The first thing that strikes me about Lovely is the unusual use of lavender and patchouli in such a light hearted context. This was no tutti-frutti fragrance as you may expect judging by the hundreds of perfumes (even more so with celebrity and drugstore fragrances) released recently. It had an original, elegantly rough edge to it. Lovely is modern chic, sharp like clean-cut like a tailored suit, yet flowing like a satin gown. It’s prettied-up only by an ornamental fabric rose - and more importantly, the bright smile of the person who wears it. Despite the fact that it does have florals, it is not floral in the traditional sense of the word. You don’t think of flowers when you wear lovely. If anything at all, you think of textures and fabrics such as crepe and linen and dull, brushed silk.
Now, about a year after its release, my patience to hold off a purchase has paid off: a new version has been just released. It’s the same fragrance, only based in an alcohol-free, silicone-based medium, and titled “Lovely Liquid Satin”. And liquid satin it is indeed. This formulation allows for a softer presence without the alcohol that usually interferes with the top notes, and also the bottle is truly lovely – a frosted, light pink hued bottle, or a golden “perfume wand” – a roll on of 30ml that fits into any purse or pocket. I am a big believer in small packaging for perfumes, so I was sold quickly on this one.
The opening of both formulations is a heady and clean, crisp mélange of rosewood, lavender and apple martini. The apple martini note is brilliant. It really adds an unusually vivid, effervescent quality to the opening and thankfully lacks the mustiness that some other apple scents uphold.* It’s boozy only in an elegant way – like sipping on the cocktail to appreciate the flavour, without getting drunk.
The Liquid Satin has a slightly different opening, in which I can detect top notes of lemongrass (which I do not smell in the alcohol based fragrance), which is sharp and grassy, but thankfully fades out rather quickly. The patchouli note is also more pronounced at the opening. I have a feeling that this silicone based version is more true to the original concoction made by Sarah Jessica Parker herself. It just has that authentic impression of a perfume enthusiast blending scents together that will bear her own character.
The heart notes are abstract florals – orchids and paper whites. Paper whites are not fancy silken paper sheets as I was almost lead to believe, but rather refer to a flower from the narcissi family - Narcissus Tazetta whose odour is described by noses as "Rich, thick and creamy, this warm fragrance envelopes you in a soft, floral jasmine like glow". I can’t say that I smell narcissus in there, but there is a light floral impression that is hard to describe. As I said – abstract.
These soft, ethereal florals bridge into an even more abstract base of highly processed patchouli (dry and clean rather than earthy and musty), amber and musk – together resulting in an effect that is very close to the skin. An original, clean musk skin scent, subtly surrounding the wearer with a mystifying aura that is clean and pleasant. I prefer the Liquid Satin over the alcohol based formulation. Although the scent is essentially the same, this version is softer and even more subtle.
Lovely has been compared often to Narciso Rodriguez, and while I agree that they are very similar, I still think of Lovely as an original fragrance. These are both light musk scents, very modern and abstract, with a suggestive floral heart, and an effervescent, boozy opening. But Lovely has a certain dry, almost rough edge to it that makes it stand apart and prevents it from looking like an imitation of Narciso Rodriguez (which I intend on reviewing very soon).
Celebrities and their scents come and go, but there is something about Lovely that makes me want it to stay. And if it wouldn’t stick around forever, I am certain it would be talked about and missed and longed for much like other old favourites that have disappeared into the abyss of discontinuation.
Top notes: Rosewood, Apple Martini, Lavender, Madarin, Lemongrass
Heart notes: Paperwhites, Orchid
Base notes: Patchouli, Cedar, White Amber, Musk
Bottle & pearls image from Nordstrom.com
*My nose finds that Be Delicious is the queen of musty apples, and I just can’t even sample it without thinking all the time of biting into a perfectly round from outside apple, with a completely rotten core; a disappointing experience I am not particularly enthused to experience the perfume version of.