L’Occitane has conjured up a woman who enjoys everything: Arlésienne.
The woman from Arles is quite a serious muse; she has beautiful satiny, powdered skin, velvet-soft perfumed hands, and irresistible lips. Her creativity has inspired artists (Van Gogh, Picasso, Bizet, and others). Her character has spurred the signature perfumers in Provence, L’Occitane, to create this light and pretty fragrance in line with their founding principles of "authenticity, sensoriality and respect".
It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of perfumes - and the blurb for this November launch conspires to send you giddily over the top: “In her wake, this woman leaves a distinct trace of her presence. You can still hear the whisper of fabrics, still smell the lingering trail of a new fragrance. Three floral notes, each one like a trait of her character, fuse together: the fiery temperament of saffron, the grace of rose, the mystery of violet.”
The descriptions continue with head notes of saffron and mandarin orange to bring bursts of colour and joie de vivre: “Radiant and precious, the saffron flower in full bloom introduces its sensual, peppery and spicy notes. Elegant and difficult to subdue, the Grasse rose at the heart of the scent is enhanced by a few sprigs of lily of the valley. The violet goes slightly astray, settling into enveloping, sensorial white wood.”
The vibrant packaging is all in seductive corals with gold. The 75ml Eau de Toilette bottle is designed by Olivier Baussan, and retails at £39. I always enjoy the window displays at these shops, which looked very chic on the high street in Paris during a visit last week.
I first discovered the perfumes of Grasse on a holiday in Marseille. Three years ago, I picked out the intense Amber and Jasmine single-note sprays and remember being very disappointed that the shop had run out of Violette, as it is so enticing. Arlésienne is a deeply feminine scent. It could suit someone in the bloom of youth or quite elderly and elegant.
The 250ml Shower Cream leaves a fresh lingering sweetness on the skin (£14). The Velvet Handcream is an affordable little gift at £8 for 30ml. Other lines in the Arlésienne range include Beauty Milk, Perfumed Soap, Body Oil, Hair Mist, Beautifying Powder, Solid Perfume and a Perfumed Candle. Try it at 23 East Street, Brighton, or online at www.loccitane.co.uk.