Jimmy Choo EDP is the very debut fragrance of the luxury shoe brand. It was long in the making, in the sense of having been announced very early on in 2007 for a spring 2009 release which was pushed back to a winter 2011 one. Will it be capable of generating as much excitement as a pair of Choos? is probably the aim of the label. The bottle, inspired by Venetian Murano glass and red-carpet-ready high heels studded with crystals is pure eye candy. The pinks are delicately vintage. The rounded flacon offers the heft of a paperweight. The cap is a nice, moody blue-black and sets an angular contrast with the faded rosy glass of the honeycombed flacon. The scent creation itself was entrusted to perfumer Olivier Polge who is becoming more and more of an established signature in the fragrance industry.
The composition is, beyond its image, one of those Russian-doll fragrances with several famous accords embedded in them which aim to cover all bases or nearly all of them while carrying the mission of making sense to a wider spectrum of the population. The final kicker is that there is even an unadvertised oud note in it which sparkles instead of smoldering, as is more usual. Jimmy Choo EDP was developed under the supervision of creative director Tamara Mellon who says that she loves to wear perfume and is actually posing for the advert. The scent is said to be wishing to create an "aura of strength and beauty" for the Choo woman; smelling the perfume you see how they did that. The perfume is a bit edgy, but also mucho trendy. It is lifestyle-oriented rather than a work of art. It also taps into Polge's anterior work for other brands, in particular Balenciaga and Viktor & Rolf...
The concoction officially positions itself as being "a fruity chypre, with warm, rich and woody nuances. Modern women inspired it: it is strong, powerful, replete with seduction, combining mystery and an assertive sexuality," although it also surprises you with its aldehydic personality meant to inject a good dose of attitude to the perfume and the woman who wears it. Fruity chypres offer a new twist this year as far as I can tell from my recent encounter with Reb'l Fleur and now Jimmy Choo EDP. They are being used as the language of immediately approachable elegance. Since the fruity-floral medley is considered easy, integrating this association into a chypre structure is a way of adding sophistication to a likeable pair. What I notice is that these recent fruity chypres prefer to go back to a more classic mossy feeling rather than continue to enrich the rose-patchouli neo-chypre lineage which was devised in the past few years to salvage the genre due to IFRA regulations. As substitutive mossy ingredients have been found, there is a return to classicism in chypres.
Notes: green notes, pear nectar, sweet orange from Italy, Tiger Orchid, caramel, Indonesian patchouli.
The perfume opens on a citrusy, floral and fruity bouquet with nuances of nail polish and / or brash indoles found in certain jasmine fragrances. The initial accord then glides into a vanilla and aldehydes pairing which feels warm and soft on one level and hard and odd on another one. Smelling the perfume "blind", not knowing what it is supposed to be, makes you realize better what an unnatural entity it is, like for many other perfumes, and in particular the ones which develop a significant aldehydic facet with no easy-to-identify corollaries in the natural world.
Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum does not seem to want to smell nice or pleasant at first but a bit hard-edged. Given the focus of the brand, the strange smell of aldehydes and / or cold indoles, may be seen as an attempt to recreate the scent of patent leather shoes fresh out of their boxes. Foot fetish alert here.
As the perfume wanes, the aldehydes soften but still remain a bit obnoxious like it is their nature to be when overdosed. They can stir up trouble in a bottle when they become a key ingredient. It feels a bit as if Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden had been remixed with vanilla and fruits but not so much as to be smothered by sweeter notes but rather so as to bring a new tonality to the aldehydic note. The "Blue Grass" allusion is also one I spontaneously associated with Olivier Polge's Balenciaga Paris and I made the connection once more in this case before knowing the perfume was signed by Polge.
As Jimmy Choo EDP continues on its course, a rounder ambery body surfaces. But barely. The aldehydes keep their sharp edge, purposefully.
Going back to the Choo universe, one might well think that the fragrance was designed for people who like hard pumps. If one day they do a perfume for Ugg, then it will be all mushy and pliable and fatty, but Jimmy Choo eau de parfum is structured. The aldehydes, it seems, were used to keep this sense of steely construction and hard materials. We are all now waiting for Christian Louboutin to launch a perfume smelling of red soles.
The third phase of the perfume is when the fruity-floral facet takes more center stage and goes more in the direction of an osmanthus motif warmed up by amber and deepened by prune-y touches. The list of notes mentions a Tiger Orchid.
A fourth phase reveals the rosy gourmand accents of Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf. A fifth phase betrays the presence of an esteemed chypre, Choc by Pierre Cardin, which I had incidentally been planning to review. A sixth phase is a surprising combination of fizzy aldehydes with raspberry-scented and oh-so trendy oud recalling here M7 by Yves Saint Laurent but also Nina Ricci Deci-Delà.
Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum makes the interesting choice of tapping into the heritage of aldehydic pefumes as signalling elegance and femininity in a conquering way. With Chanel No.5 around, one might assume the choice is not that revolutionary, but still, it feels like the aldehydes in the fragrance were treated as a statement accord, expressing a will to differentiate the perfume from the tamer trends, probably also in an illustrative effort of the smell of new Jimmy Choo shoes. The drydown of the perfume is prune-y, casting aside the harder facets to embrace the nature of an ambery oriental. Here the legacy is that of Femme by Rochas in particular. The ambery caramel is never foody but adds further roundness. The mix of oud and aldehydes in the end is delicious, unexpected and musky. The projection of the perfume is as its most unmistakable, that of a chypré.
Because the perfume is a lifestyle fragrance, it does not aim to be uncompromising and driven by art. On the contrary, it rather makes me think of a TV set with many programs on it to be watched on a given day. I also used the jukebox analogy in the past. In a certain sense, Jimmy Choo was created for entertainment purposes. Like an olfactory TV or radio, it broadcasts different, contrasted effluvia that will keep you happily occupied and surprised throughout the several hours of wear. It smells really good in different ways. If it is mysterious, it is so in the sense of borrowing from the nature of a cameleon. It shuns consistency and integrity. It embraces pluralism and loves to cherry-pick trends. It is very much à la page while managing to keep a distinct personality. The Choo perfume is probably a great embodiment of what a fashionista is all about: mixing styles, her own way.