Zara is a Spanish fashion brand, famous for having made high fashion styles accessible to the demos. It was founded by Amancio Ortega Gaona, a notoriously reclusive personality, a fact that did not prevent him from becoming the richest man in Spain. Zara, in particular, is known for its exceptional turnover rate as new designs are brought into the stores in a matter of days and sold out or replaced equally swiftly, as need arises. The Zara boutiques usually receive new clothes twice a week. According to the Independent (May 23, 2001),
"Zara has never conducted an advertising campaign. Word of mouth, and the rapidly changing clothes on offer, seem magnetic enough for customers to come flocking through the doors. The company owes its success to swiftly identifying stylish catwalk trends and bringing them to the high street at a fraction of the cost, within days."
Zara partnered with Puig in the past to introduce several fragrances starting with Zara Woman, Zara Man and four limited edition scents called Zara Textures in 1999. The fragrance line was originally set up by Carlos Benaïm and Alberto Morillas. The perfumes were created by Rosendo Mateu. In 2003 I Homme was launched. The brand this year released 6 new fragrances in the beginning of 2008, three for women and three for men: Rosa Bulgara, Flor de Azahar, Lirio de Agua, Sandalo, Vetiver, and Ambar, which are all part of a new line of perfumes called Agua Perfumada. The Perfumed Water line is also made by Puig.
The spirit of the range is described as being "classical, minimalist, and elegant", according to Look 4 Fashion. Perhaps in keeping with the company's motto of proposing affordable versions of high-end patterns and materials, it is not surprising to notice that the packaging for the new perfumes resemble in shape and size the line of Les Exclusifs by Chanel......
Rosa Bulgara: A Real Simple Rose
Mercifully, if the compositions of the fragrances we tried, the women's, are simple, they are nothing to sniff at. Especially, we thought, the Bulgarian Rose fragrance, which ranks high on the simple-charm factor and offers a well-done quality of barely-there scent. If simple scents can sometimes smell a bit crude, this is not the case here. It is a particularly mellow, soft, and tender rose composition, which could smell just like the trace of a shower gel, in that it is slightly aqueous, except that one can perceive a more structured character that puts it in the camp of perfumes. After a while, and as it smelled familiar, we realized that it smells like a more virginal, simplified, and whispery version of La Rose Jacqueminot by Coty.
The scent is so discreet, if you apply lightly, as to become a bit mysterious and ineffable. Another good point we thought is that the natural metallic facet of Bulgarian rose essence, which can be a bit harsh, seems to have been surgically removed with precision. What is left is both a very low-key scent and a round, subtly full one. The texture is slightly fruity, woody, and transparent, but not cold, with a soft glow contained in its heart. Effusive green and rosey notes are followed by petals in 3-D before gliding into softly understated woody, fruity (berry), and watery notes. The longer drydown is delicate, like a murmur, with a note of white musk and some suave jasmine. It is simply delectable, like a discreet piece of silk lingerie, and we think could please even persons who do not like rose perfumes. People who are looking for baby-like fragrances should also check it out. It would also make a perfect fragrance to wear when you want to pretend you are not wearing any perfume but in fact are.
Top note: magnolia petals; heart note; Bulgarian rose; base note; sandalwood.
The two remaining ones we just tested in-store. Flor de Azahar is an all-out orange blossom perfume which is very close to Pure Poison by Dior but with more of the simplicity of the Spun Orange Blossom by Gap.
Top note: orange leaves; heart note: orange blossom; base note: white musk.
Lirio de Agua or water iris starts with a wonderfully rich citrusy burst that seems to promise a walk in the garden of the Hesperides, but which evolves into a green watery floral scent a little in the direction of Chance Eau Fraîche by Chanel.
Top note: mandarin; heart note: water iris; base note: sandalwood.
The men's fragrances, although mentioned, are not shown on the Zara site.
The 200 ml size is priced at $35 and the smaller one at $25. The Eaux de Toilette are available in the Zara boutiques.