The Nina Ricci event in Paris last week was far from your average fragrance launch. From fluttering owls to a couture gown inspired by Cinderella, the ultra-feminine French brand put on a spectacular show.
It was in the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, a grand building in the heart of Paris, that the new scent Nina L'Eau was unveiled. We walked through a myriad of plush rooms, designed to be Nina's apartment, that each teased us with a different part to her latest story. Up a ginormous flight of stairs, grand doors swung open to reveal flower-covered swings, silver trees and rows and rows of the perfume's signature apple bottle.
In one of the rooms, we found this floaty floor-length gown made of silk muslin and covered in Chantilly lace. It took no less than 15 people 350 hours to make and was created especially for the campaign video. The ad sees Frida Gustavsson, the fragrance face, wearing the gown as she sweeps through a snowy maze, modern princess style [scroll down to watch]. 'She is elegant, natural and is the new, more modern Nina Ricci woman,' says Olivier Cresp of the Swedish model. 'She also has a beautiful long neck.'
Olivier is the man behind the new scent and has created all the previous Nina fragrances. 'The femininity and cool colour of the dress was one source of inspiration when I began creating Nina L'Eau,' the perfumer told us in his French lilt. So how does the fragrance-making process begin?
'Nina Ricci told me that they wanted a fresh interpretation of their Eau de Toilette with a sophisticated signature,' Olivier explained. So he began with frosted neroli for a fresh effect perfect for winter - 'I wanted to create the impression of a cascade of cool water.' The next addition was Gardenia to give the coolness a splash of femininity. Next apple blossom provides a fruity impression and finally, white musk is a smooth and comforting smell that ties them all together. 'I instinctively know what scents will blend well,' Olivier told us. 'When these four elements are combined, the combination is intoxicating and the result is a fresh fruity floral fragrance.'
But it was Paloma the Owl who stole the show. The beautiful bird is seen fluttering through the campaign video so you can imagine the squeals of delight when she arrived at the launch in actual life. Despite the owl's occasional flaps and sqwarks, we queued up for the chance to wear the hawker’s glove and have Paloma perched on our arm. Didn't we tell you this was no ordinary launch? Before we left Nina's apartment for a lunch of macaroons, we took the chance to grill Olivier on his top perfume tips…
Olivier Cresp's Fragrance Dos and Don'ts
1. DON'T store fragrances under hot lights in your bathroom as the temperature will alter the top notes, turning them sharper or more sour and sometimes musty. You should keep your fragrances cool by storing them in the fridge to prolong the scent.
2. DO spritz fragrance into your hair rather than all over your body. This will help the scent to last longer compared to quickly rubbing off your skin. It also means that when moving your head, there'll be a more natural waft of fragrance.
3. DO use a variety of fragrances for different occasions and seasons. A collection of five to six different scents is recommended.
4. DON'T wear a sensuous fragrance on your wedding day. Instead, stick to jasmine or rose-based scents for a romantic but not overly sexy aroma.
5. DO wear a warm fragrance for a first date. Opt for a spicy scent like pepper to excite his senses.
6. DON'T wear an overpowering scent for a job interview. Stick to classic, unfussy smells.