To most people, the phrase “Swarovski crystal” still brings to mind an image of luxury even though the brand has long been diluted by appealing to the masses – they even have a Hello Kitty® collection, so although that includes a $675 evening bag it’s hard to argue that the Swarovski name still carries the prestige it once had. Nevertheless, when it comes to fragrance, luxury brands still want to project a certain image; they are trying to attract customers who may or may not not be able to afford the primary products of the company, but they want to feel that they can still have a piece of it by wearing a fragrance that advertises its quality. (Hence the wild popularity of Chanel accessories and fragrances; most of us will never own a Chanel fashion item that is actually something to wear.)
The latest fragrance launch from this house after 2011’s Aura and Aura The Light, neither of which I have tried, is Swarovski Edition for women, and as soon as I smelled it I could imagine the intended audience. This is not an “ultra-niche” or boutique type perfume, but one that is expected to appeal to the broad spectrum of buyers who shop in department stores and malls, who have little interest in exploring the expanding world of niche and artisan luxury lines, and who don’t want an opulent, obviously “luxurious” fragrance that could be perceived as something their mothers or grandmothers might have worn. Edition is an energetic, crisp fruity-floral, so abstract that it almost transcends the genre. The fruity part is the tangy opening of red currant “jam” and clementine orange, the heart notes are light rose and gardenia, and the base is cedar and white musk. The scent is actually very pretty, although not particularly original, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that usually disintegrates after a few minutes and fall apart in the manner of innumerable cheap fruity-florals. However, there is a surprise in store; it holds up, wears well, and maintains its bright, pleasing character all the way to the end. One would be hard pressed to identify any of the florals as gardenia, it’s too light for that, but the overall effect is of bright, cool and crowd-pleasing floral notes. Cedar is often a problem for me, but in this fragrance it’s light and airy and never ends up smelling like pencil shavings. The musk in the base is mild and smooth to me and should not bother anyone. I have found it be the perfect office scent, guaranteed not to offend if not to impress with originality. I could wish that it had a little more heft to it, but for a mainstream release it’s a cut above. It is only available initially as an Eau de Toilette, and one hopes that an Eau de Parfum will follow.
Among serious perfumistas there is a bias against this genre of perfume, but I have always liked fruity scents, and when they are done well, they can be delightful. They have gotten a bad rap because they came into their highest popularity a couple of decades ago just as the celebrity scent trend was really gearing up, and so many bad ones bearing the names of pop culture starlets and has-beens have come and gone in the interim. The basic recipe seems to be front-loading them with sweet, syrupy top notes to lure the impulse (i.e. young) buyer, after which the money runs out as the scent dries down to either a sugary mess or a cheap, plastic fadeout. Swarovski Edition does not fall into this trap, and I really like it. The fragrance was launched in September 2012 as an Eau de Parfum; I obtained mine via an online multi-bottle giveaway promotion sponsored by Swarovski via the popular online fragrance magazine CaFleureBon. The metallic snakeskin patterned column bottle, meant to evoke an expensive Swarovski evening clutch, gives its true intentions away when you realize that it’s heart-shaped when viewed from above. It is available at Swarovski boutiques, online at The Perfume Shop and presumably more sources in the near future.