With ro­mance in the air at the spring shows, the rose makes a grand re­turn to fra­grance.

ELLE (Canada) - - Beauty - By Wendy kaur

Fash­ion is in the midst of a pas­sion­ate af­fair with fem­i­nine clas­sics. Ro­man­tic hits of chif­fon, lace and ruf­fles ap­peared on run­ways for Gucci, Rochas and Chloé this sea­son. Carolina Herrera ad­mit­ted to be­ing “in a rose pe­riod” when she de­signed her flirty col­lec­tion in vary­ing shades of pink per­fec­tion. Across the globe, the high­light of the ex­per­i­men­tal Le­banese de­signer Lara Khoury’s spring pre­sen­ta­tion was a floaty or­ganza dress made from silk gazar, with the colour and del­i­cacy of a rose.

The ubiq­ui­tous peren­nial is also hav­ing a mo­ment in in­te­rior de­sign, fine art and, most strik­ingly, fra­grance. The houses of Elie Saab, Gior­gio Ar­mani and YSL have all launched rose-im­bued scents, as have niche per­fumers such as Byredo and Memo Paris.

This isn’t what your grand­mother would have worn. “It’s a new, fresher, sweeter rose that isn’t pow­dery or flooded with patchouli or san­dal­wood,” ex­plains Elena Vos­naki, a per­fume his­to­rian and fra­grance ex­pert based in Athens, Greece. “Young women find it hard to ac­cept overtly flo­ral notes and as­so­ciate them with a ma­tu­rity that doesn’t speak to them.”

Some of that dis­con­nect stems from how in­tense rose per­fumes used to be, adds Michael Ed­wards, a fra­grance ex­pert based in Lon­don, Eng­land. “In tra­di­tional per­fumery, the rose was of­ten heavy and richly flo­ral,” he says. “But roses come in many dif­fer­ent scent types—some fresh and pe­tal-like, some green or with cit­rus or tea nu­ances.”

It’s th­ese ol­fac­tive nu­ances that are in­spir­ing per­fumers to­day. “The rose has evolved and be­come more tex­tured than we have seen in the past,” says Honorine Blanc, the nose for Fir­menich who cre­ated a “juicy” rose for the “young, fun and sparkling” Viva La Juicy Rosé Eau de Par­fum. “It’s truly multi-di­men­sional: It can go from be­ing in­cred­i­bly pure to strik­ingly erotic.”

Take Dolce & Gab­bana Rosa Ex­celsa, which com­bines African dog rose, a rare in­gre­di­ent from South Africa, with notes of an al­most “translu­cent” lily of the val­ley, pa­paya flower and Turk­ish rose ab­so­lute. “It com­bines a pu­rity and lu­mi­nos­ity with­out the in­dolic [a pun­gent scent used to evoke the earthy, raw smell of flow­ers], dry or al­most dirty facets that tra­di­tional rose notes tend to have,” says En­rica Per­rotta, the nose be­hind the per­fume.

Other fac­tors are con­tribut­ing to this rose redux. “The world we live in is full of eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty,” says Fran­cis Kurkd­jian, the cre­ator of À La Rose Eau de Par­fum, which fea­tures cen­tifo­lia and da­mask roses paired with ly­chee and honey. “Clas­sic h

codes and sym­bols are al­ways a way to re­as­sure peo­ple, to of­fer them a com­fort zone. Rose is a time­less icon of fem­i­nin­ity.”

Ed­wards notes that per­fumers are us­ing this im­agery to tap into the pow­er­ful nos­tal­gic emo­tions a fra­grance can evoke. “Although many peo­ple would agree that they don’t want to smell like a grand­mother, the pos­i­tive con­no­ta­tion that comes from the sub­tle pres­ence of a fa­mil­iar note can cre­ate sub­lim­i­nal pref­er­ences,” he says.

It’s true: We of­ten want to re­visit the past­— al­beit through rose-coloured glasses. “There is a psy­cho­log­i­cal com­po­nent to colour,” says Leatrice Eise­man, colour ex­pert and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the Pan­tone Color In­sti­tute. “When there’s a feel­ing of un­rest in the world, peo­ple have a ten­dency to look back at yes­ter­day.” Eise­man knows a thing or two about colour and cul­ture: She de­clared Rose Quartz, a chalky pink shade, as one of Pan­tone’s two Colors of the Year for 2016. (The other is Seren­ity.) Af­ter years of high- oc­tane, sat­u­rated colour schemes, this dec­la­ra­tion is an in­flu­en­tial mes­sage heeded by florists, mar­keters and fash­ion and in­te­rior de­sign­ers. It’s also a nod to the shift­ing zeit­geist.

“There is a gen­eral sense that we need to es­cape from some of the heav­i­ness around us,” says Eise­man. “The tim­ing is right to bring about a soft­ness and a more Zen­like, bliss­ful feel. [A rose tone] is some­thing that is thought of as be­ing sweetly scented and light­weight; it’s ap­proach­able be­cause it has some warmth to it.”

Sandy Silva, in­dus­try an­a­lyst for fash­ion and pres­tige beauty at NPD, agrees. “Softer tones and pal­ettes are preva­lent every­where right now be­cause we’re look­ing for the sim­plic­ity of times past and com­pen­sat­ing for the rapid growth in tech­nol­ogy by par­ing back other as­pects of our life­style.”

The rose is res­onat­ing right now be­cause it gives us con­nec­tion and com­fort. “We are look­ing for a greater sense of trans­parency and clar­ity in our lives and for things that are true and authen­tic,” says Blanc. “We live in a time where fem­i­nin­ity can be ex­pressed with self-con­fi­dence, ro­man­ti­cism, sen­su­al­ity and sen­si­tiv­ity. The rose al­lows for that to hap­pen all in one scent.”

“Rose is a time­less icon of fem­i­nin­ity.”

From top: Dolce & Gab­bana Rosa Ex­celsa Eau de Par­fum Spray ($109 for 50 mL); Mai­son Fran­cis Kurkd­jian À La Rose Eau de Par­fum Spray ($315 for 70.9 mL); Gior­gio Ar­mani Sì Rose Sig­na­ture Eau de Par­fum Spray ($139 for 100 mL); Elie Saab Le Par­fum Rose Coutur

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