On The Nose
I promised ye a fragrance post, so goshdarnit, you’re going to get a fragrance post! As you all know by this point, I love giving colognes and perfumes as gifts. It’s a little luxury most of us love to indulge in, but often are afraid to actually shell out for during the year. Instead, scents typically end up on our holiday, birthday, or occasion wish lists, with hopes of unwrapping something to tickle our olfactory glands. This year I thought it’d be nifty to rundown the coolest fragrance gift ideas – with a twist. Everything highlighted in this post is a little off the beaten path of your typical fragrance. Read on to find out why!
Vince Camuto for Her & Him – $65+ @ The Bay
The Innovation: Perfume inspired by footwear?
The name Vince Camuto may not be a familiar one, but I’m betting the most famous brand he helped launch – Nine West – certainly is. Over the last decade, Camuto’s self-named fashion industry manufacturing / consulting group has worked with thousands of legendary lines including the likes of Tory Burch and Banana Republic to elevate their fashion-forwardness. This past year, he also released his first ever fragrances, both of which draw inspiration from Camuto’s own background. The women’s scent features an elegant fretwork-crest bottle design, and an extremely wearable scent with an urban mix of vanilla, rum, and leather. the men’s leather-encased bottle also draws inspiration from one of Camuto’s favourite fabrics (that would be leather), alongside other spicy masculine tones of wood, black pepper, and surprising splashes of florals like osmanthus nectar and Bulgarian white rose. Because the name isn’t quite name brand, these are great choices for the fashion insider that are both universally appealing and standalone exotic – you won’t smell this on every gal or guy walking down the street.
Closer by Halle Berry – $35 @ Drugstores Nationwide
The Innovation:Man, I smell like a woman!
Menswear is an enduring fashion trend for women, so why not migrate it to your fragrance? Halle Berry’s latest offering does just that with this woodsy, masculine-tinged scent that’s uplifted by lush tones of fresh fern and water lily. It’s surprisingly sophisticated and unusual – I can honestly tell you I haven’t really smelt anything like this one before…except maybe after disentangling myself from a hug with the fiancee; where I can still smell my own perfume, but also catch a residue of his.
Comptoir Sud Pacifique – $40 for 30 mL Spray @ Sephora / Euro Perfumes
The Innovation: The beach is but a spritz away…
Truth be told, this French brand has been kicking around for over 35 years, but that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to discover in their latest line of easy breezy singular fragrances. Instead of stacking layers upon layers of complicated fragrances, these perfumes are delightfully focused with just a few notes to create scents inspired by the tropics. If you’re looking for a day by the ocean, try out Aqua Motu, which counts ocean accord and warm sand amongst its tightly-wound layers. Want to envision sunblock and and catching some rays? Try out the Coco Extreme or Vanille De Coco. Craving a healthy bowl of fruit salad in the morning? Curb your hunger with a quick spritz of Vanille Abricot, or go for the luxe extremely focused variation of Vanille Extreme. The scents are way-affordable and so light, they can actually be worn in combination with one another. They also make for a great choice to pack in your favourite snowbird’s luggage: after all, if you’re in the sun, you may as well smell like it right?
Thierry Mugler Angel ‘Brilliant Star’ 20th Anniversary Edition – $110 @ The Bay
The Innovation: Star light, star oh so bright!
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Thierry Mugler’s beloved Angel fragrance, which famously put the sweet in spritzer with its mix of cotton candy, caramel, honey, dark chocolate, and patchouli – to name just a few of the dozens of sugary notes you’ll discover with every whiff. Despite variations and evolutions of the fragrance from year-to-year, the original remains endearingly popular, so much so you can actually refill your precious star at a Thierry Mugler counter at The Bay stores nationwide, instead of shelling out for a new bottle whenever you inevitably run out. Because of the anniversary hoopla, tons of special gift sets and alternate versions of Angel have once again hit the shelves, but I’m drawn to this Swarovski-studded bottle. It houses the classic scent, but stands out as a true representation of the dreamlike euphoria you’ll have once you take smell for yourself. So pretty, and the reusable factor makes it a worthy investment (and standout vanity display piece!)
Victoria’s Secret Angel Gold & Bombshell Bling Fragrances – $45 – $59
The Innovation: From the runway to the bedroom!
One of my favourite parts about browsing the Victoria’s Secret store is the fact you can truly feel head-to-toe sexy thanks to their uber-desirable lingerie complementary line of perfumes and body care products. Channel your inner ‘angel’ with the brand’s two newest offerings, both of which are riffs on already popular VS scents. Angel Gold is booming with confidence thanks to its bright citrus notes (like orange creme and kumquat) and intoxicating florals (like gardenia and peony), all capped off with a creamy mix of base notes including musk, vanilla woods, and golden amber crystals. Not only can you spritz on the perfume, it also comes in a fun shimmer compact to give your body a healthy glow and a delicious scent. Meanwhile the brand’s other signature scent Bombshell has been given a sparkling, limited-edition holiday makeover with this rhinestone-bedecked bottle. This particular scent takes cues from an Asian inspiration, including lychee, passion fruit, and ginger lily for a hypnotizing scent. Makes a great pick for your party girl best friend!
Marc Jacobs Dot Gift Set – $85 @ The Bay, Shopper’s Drug Mart and Sephora
The Innovation: Asian-inspired invasion anyone?
The newest standalone scent from Marc Jacobs’ successful line of fragrance outings is precious upon first glance: the sweet ladybug-inspired flacon with rubberized butterflies channels the loopy design of his super sweet Daisy fragrance, while the polka dots add an extra dash of girliness. But what does it smell like? Truthfully it’s got a surprisingly oriental exotic scent, with juicy red berries, speckled pitahaya fruit, and tropical coconut all fighting for dominance over a bed of clean white florals. The resulting scent feels like it’s been snatched from the school bag of a fashion-forward Harajuku girl, replete with the requisite anime-artwork design. This holiday season you can sample it for yourself with this uber-cute value set, featuring a shower gel, body lotion, and eau de perfume so you can keep the scent close all day long.
Nicki Minaj Pink Friday – $59+ @ The Bay
The Innovation: Genius in a bottle.
If I’m being super honest, one of the niftiest things about Nicki Minaj’s debut perfume is the ultra-funky fembot bottle. Although Minaj joins a legion of chanteuses before her in the realm of branded perfumes, hers quite possibly wins top honours in the design department for being able to show your fan-love through self-image style. When you pop off her head, what do you smell? As you may be able to guess by the cotton candy pink ‘wig’, a big bowl full of exotic fruits – like pear, mandarin, and star fruit, all drizzled with a sugary caramel note, as though you’re having the ultimate decadent brunch.
By Kilian Discovery Set – $220 @ Holt Renfrew
The Innovation: I wear my perfume at night…
Luxury perfume house Kilian released their L’Oeuvre Noir collection back in 2007 – a series of dark, dramatic perfumes inspired by late night cocktails, intoxicating love affairs, and a splash of party girl (or boy, as it were) fun – all of which are now housed in this beautiful ivory box. Ten travel-sized perfumes (some for men, I might add) allow you to sample away based on your mood or your preference. Once you’ve found a favourite, simply put it on your wish list for future gift-giving.
Chloe Bianca Solid Perfume Necklace – $75 @ Sears & Holt Renfrew
The Innovation: Better lock it in your pocket!
If your lady is pining for jewelry but you’re afraid of setting that dangerously slippery slope of a precedent, meet her halfway with this ingenious locket from Chloe. From the outside it simply looks like a glossy designer-signed necklace, complete with a delicate silver chain and a soft blush enamel case that punches up pretty much any complexion or outfit. On the inside? You’ve got yourself a gorgeous helping of Chloe’s signature rose-tinged scent in the form of a solid perfume that can be applied to wrists or the decolletage for when she’s feeling a little flirty. Elegant, timeless, and universally flattering, this is a must-have gift that’s both unexpected and multi-functional.
I really could go on, but I figure that’s enough of a snapshot of the neat and new fragrance goodies lining the shelves at your favourite department or drugstore. I’ve also got some love to share with you – I’m giving away a Chloe Bianca Solid Perfume Necklace to one of my readers. Here’s how to enter:
1) Leave a comment by December 27th with your favourite fragrance innovation I highlighted here.
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 28th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Spread the word! You can Tweet up to three times about this awesome giveaway over the contest period – just leave the links to your tweets in the comments below.