In creating a scent for a big fashion behemoth like Prada, it is appropriate that the fragrance maintains a coherent link with the image of the house, for the simple reason that the average consumer likes to attach themselves with the narratives and biographies projected by these entities.
It is unfortunate that the focal basis of my reviews do not rely on a perfume’s ability to represent the style of their house, be it a fashion designer, independent, or niche brand. I remind myself of the fact that fragrance houses’ owe us, reviewers, nothing. It is up to us reviewers to construct the criteria in which we judge perfume, and while these values are there to be discovered, explored and then reviewed by us from the fragrant subjects themselves, they are in no way uniform.
My attempts at reaching objectivity ultimately came to a standstill when I began to appeal to historical features and precedents, and in that way the only reliable standard I can use relies on a compresence of well sort out archetypes of noteworthy scent. I will reiterate once more (from an earlier post) that the very definition of value provides us with our downfall in using value!
Considering the Prada brand and aesthetic in reference to Infusion d’Iris reveals a consistent set of values between brand and product. Prada is an intelligent brand that places emphasis on the product being designed meticulously and reminds us of that with every single advertisement across all the different mediums. Infusion d’Iris in that regard does not fail, and draws us back into the Prada aesthetic within the scented medium. It is an iris subject to intense modernism, on the edge of impersonal and metallic industrial postmoderism, all while maintaining its gaze back into the realm of classicism.
© 2016 Liam Sardea
In using iris, perfumer Daniela Andrier is already able to capture a classical tone to the work. In emphasising lucidity through minimalism (not absolute minimalism, rather, simplicity with adequate substance), Andrier is able to capitalise on this association with classicism by moving the white into a blurry yet legible soft grey tone. This is created with an intelligent addition of notes, in which neroli, orange flower and vetiver is included, that then present an impression of clean, sheer, and freshly laundered white musks. This is a statement on luxury: Infusion d’Iris smells of expensive soap. Consider it narrowly and one could potentially find waxy, lipstick iris qualities, however that to me is olfactory illusionism: the musk mimics this effect.
While the clean musk is present from the outset, Infusion d’Iris begins with an equally legible zippy, lightly effervescent top note construction of soft pastel citrus: mandarin and bergamot combine with soft citrusy florals, moved temporarily with the unctuous green of galbanum.
Without an apparent base to the fragrance, Infusion d’Iris relies on a firm construction of its parts, namely its top and its heart. The base is invisible, translucent at best, and has notes which easily move and saturate into the upper registers of the fragrance. In that way, the scent is airy and floating: cedar is a base note that finds itself moving into the heart of the scent (and if ISO-E is used in this composition, then my point exactly), clean soapy vetiver competes for attention but merges pleasantly with the iris giving it counterpoint, whereas Somalian incense presents an icy, fluid-like quality to the scent permeating it in its entirety, moved and contrasted with the fuzzy warmth of benzoin. Grey yet luminous, perhaps almost there, and certainly not sparkly. One part Shepard tone and two parts art gallery music, and perhaps a dash of William Orbit, Infusion d’Iris is a clever expression of cleanliness, androgyny, and simplistic minimalism without moving into bare boned transparency.
Intelligently put together, balanced, all while managing to exist in the middle of the iris/orris spectrum, where No. 19 is just that bit too shrill, Iris Silver Mist icy and metallic, and Iris 39 wonderfully demanding, Infusion d’Iris is a functional perfume: never grand, opulent, or baroque, but an artful, chilly olfactory representation of aesthetics, which in itself is typified by cool and sleek design – an approximation between intelligent watercolour impressionism (too languid), and bolder, heavier brushstrokes (too emotionally involved). Definitely cerebral, and most certainly, indubitably Prada.
Alternative: No. 18 by Chanel
Subjective rating : 4/5
Objective rating: 4/5