Who are these people who shop designer resort collections? I imagine a group of jet setters who demand spanking white capris and sorbet-toned nail polish for their stays in Bermuda or Antigua or wherever the resort collection set go. They pack multiple bikinis, and they invest in gym memberships and waxing regimens so they look good in those bikinis. They have friends with magazine-worthy island homes whose casement windows are eternally open to the sun and sky-blue sea. They drink fruity cocktails on the yacht’s deck.
Sniffing Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection Eau de Toilette — whew! let’s just call it “Resort” for short — leads me to think that perfumer Francis Kurkdjian had a similar vision of this (to me, anyway) mythical community. Resort’s notes include orange blossom, jasmine, frangipani, fig, cedar and amber. It’s a well-heeled tropical party in a bottle.
Resort is at heart a fresh orange blossom fragrance with a restrained, slightly musky, weedy feel. It isn’t soapy or overly bridal. But if you judge Resort by its first few moments, you’d never guess it would settle down into such a nicely behaved perfume. At first spritz, Resort shouts with big, sweet, juicy mandarin and a tingle and exotic floral-fruity combo that had me thinking of guava or papaya until I saw fig among the fragrance’s notes. I wouldn’t have thought of blending the almost caramelized earthiness of fig with the tropical femininity of frangipani, but it successfully signals “tropical” and “beach” without the usual tricks of coconut and tiare. I bet Resort sells ninety percent of its bottles based on this fruity siren song alone.
And then Resort yanks down the volume. The fragrance hastily retreats to skin, and its fruity notes fly off to that disco of perfumed memory otherwise inhabited by limited edition Escadas. Resort is now a cheerful if not particularly memorable orange flower fragrance that purrs quietly along for a solid twelve hours.
Next to Elie Saab’s first fragrance, Elie Saab Le Parfum, Resort is playful and straightforward, while Le Parfum is bigger, more classically oriental, and more exotic with its wisp of incense in the dry down. Resort is what it says it is: a romp with good manners. (In comparison, Bottega Veneta Knot, another orange blossom fragrance, is mostly relaxed good manners, minus the romp.)
If you were to design a fragrance to encompass your idea of a relaxing getaway, what would it smell like? Mine would probably have notes of gin and novels.
Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection Eau de Toilette is available in 50 ml (£47) and 90 ml ($98) sizes and is available in higher end department stores.