their smell on defrosting, of a sharp tang of mintiness, like someone has breathed freshness and distilled whiteness atop a rough hewn, floral bouquet wrapped in wet grass bindings. This is a new floral for a new woman. Whether I can see our modern day IT social media mavericks (who Ghesquiere sent down the catwalk as above) wearing this, is another thing all together. What is does is charm the wearer and catch them off guard.

Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault, the two renowned noses who developed Florabotanica, have manged to truly create the new; a mix of age of age old romance with a frosty, sharp, ‘White Witch’, Queen of Narnia, cool and aloof vision. To embody the fragrance, the powers that be have turned to another Snow Queen, Kristen Stewart – the rebel muse who doth protest  a tad too much.

It’s certainly different. It’s charming to a point and subtle, but does it relay the Ghesquiere vision for Balenciaga as his avid bend-the rules customers see it? The jury’s out on that.

Florabotanica is priced at £40 (30ml EDP), £53 (50ml EDP) and £75 (100ml EDP) and is also available as a body lotion (£33) and shower gel (£31). Florabotanica is available from dept store counters nationwide.

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