In 2003, Fifth Avenue smelled like flowers. It was the trail left by many New Yorkers as they walked at a brisk pace through the streets of Manhattan. But that year, and in that city, Narciso Rodríguez presented For Her and, as he did with the wedding dresses that are not worn by ornate princesses, he changed the rules. For Her had musc (musk) and olfactively it was a sophisticated chypre. When you put it on they asked you what you were wearing because he was different from everyone. He was not born discreet. It was one of those bets that hits the key to anticipate desires that are not yet known to exist. And, like the things that the American designer of Cuban and Canarian origin likes, time has run in his favor.
Musk is the common thread running through Narciso Rodríguez’s fragrances, as well as the new one, Musc Noir Rose, although in this one it is less obvious and shares the spotlight with the always sensual tuberose. It is a perfume with strength, like its fashion, always liked by powerful women, real or fictional.
Musc Noir Rose, elegant sensuality
“If Musc Noir Rose were a piece of clothing, it would be a light combination with layers of black chiffon and pink silk,” says Narciso Rodríguez. Tuberose, voluptuous and accentuated by oriental vanilla, is allied with a creamier musk. “It’s more sensual and less dark than Musc Noir, more floral and less woody; there is more vanilla and less leather”, explains the perfumer Sonia Constant, who signs the two creations“ It is a more intimate and addictive aroma, with more luminosity”, she comments. Bergamot, which makes its debut in Narcissus, gives freshness to the top. Musc Noir Rose, by Narciso Rodríguez
EDP 100 ml, 126 euros
Michelle Obama relied on her dresses for big occasions, like Barack’s swearing-in as US president in 2008, or his farewell speech as first lady. She also signs many of the clothes that Robin Wright wore as president in the series. House of Cards. And yet the dress of her life was made for her muse and friend, Carolyn Bessette, when she married John F. Kennedy jr. in 1996. Rodríguez had already gone through Anne Klein, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Cerrutti, and was about to arrive at Loewe but the slip dress Carolyn’s minimalist bias cut definitely catapulted him to stardom.
Narciso Rodríguez’s New York studio is full of books and photographs that he sometimes cuts out in the shape of a dress. He likes to collect things, and that includes his impeccable designs, which he keeps in neatly organized cabinets. He loves travel, architecture, his twins Ivy and Caleb… He doesn’t make long speeches, he speaks shyly and it seems that he is very sentimental. The perfumes, with his alchemy of emotions, speak for him. “For a perfume to last over time, it has to be unique and a great dose of passion cannot be missing among its ingredients,” he says.
Musk is the common thread of Narciso Rodríguez fragrances
What interests you most about a perfume?
The feelings that it is capable of evoking, the sensations that it awakens. The way it can change your mood or make you feel an emotion while inhaling its scent is magical.
She has dressed charismatic and powerful women like Michelle Obama, Rachel Weisz, Charlize Theron, Claire Underwood from House of Cards… Does a perfume also empower?
A fragrance can empower and inspire confidence by making you feel good. Perfumes have been seducing and inspiring us in different ways throughout the centuries.
Do you give perfumes to the important women in your life?
I usually give perfumes to all the people I love, and that includes many women who have been muses or inspiration to create them.
It is the most intense form of memory. What is the last thing that reminded you?
I was wearing cedar and musk in the middle of winter and it reminded me of the beach and warm sunny days.
What is your first olfactory memory?
My first and longest-lasting memory of smell was of a gardenia bush at my aunt’s house that was covered in flowers. She cut them up and put them in vases around the house. The color, and the strong and thick aroma of these flowers fascinated me.
I remember the For Her show in New York, when it was all flowers and musk was out of fashion. You were daring… Why did you choose it?
Musc has fascinated me since I was little and has always been present in my life. It is my favorite scent above all others. When I suggested using it as the heart of a fragrance many were surprised, but in the end it was an interesting challenge to create. It has a unique depth, is mysteriously sensual and remains at the heart of all my fragrances.
A fragrance can empower and inspire confidence by making you feel good”
It seems that he avoids the ephemeral, an adjective that is often linked to fashion.
I prefer things that are pragmatic and timeless. Beautiful things that are very well made, well valued and carefully designed. Art, fashion, perfume, architecture… Everything must stand the test of time.
Architecture is one of your passions and your bottles have an architectural touch. Were you inspired by a building?
Mies van der Rohe’s Seagrams Building in New York is always a great source of inspiration.
What role does color play in your perfumes? Their lacquered bottles have been declined in black, pink, white, red and now they let their juice be seen…
Color has always played an important role in creating my scents. Red for passion, black for mystery, pink for femininity. The Musc Noir bottles and the new Musc Noir Rose are translucent, pure and delicate. In the latter, the color of the perfume and the veiled effect of the bottle express the fragility of its nature in a new way.
What do you like most about Musc Noir Rose?
Musc Noir Rose’s subtle sexuality is, to me, its most beautiful aspect. It is delicate but exudes a warm sensuality and that contrast makes it unique.
Musc Noir Rose is the second chapter of the For Her family: a new face, a new bottle…
Carmen Kass’s original black and white portrait captured a timeless and lasting moment, as well as a powerful, beautiful and positive message about femininity and grace. Those ideals are still alive and have converged in the current portrait of Lola Nicon. Lola embodies the woman of today.
Do you still have those impressive wardrobes with models that you have designed throughout your career?
I have a nearly complete archive of every collection I’ve designed over the last 20 years, including shoes, bags, accessories, as well as the sketches and inspiration from which they came.