Sensual fragrances are a dime a dozen, but this new one from Kenzo Parfums stands out with its fun approach. JACLYN GUNASILAN reports from New York.
Kenzo Jeu d’Amour L’Elixir EDP, $175 each.
Sex sells – especially when it comes to perfumes. Sure, we wear them for a range of reasons – as the finishing touch to a perfect outfit or to boost our confidence – but the relationship between fragrances and sensuality is most definitely an undeniable one. In fact, this connection dates all the way back to 41BC, where, apparently, perfume played a role in one of the most famous seductions in history. It is said that Egyptian queen Cleopatra, in the hopes of seducing Roman politician and general Marc Antony, had the sails of her ship specially perfumed before setting off to meet him, so the winds would carry her scent to him even before he ever laid eyes on her. And that link between scent and sexual attraction still resonates. Perfume ads are often filled with images of alluring men and women with smouldering gazes and tousled hair in provocative poses. French beauty brand Kenzo, though, adopts a more playful approach with its Jeu d’Amour (French for “game of love”) perfume range, choosing to approach love with a sense of humour and adventure. Centered around a young couple playing an impromptu game of strip poker in a Cuban dive bar, the campaign for the range has a hint of spirited friskiness – think playful, sensual flirtation – that is a far cry from the sexed-up, glamorous perfume ads we’re used to seeing.
A FRESH PERSPECTIVE
Patrick Guedj, creative director at Kenzo Parfums, shares: “At Kenzo, we don’t talk a lot about seduction; it doesn’t usually fall in our territory. But at the same time, we wanted to get into the seduction game because it’s a huge part of wearing perfume – we just had to find our own way to do it. We felt that the Kenzo way was to do it in a playful, not-too-serious way. So that’s [how] the name of the perfume and the strip poker concept of the campaign came about.” The range launched in 2014 with Jeu d’Amour EDP, a light and woody tuberose scent with fruity hints of pomegranate and mandarin. This was quickly followed by the introduction of Jeu d’Amour EDT in 2015: a sparkling, fresher version of the original. Spiked with notes of white florals and pear, it smells just like a fresh bouquet.
SEXY, NOT SERIOUS
Now, the brand is launching its most intense addition to the range yet: Jeu d’Amour L’Elixir. “This perfume is still playful and fun, inspired by the same story of a woman playing strip poker in Cuba. But [in terms of how it smells,] it’s a whole lot more voluptuous and sensual than the original,” says Patrick. Created by perfumer Daphne Bugey, Jeu d’Amour L’Elixir features a host of richer-smelling additions, including caramel, rum, blackberries, patchouli and vanilla, giving it a creamy, sultry quality that its predecessors lacked. A fragrance that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it eschews the heady florals, musk and spices normally associated with sensual fragrances. Deliciously sweet and intense, it smells like a strong rum cocktail with hints of fruit. The best bit? It lasts all day (and then some) without coming across as cloying or overpowering. A word of advice: go easy on this fragrance – two spritzes will do – as it has an impressive sillage (scent trail). Wear it out on a first date (like I did) or a girls’ night out, and wait for the compliments to roll in.
Karim also designed the sculptural bottles in Kenzo’s Amour range.
Most of Karim’s designs follow the same fun, bold and contemporary aesthetic.
A SENSUAL DESIGN
A playful, sensuous scent deserves a flacon with a corresponding design, which is why New-York-based designer Karim Rashid – whose work spans across multiple industries, from luxury goods to product packaging, furniture and architecture – was tasked with creating it. After all, the 56-year-old is known for his curvaceous, colourful and out-of-the-box designs. “[When it comes to designing] in the world of cosmetics, the beauty of it is that you’re really trying to create beautiful things with very little function,” he says. “In the case of the Kenzo Jeu d’Amour L’Elixir bottle, you’re seeing a statement of the brand and the [perfume] in a little sculpture.” Like the other bottles in the Jeu d’Amour range – which were also designed by Karim – the deep purple L’Elixir flacon is a perfect match for the scent’s playful boldness and boasts Karim’s signature aesthetic of soft, sensual lines reminiscent of the curves of a woman’s body.
“This perfume is still playful and fun, inspired by the same story of a woman playing strip poker in Cuba. But [in terms of how it smells,] it’s a whole lot more voluptuous and sensual than the original.” – Patrick Guedj, creative director at Kenzo Parfums