Marni Rose was launched in 2013 as a flanker to the label’s eponymous first release from 2012, which itself was a rose-centered creation taken into the spiced territory. Both Marni and Marni Rose were formulated by no other than Daniela Andrier, the nose behind many contemporary fragrances, known for her translucent, watercolored work. Marni Rose was envisioned as a more intensive version of the pillar fragrance and, as advertised by the label, with a focus on the spicy and dark aspects of Bulgarian rose.
Today’s perfume under discussion seems to start right at the middle, with a prominent rose note adorned with subtle hints of citrus fruits and what seems to be a fractioned cardamom oil that has as the center of attention its hesperidic aspects rather than any of its camphoric, spicy or even sweaty characteristics. It’s cardamom without pungency which ultimately makes it hard to distinguish as cardamom, or any kind of spice for that matter. Supposedly, there is also mint but to my nose it is undefined, manifesting as sheer cold greenness.
At this point, it makes me think of a rose, not a particular variety, bathed in water with lemon rinds floating around. It is fresh, in full bloom and leafy. The rose itself, which is intended to be the Bulgarian kind, does not seem to have discernible honeyed or clove-like nuances like Bulgarian roses do. In fact, it feels closer to an abstract rose constructed to be as near to a diluted rose extract as possible, comparable in spirit to Balenciaga’s Rosabotanica from 2012.
Some minutes from the first spray and a raspberry undertone appear accompanied by the faintest violet note which stays perceptible for an extended period of time. This rose construction lays over a bed of woody notes, a dose of patchouli, and dominant musks. In terms of longevity, Marni Rose has great staying power on the skin and nuclear capacity to adhere to textiles with the half-life of the most enduring isotope of uranium known to humankind. The projection is mild but it will certainly accompany you through a day.
As a whole, Marni Rose is a perfectly balanced rose scent interpreted through a contemporary lens. It is not a spicier or darker version of Marni as advertised, but it successfully materialized the vision of an intensified version of the original, taking into account that the main note intended to be amplified was rose and no other. For anyone looking for a current, watery take on Tea Rose or a muskier, more refined version of Jo Malone’s Red Roses, this would be a good option.
Now, all praise aside, I must confess that as a Marni release I find it underwhelming. You see, Marni is an Italian fashion house founded in 1994 by Consuelo Castiglioni and her husband. Right from the beginning, Marni marched to the rhythm of its own beat, avoiding the clichéd vision of femme fatales, sexy dressing, or anything that theoretically meant dressing up for others. Instead, it focused on individuality and highlighted a particular kind of femininity: a woman who dresses for herself and no one else.
Consuelo Castiglioni favored offbeat designs, clashing patterns, quirkiness, weird proportions, sculptural draping and artsy accessories. Over the years the brand established itself as a high fashion house. The pinnacle of Italian luxury, it became synonymous with cerebral but playful dressing suitable for businesswomen, editors, art dealers, and bohemian artists alike. Consuelo became part of a group of incredibly influential women designers, along with Miuccia Prada and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons –a fact that was cleverly pointed out in an article from Vogue which I currently fail to find.
These three ladies built their brands on individuality, often based on their very own personalities, life experiences, and points of view, something that is palpable in everything they design. Prada’s first fragrance, for instance, now known as Prada Amber, contains a hefty dose of patchouli because Mrs. Miuccia used to wear patchouli oil back when she was a young political activist. Rei, on the other hand, has released tremendously unconventional perfumes, one after the other, following her ethos of nonconformity. Kawakubo doesn’t even care if we like what she releases.
Marni’s first fragrance did connect with the brand’s eccentricity, albeit somewhat obscurely, with a slightly unusual proposition of spices and woods, lacking the tiniest pinch of sweetness. According to reports, Marni’s original perfume was overseen by Consuelo herself, which leads me to the conclusion that the result is the consequence of her tastes. On the other hand, Marni Rose does not deliver individuality, eccentricity nor the unexpected and there’s no explanation as to how it fits into the brand. Even the abstract and artificial Rosabotanica mentioned before connects very well with the Balenciaga house which at the time, under Nicolas Ghesquière’s creative directorship became the definition of mid-century sensibility projected through a prism of futurism.
Daniela Andrier did a marvelous job at formulating a sophisticated, well balanced, and transparent musky rose. It is a perfectly fine offering for the contemporary market which can be enjoyed by anyone who is attracted to fresh, verdant roses. But, if I take into consideration that it is in fact a Marni release, I can’t help but feel unimpressed, no matter how much I try to deter from judging the fragrance for anything else other than how it smells.
Name: Marni Rose
Concentration: Eau de parfum
Nose: Daniela Andrier
Release Year: 2013
Category: Musky rose
Reviewed Batch: circa 2013
From personal colletion.