Fancy Nights by Jessica Simpson is the third fragrance by the pop music star following up on Fancy (2008) and Fancy Love (2009.) This time around, we are forewarned that the perfume is particularly sensual.
While I cannot deny the work that has been done on a deepening of sensuality, what strikes me even more than this velvety atmosphere are rarer things such as a sense of humor and a certain spirit of anti-conformism.
Labeled as a spicy floral oriental, Fancy Nights is one of those fragrances that are not just an inert addition of notes that will smell pretty the way a perfumery trade card look. It reveals a certain psychological depth and sense of dynamism...
Right along the material perfume notes of citrusy bergamot, papyrus, patchouli, Bulgarian red rose, Night Blooming Jasmine, creamy vanilla, soft sandalwood, amber and oakmoss, you'd need to write: a good dose of humor; playfulness and a spirit of independence. I am almost tempted to use the word "wit" but it wouldn't fit completely as I do not sense that indispensable pinch of more or less surface cynicism that you need to add before you shake it and get the mix called wit.
This is not the perfume made by someone observing Jessica Simpson from a distance Oscar-Wilde-like by pulling a well-rehearsed line written on a folded paper from his pocket - Wilde was a dreadful histrion and left nothing to chance - but rather a fresh pop art portrait of Jessica Simpson painted by perfumer Steve de Mercado which additionally captures well a more general American pop-culture ambiance. This may sound odd, but to me there is very much of an Independence-Day accord in this perfume.
Fancy Nights opens on a patchouli- and opopponax-rich accord with a delicious fresh bergamot counterpoint, a contrast reminiscent of Shalimar by Guerlain. But where you would expect some dignified notes to follow, instead a deliciously impertinent peach note with a hint of pink bubble gum creates a sense of mischief.
The perfume is both deeply oriental and pleasantly playful like a cross between an Orientalist novel by George Sand and a colorful comic-strip book. There is something terribly banana-boat about Fancy Nights, in the best possible sense of the term.
The slightly overripe accord of nocturnal excess relinquishes to let you smell more clearly a rich vanilla ice-cream-soft-serve accord underneath the noble notes. Fancy Nights is nocturnal and velvety and serious but also extraordinarily child-like. It is a bit like watching an attraction park with neon lights popping with colors and huge popular appeal from behind dark velvet curtains edged in gold. The perfume manages to translate well the improbable meeting of two contrasted worlds. In the press release, this contrast is what is alluded to it seems when Frederick E. Purches, Chairman and CEO of Parlux Fragrances, Inc. says that the scent
"is, as always, a reflection of Jessica Simpson herself, accessible of course, but now more sensual and alluring."
Perfumer Steve de Mercado, to my nose, has interpreted the wish for the perfume to be "accessible" very much in the sense that an amusement park is accessible.
Fancy Nights is like the quintessential scent of a pop princess crowned with gold smelling the incense burned at her feet by her adoring fans while she tranquilly pops fruity chewing gum in her mouth.
I find the duality of the composition very attractive while it also reveals a great sense of playfulness. It illustrates moreover an American virtue or cultural trait, that of not being afraid of mixing genres and cultivating idiosyncracies.
The fragrance will smell great for those who like deep, classic orientals with an overdose of patchouli. It will please people especially who like vanilla and patchouli and fruits served with a tongue-in-cheek attitude.
The Indonesian patchouli and papyrus make the scent smell quite a bit like the patchouli in Réminiscence patchouli. The red rose and night-blooming jasmine do not stand apart as floral motifs but contribute to intensifying the perfume thanks to their rich nocturnal floral notes. The vanilla is particularly lush, which makes the fragrance be part for me of the Big Vanilla Trend of Fall 2010.
Fancy Nights is quite intense and deep a brew but it never feels dated thanks to this vertical accord of playfulness and that devil-may-care, gum-popping attitude of the girl who will enjoy wearing Fancy Nights.
Prices: $59 for 100 ml and $49 for 50 ml. Available at Macys from July 2010.