New Fragrance: Marni Rose - I Kid You Not (2013) {Perfume Review & Musings}


Marni Rose is the newest launch by the quirky and haute Italian fashion label, succeeding the orginal Marni released earlier this same year. While the debut fragrance seemed to me a bit restrained compared with the zany house aesthetics, the new Marni Rose picks up speed and gets more interesting. It is not simply Marni + rose but a true, full-on rose composition...

The eau de parfum opens on a comparatively rarer red-rose accord - as opposed to pink - full-blown, lush, petal-y. The floral accord is very dynamic conveying the visual sensation of watching a rose opening up its efflorescence like a whip uncoils. It reminds me of the opening visual in the Martin Scorsese movie The Age of Innocence. The rose is operatic, ruby-colored and centrally poised to catch your attention. You are not smelling a deconstructed rose but a va-va-voom one, a romantic pean to the queen of flowers thanks to a combination of rich Bulgarian rose essence and rose absolute darkened by cassis and made more coquettish thanks to raspberry and violet. Woods prolong its impact. It smells interestingly salty like preserved rose petals in gros sel

Marni Rose is thus a departure from the more toned down original. The rose note instills power and emotion within a composition which felt more urbane and restrained the first time around to the point of coming across as dullish, to this nose. 

Perfumer Daniela Andrier has also made the rose quite feminine thanks to makeup scent accents which are derived from her Prada work Rossetto about the scent of lisptick. Underneath the naturalness and freshness of the rose accord is a layer of cosmetics olfactory cues hinting at pressed powder, blush, lipstick and all things girly.

What Marni Rose has in store for you also is an exploration of the rose-oud pairing alluded to only as an "esoteric woods" accord of, officially, patchouli and cedar wood. It is dual, a bit Oriental, but not too overpowering nor obviously exotic in its stylings. It is like a well adapted version of a potent genre. If oud can signal excess, here it is used for intensity effect without escaping incontrollably the rose territory. This said in reference to the kinetic aspects of oud which can mimic the sinuous coils of a python or the leap of a panther in the atmosphere; the oud-y scent feels intense but does not feel predatory or on the prowl. Marni mention cardamom and mint nanah as the notes that are used to create a sensation of "saturation". 

Somehow you get the feeling that instead of the famous rose-patchouli accord which is so ubiquitous today and in fact iconic of the period we live in, the exercise has transmogrified into a rose-oud one at the forefront of the fragrance while a transparent, fractioned patchouli still supports the composition sweetened by a swirl of white vanilla.

The perfume noticeably flirts with a hippie rose redolent of cannabis and hemp but it is less central a project as in Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne which is much more beatnik-y. The 70s facet here is slier, hiding beneath a good veneer of bourgeois appropriatness although after some time, it feels like the pearl necklaces are flying in the air crashing of boredom against the mirror of appearances as an earthier, wilder and more carnal personality pierces through. This effect brings up the personality of Miuccia Prada with whom Daniela Andrier has worked for so many years now and for which she has done some of her best work by her own admittance. I see how Miuccia Prada is acting as a muse behind this perfume. 

As a designer composition, Marni Rose smells exactly like the sum of the experience it relies upon, without second-guessing on the part of the perfumer. Destined to be a mainstream rose perfume,  it is strongly informed by a more niche approach to perfumery. Hence the overdosing, the intensity, and the reference to Flower Power counter-culture where some caught nuances are a bit illegal-smelling like oud harvesting and remnants of weeds. Headshop fumes lately have been reapropriated by alternative perfumery thanks to a few fragrances feeling the nostalgia for a bygone era. 

The fragrance could be more lasting as power seems to have been chosen over longevity where you expected more of a match between intensity and prolonged lastingness.  If you are interested in rose perfumes though and even more so if you love them, this is absolutely one to try. It takes you for a ride. It is not psychotropic, yet retains a wild-side, shaking the status quo under its cashmere twin set. 

Top: mint nanah, cardamom oil, bitter almond, cassis / heart: raspberry, Bulgarian rose oil, rose absolute, violet / base: patchouli, cedarwood, musk. 

You can read 4 Rose Perfumes in Search of an Ideal Across the Market Spectrum; Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours; The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose

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