It's funny how my brain will absorb and retain information from fashion-and-beauty magazines when I'm getting so forgetful in some other areas. When I heard that Serge Normant was planning to release a fragrance, I nodded sagely to myself and thought, "Ah yes, Julia Roberts's stylist." I'm not even a Julia Roberts fan, so why do I know and remember this fact? Obviously, the ink used to print women's glossies has some sort of peculiar chemical-bonding effect on my brain.
In any case: stylist Serge Normant's first fragrance is Avah, a composition of ylang ylang, jasmine, amber, soft woods, and musks with the tagline "Enter the exotic." It's formulated to be worn on hair as well as skin, which makes sense for the brand. The name "Avah" supposedly means "desire" and "life," although I haven't been able to track down that etymology. (Let me know if you have a better idea of its origin!) In the "making of" video for Avah and its ad, Normant mentions his interest in making women look (and smell) "sexy without hitting people over the head" and he describes the scent and its visuals as having a style of "rawness with a little touch of sophistication."
That all sounds just about right. Avah opens with some ylang ylang, but most of the fragrance is a linear pairing of creamy jasmine and warm musk notes. The musk actually reminds me of the "Egyptian Musk" oils sold by street vendors and health-food stores, although it's been cleaned up considerably for Avah. The musk is still slightly raw, and the jasmine is more sophisticated, so there you have an olfactory match for Norman's artfully "undone" hairstyles. Avah stays close to the body and has somewhat low staying power for an Eau de Parfum, but you're probably meant to apply it more lavishly than I did and, furthermore, it's probably intended to be a "skin scent." I'd guess that Avah is geared towards women in their later twenties and up, who can afford high-end hair products and have outgrown their taste for berry-and-vanilla-scented personal care products. Avah is "sexy" in the same way that Normant's flowing, subtly highlighted hairstyles are sexy. This isn't my own style (for fragrance or hair), but I can understand its wide appeal.
Avah's formula balances its alcohol base with the addition of jojoba, aloe vera, and vitamin E, which would make it less potentially drying to hair. Although, I have to say, it always mystifies me when women put their hair through the processes of coloring, chemical straightening, etc. and then they worry about the effect that a spritz of perfume will have; really, is it going to cause more damage than dye or even a flatiron? This sort of question reveals that I'm probably not the target market for Avah. However, if you do follow Normant's tress-aesthetic and you like the idea of a jasmine-and-musk skin scent that you can wear all over, give Avah a try this summer.