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Marni – Great bottle, Big Love – March 22, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Fragrantica - Marni bottle

Have you ever bought a perfume because you love the bottle? I did a double-take when I strolled by a new display at the front of Holt’s perfume area a couple of weeks ago, because the little bottle on the plexi stand had total “star” quality.

A rounded tea-cup shape, it looked well-made and expensive with its little red enamel cap, artfully trimmed with gold lines, and the black “eye-liner” around the top edge of the bottle, which was clear shiny glass decorated with small satiny-white polka dots. It had a kind of quirky elegance that drew me in, and demanded that I touch it, pick it up and give its contents a little spritz. The shape and weight of it felt good in my hand, and the scent that greeted my nose tipped me over the edge into a bigger love.

Marni is the name of this fragrance in the A-plus bottle, and it was launched just last month. Marni is an Italian luxury fashion house known for its eclectic-cerebral, euro-bohemian approach to design, which appeals to women who don’t/won’t follow mainstream directions. Consuelo Castiglioni is the designer, her husband Gianni is the CEO, her daughter Carolina runs the online store and special events, and together the family trio have built a successful $100 million global business that they own and control 100%. They don’t advertise - they have no celebrity endorsers - but colourful, assymetrical, textured, patterned, tribal, flowery, polka-dotted Marni pieces are often seen on fashion-forwarders like Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhal, Kyra Sedgwick, Cary Mulligan.* Those in-the-know know about Marni.

The scent, by design, has the same off-beat aesthetic. It seems it will develop in a predictable way, and then veers off onto different paths. The opening is pale green and fruity with unripe apples and pears – mixed with tart citrus and a hint of berry-sweetness. It takes on that delicious champagne vibe, sparkles up the nose, tart sensation on the tongue, heat from ginger and cardamom, but before this accord develops the typical mainstream fruity sweetness, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg mix with foresty cedar, and set it on a different path into the heart.

The heart is roses, rosebuds still planted and unfurled, with green thorny leaves, reminding me briefly of the earthy quality in Vouleur de Roses. The roses start to bloom, releasing their unique floral spiciness, then are softened by incense and powdery musk, and deepened with rooty vetiver, woody cedar and patchouli. Marni evolves into a fragrant woody scent with warmth and darkness, but which maintains a restrained quality, giving it the lightness of a soft veil on the skin. From crisp green fruit through natural spicy florals to woods and herbs softened with incense and musk, Marni travels it own path and ends up smelling expensive, with a youthful intelligence, very well-crafted and extremely well-designed,

It’s not a surprise to learn that Marni was created by Daniela Andrier, who is also the nose responsible for the two fabulous unique designer scents, Martin Margiela Untitled, and Prada Infusion d’Iris, plus the more intense version, Prada Infusion d'Iris Eau de Parfum Absolue. It’s also not a surprise to learn that Consuelo Castiglioni knew exactly how she what she wanted her fragrance to be perceived: “The perfume reflects Marni’s fashion, certainly. Because it’s a perfume that’s quite individual, that doesn’t evoke anything in particular. It’s for a woman who dresses for herself, who doesn’t follow trends but is sophisticated and also maybe a little eccentric" (WWD)

Marni has a classic feel, a timeless elegance that makes it extremely wearable. It’s not quite as against-the-mainstream-grain as the Marni clothing line, but it is definitely different, and has a vibrant niche sophistication that makes it appealing, and easy to claim as your own.  The artful little bottle is no accident. It makes a promise and delivers a scent that seems to plant it in the “Big D Designer” category, in my book. Its name is Marni, but I think Audrey would have happily worn it. 

Marni is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

*(Background on Marni from Wikipedia).