Frida Kahlo said “I paint flowers so they will not die.” I say I wear flowers so they will not die. Right now I’m particularly delighted by this season’s floral scents after a recent early morning stroll through the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. It was lovely to take in the colorful beds of botanicals, where blossoms in endless color combinations take shape. I thought about Frida and wondered what she might have painted here.
Shopping for a new spring scent—or three—gives me the same thrill. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a new fragrance can uplift my mood and spirit. I’m not going to get too New-Agey on you, but I’m always inspired by the way a floral note unfolds on the skin. It’s why I’m ready to leave behind heavier ouds and earthy patchoulis and reach for lighter, airier perfumes now.
The newest perfume launches are floral-based, as expected, and some are sweetened with candied notes while others smell like freshly spun cotton candy—and not in a good way. I skipped the latter in favor of these decidedly elegant and memorable new scents, each of which offers a sophisticated twist to familiar smells:
Giorgio Armani Si ($75)
The notes of a crisp, green pear settle well into a citrus base of Italian bergamot, mandarin, and neroli oil. This is a well-constructed and unfussy scent that starts off bright and ends with a feather-light touch of musk that last for hours. Great for wearing anytime and anywhere.
Aerin Rose de Grasse ($185)
Here are three layers of velvety smooth roses—Rose Centifolia, a Rose Otto Bulgarian, and Turkish Rose Absolute— which smell polished, clean, and intensely feminine. Watery notes will soften the heart of even the most hard-edged rose haters; the perfume never turns sickly sweet.
Jimmy Choo Blossom ($100)
Sweet pea and a mélange of juicy red and citrus berries form the kind of scent you sniff next to the Victoria’s Secret counter and then worry you’ll have a massive migraine by the time you get home. This take feels far more luxurious. It was love at first whiff for me.
Salvatore Ferragamo Emozione ($95)
Florentine iris gets a fresh take here with gentle peonies and white peach notes that are surprisingly versatile. Even though this scent is marketed for a woman of a certain age, I think it’s ageless. Its musky base livens up the sweeter notes, making it a signature scent contender.
Kate Spade Walk on Air ($95)
Lily of the Valley lovers will rejoice. Dewy notes dominate the scent of magnolia and jasmine in this subdued but graceful fragrance. Super easy to wear at the office, the perfume is so offbeat and lovely it’s going to get a lot of time on my skin.