To me one of the best ways of mentally preparing (ie getting excited) for a summer holiday is through perfume. There is nothing quite like a spritz of something sexy or sensual to immediately teleport you to your sumptuous holiday location. I’ve already highlighted one of my all time favourite holiday fragrance ads here, but I wanted to share a few others. Not all of them are overtly ‘holiday’ or obviously ‘summery’ but they are all distinct, heady, fresh or sun setting over ocean and lush green leaves sexy.
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First, Renee Jasmine. I have the roll on perfume oil version of this niche Australian perfumer’s Jasmine range and can I tell you it is divine. Imagine (and this is what it’s all about of course) it has been a hot, hot day. Heavy rainclouds looming low in the sky but refusing to break. Heat bouncing off the concrete. The streets are quiet, it is late in the day and the light is just beginning to dull – not darken, not dim, but dull in the way it does as the sun dips lower in the sky. Your skin is warm and when you touch it, it feels damp, moist. You are wearing a white cotton dress which sits loosely over your body. You are walking down an old laneway, lined with wooden fences and the bricked backs of old Victorian terraces, and there are passionfruit vines, lemon trees and figs arching over the backs of fences. And then you smell it – the jasmine, yielding under the heat but holding its own. The sort of highly fragrant, wild jasmine which blooms across the oldest suburbs in the heat of summer. The sort of jasmine which has been growing and blooming in city laneways for years. This is Renee Jasmine.
Then there is Gucci Envy. Not an obvious holiday choice at first but believe me she is perfect for a redolent summer sojourn. I bought this fragrance without even trying it on impulse a few years ago. The sleek, minimalist bottle and clear plastic packaging seems more urban, utilitarian than lagoon-side holiday. When I first spritzed this I was uncertain. Envy smelled – and felt – too green, too wet, too cool on my skin, which until then had preferred warm ambers and rich florals. She warmed down nicely on my skin, leaving traces of gentle white flowers and subtle jasmine, but I was not convinced. Strangely though, I found myself packing her for my honeymoon, on an idyllic eco island in Vanuatu. And I was glad I did. Amid the island’s humid layers of air, full-bloom frangipani, green jungle surrounds and perfect aqua water, my romantic florals and sexy ambers were too much. They made me feel at odds with my beautiful, sumptuous honeymoon surrounds. But Gucci Envy – she came into being in this environment. Still subtle, still at once gentle and quietly sexy, she came alive here. She is the perfect summer fragrance; not too green, too fresh. Not too floral, too pretty. She is vine leaves and light flowers. She definitely, most definitely sexy. But its a different kind of sexy – it is a raw, natural, humming just under the surface sexy. Not knock your socks off but creep up on you with a soft touch and whisper in your ear.
Now, I know I just said that Gucci Envy is not an overtly sexy fragrance and that this advert for the scent suggests the opposite. That is Gucci though – Gucci is always strong and opinionated and sexy, but in a stylish, fresh way. What I love about this ad is that amazing jade green background. On first glance the ad does look overtly sexed up but look a little longer and it is as fresh and unfettered as I imagine the actual fragrance to be. There are no excessive bells and whistles, no unnecessary detail. It is clean, slightly bronzed, warm skin. Messy hair. Clean, strong lines and colour. Note the warm coral-red nails. Yum.
Now Hermes and Annick Goutal know how to do perfect summer holidays. Hermes Un Jardin en Mediterranee is so lovely. The style and colour of the bottle for one thing – the weightiness of turquoise at the bottom of the bottle and the clearer glass at the top is just like the shallows of a pristine bay or rockpool. The watercolour box is clean and pretty and slightly nostalgic. Like Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief- in her first scene where she appears in a sky blue gown, tanned, polished, bare skin, and minimal makeup – just groomed brows, a slick of black mascara and a wonderful deep raspberry lip stain. Un Jardin en Mediterranee is like this scene – always tasteful, always perfect (in true Hermes style) but never overdone, never too put together. Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien is (to my nose) a little more luscious, a little denser. If it were a time of day, Eau d’Hadrien would be a little later than Un Jardin en Mediterranee. A deeper gold sunlight punctuated by warm lemon rinds and fresh herbs. But both aptly describe a rich Mediterranean summer. Summers strolling about the Mediterranean require a relaxed, elegant looseness. They require the slight sheen of subtly tanned skin. They require lips and cheeks to be flushed and luminous but not powdered. They require the perfect summer dress and wedges, and at dinner, the perfect light, diaphanous gown. The French know how to holiday.
Last but not least is this fragrance – and this ad – which makes me want to run to the closest marina and hijack a white sailboat. I wrote about my love of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue previously, here. Look at the colour of that water – I can smell the grit of the sand, the warm salty air. Again, it is a relaxed, organic, but utterly chic holiday. The clean white shirt, damp with ocean water, rolled and twisted carelessly. The cool foiled bronze colour on her eyes. The dark, perfectly groomed brows, and the glisten of water and perspiration along her belly. It is all subtly glamorous but does not try to compete with the natural glamour of the water and the cliffs and the sunshine. It is at one with it. Life is perfect in this (summer holiday) moment.
See more holiday inspirations here.
What are your holiday fragrances?