I don’t know about you, but I’m just about ready for summer right now. I miss those endlessly sunny days basking in the expansive blue of the skies and revitalising glow of the sun – those long roof-down drives with Kylie blasting from the stereo and the lively summer breeze. Oh, it’s just me with the Kylie, you say? Whoops, lost you there, sorry! Anyway, summer is still a way away (a long way away, but I don’t mean to labour the point), so in lieu of any actual sun or heat, now is a good time to spritz on something tropical and dreamy to transport our frozen brains to much warmer, and less grey climes. Fragrance has always been the most successful travel agent, after all.
Lebanese fashion designer, Elie Saab obviously feels the same way as I do and he has created just the thing to remedy those winter blues – Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection. Created in conjunction with legendary perfumer (and all-round dude), Francis Kurkdjian (the man responsible for all Elie Saab fragrances), Resort Collection takes its name and inspiration from Saab’s 2015 resort collection of clothing. As that would suggest, this is a fragrance that has been created to evoke “the Amalfi coast, the salty taste of summers spent on its shores and sleek luxury yachts gliding across the sea”. That sounds rather pleasant, doesn’t it? I certainly could go for a trip to the Amalfi coast right about now, and I’m sure you wouldn’t say no to the same either. Thankfully for us, Resort Collection does exactly what it promises to and takes us across the seas to a wonderful getaway – all without the hassle of having to go to the airport!
“The fragrance is released in waves like a warm gentle breeze caressing the face of a woman who stands on the deck of her yacht wearing a stunning long dress in a shade of blue that is reminiscent of the sea. It is a fleeting but intense moment filled with nothing but harmony.”
– Francis Kurkdjian
Top: Fig and Mandarin
Heart: Orange Blossom, White Jasmine and Frangipani
Base: Amber and Cedar
How Does it Smell?
Most beach-y perfumes rely on sticky cocktails of tropical fruits, coconut and suntan lotion accords to be evocative of idyllic getaways. These crutches are a little tired and most definitely hard to swallow, often getting caught at the back of the throat in a mass of cloying sweetness. Elie Saab’s Resort Collection disposes of these cliches and approaches the genre with a heck of a lot more class than many a tropical fragrance could ever wish for. By dipping into the idealised colours of the coast – the deepest azure and the brightest, most gleaming white – Resort Collection presents the idea of a dreamy getaway that is undeniably rich, both in resources and luminosity. In short, it represents a holiday many of us would like to go on, but few of us could afford.
Resort Collection opens with fruit, but not the passion fruit, pineapple or mango that one would expect. The surprising star here is fig, a fruit that is evocative of rich delicacies and ancient Greece. Fig is an interesting note with a number of unique facets. It smells bright and tart, with an underlying smoothness that can only be described as milky. There’s also a sharp green quality to it that is often evocative of dry leaves and bark. In Resort Collection the fig is mouthwateringly tart, with just a hint of that milkiness in the background and a sharp strip of green to keep things at the lower end of the sweet scale. Overall, the fragrance isn’t a powerhouse, but in the opening stages the fig top notes give it a very present and large fleshy feel that is delightfully bold. This presence perfectly represents that palpable excitement one feels as they step off the plane and into the sunlight. It’s simply dazzling.
Elie Saab’s original Le Parfum was all about orange blossom, and lots of it, appearing as a remarkably radiant fragrance that is evocative of lens flare and golden sunlight. Resort Collection retains orange blossom as a signature note, but the colour dial is definitely switched up high enough for that warm glow to become bright, white UV rays. In fact, the heart is a veritable party of hot white flowers where the orange blossom ‘gets on down’ with the hot and fleshy indolic sweetness of jasmine and the tropical dew of frangipani, creating a waxy heart that gives the impression of perfectly buffed and bronzed skin in a cool summer breeze. It’s the best part of the fragrance and it feels so comfortable, so ‘St Tropez’ that it’s difficult to smell it and do anything other than smile.
As Resort Collection settles, one notices soft waves of musk pushing through the flowers. Again, this is where the fragrance verges from other scents of the same ilk, opting for subtlety rather than an obnoxious presence. Things have come a long way since that forceful fig in the opening and the base very much feels like an ode to a relaxing day in the sun – a musky skin scent that lingers close to the body. The musk is cool and tinged with the scent of intense white petals, but underneath all of this there is a subtle warmth thanks to the pliable woody nature of cedar and a splash of vanilla. In the end, Resort Collection hums a soft tune of musk, flowers and wood that clings to the skin much in the same way that the salt of the sea does. It ultimately feels enriching and revitalising, just like the restorative nature of a good time spent away from the hubbub of everyday life.
Since Resort Collection landed on my doorstep a few days ago, I have found myself coming back to it time after time, not just for the purposes of compiling this review, but because it really is quite gorgeous. I admire how Kurkdjian (a true talent, that one) and Elie Saab (another remarkable talent) have managed to create a consistent line of fragrances that feel luxurious and modern, and most importantly, completely in tune with the fashions of the designer from which they take their name. Resort Collection is no exception. It’s masterfully executed, incredibly forward thinking and a perfect representation of the designs within Saab’s very own resort collection of clothing. Not all of us will be able to claw together the adequate number of coins to spend a month on the French Riviera or the Amalfi coast, but this perfume is ultimately more accessible anyway, so who needs France or Italy when they can have something that smells this exotic?