The mood at Valentino’s spring/summer 2016 post-presentation party is electric. And it’s not just because the champagne at Paris’ Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild is flowing or the fashion royalty in attendance includes Alber Elbaz and Valentino Garavani himself. The crowd buzzes around Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, mobbing them with congratulatory air kisses for their edgy collection, the latest in a roster of fashion wins since taking over as creative directors in 2008. There’s lots to celebrate: The atelier is also launching its new eau de parfum, the floral oriental Valentino Donna.
Veteran perfumers Antoine Maisondieu and Sonia Constant had Kanye levels of creative freedom during the year-long process, but they wanted the scent to represent the complex and often contradictory Valentino woman: “strong and fragile” and “determined and delicate.”
How exactly do you translate that into a fragrance? Channelling the “Valentino spirit” was key, explains Constant. To that end, she says, “we used only the most aristocratic ingredients.” The source: mostly Italian, naturalmente. Bergamot from Calabria lends the fragrance its fresh opening citrus accord, and it dries down into a floral, a combination of Iris pallida from Florence and three types of rose extract and patchouli. “Rose has been my fingerprint since I started perfumery,” says Constant. “So for Valentino Donna, it immediately came to mind...it’s a symbol of femininity.
The Fellini-esque campaign, which was filmed in Rome, reflects this vision. In it, French-Spanish actress Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey plays an elegant woman walking home through a maze of cobblestoned streets after a glamorous night out.
Coming home is just how Maisondieu and Constant felt when they perfected Valentino Donna. “It was like a tension in our brain disappeared,” says Maisondieu. “It was this magical moment.”
We’d almost call it electric.
Valentino Donna Eau de Parfum Spray ($135 for 100 mL), available at Hudson's Bay, thebay.com