Back in September at Pitti Fragranze, when the show opened, I was first in line to talk with Carlos Huber of Arquiste. He was still getting his area ready and looked more 70’s sexy than when I’d met him, a year earlier at the same Florentine venue. This was primarily due to his moustache that just happened to fit, oh so perfectly with the 70’s theme for his new perfumed duo, the feminine Ella and masculine Él.
Huber’s inspiration for these perfumes is Armando’s Le Club in Acapulco, of which his father was a fan, in the 70’s. It was here that the jet set flocked to party by the pool with cocktails and loved up, slinky, funky disco. Huber showed me some photographs that conjured up the essence of the perfume. Think Slim Aarons visuals (like the one below), women adorned in Halston’s low necklines with plenty of shimmer and shine, a backdrop of a stunning bay and glorious sunsets and you’ll get how Huber envisaged Ella. Huber also imagined a Latin girl with honeyed cinnamon skin wearing the perfume throughout the day, heating the scent macerating on skin.
Ella EDP : Arquiste: Nose : Rodrigo-Flores Roux : 2016 : Classification : Chypre, Floral, Spicy : Notes include : Cannon ball tree flower (curupita), Angelica root, Carrot seed enriched essence, Turkish rose, Jasmin absolute “vintage crop”, Cardamom absolute, Black buckwheat honey, Ambergris, Patchouli, Civet, Vetiver, Cigarette smoke accord, Chypre accord.
Ella was one of my favourites at the Pitti show in September. It lasted on skin the whole day from around 10.30am until well into the evening. It’s a well crafted, beautifully blended addition to the Arquiste range and adds a more full bodied, voluptuous womanly option into the mix. Plus Ella smelt really different to what was on offer at Pitti. It adds a touch of sexy allure to the brand that was not missing exactly but wasn’t brought to the fore.
Rose and jasmine hold court in Ella but not in the traditional mannered French style. There’s something slightly off kilter here that immediately captured my interest. It’s the cannon ball tree flower that provides an unsettling, yet intriguing counterpoint to the glossy florals. Now I have never smelt the flower but apparently when the rounded fruit hits the ground the sound is extremely loud and thus the cannon nomenclature. The plant can be found in many countries around the world and is a member of the Brazil nut tree family. The scent of the flower has similar green facets to hyacinth and I love this mash up with rose and jasmine.
The blend of rose, patchouli and spice is to the forefront for a while and in my mind references 70’s perfumes. Well the few that I know anyway. Aromatics Elixir immediately sprung to mind when I was testing Ella and when I was looking for other reviews for reference I was pleased / relieved to see that it had also been mentioned by The Silver Fox and Grain de Musc as I was wondering if I was on a crazy tangent. I’m not saying that Ella smells like this exactly but it has a vibe that is similar for me, although not as relentless in its intensity.
The perfume sweetens a little as it wears and ripens into a more womanly scent. It’s not at all girly. Honey enters the scene and the animalics come in but we’re not talking scary civet here, the touch is light and not as fully skanked up as other perfumes like Rendezvous from Dawn Spencer Horowitz. Ella is lightly animalic with touches of cigarette smoke and increasingly resinous as it winds down.
The progression in the perfume is like a night out at a club where the smell of mingling bodies starts to heat up and the sweet smell of fragrance makes way for a more sweaty vibe with touches of smoke. This is a flirty perfume but one also that has a sense of being lived in, of having soul. It’s a modern chypre with some looseness wound in. Yes it has retro references but I like to think this is one of those perfumes that makes a modern splash and adds something new to the perfume landscape. It smells unlike any other perfume I know and that’s a great thing as it’s one of those scents that fills a gap you didn’t know existed. Ella is also a perfume that is made to last the distance. This is a scent that fits both day and night but if I was wearing it out and dancing (like I did in my younger years) then I would spray this lavishly, maybe even a little lavisciously for endurance.
Huber told me that anything Donna Summer would be a perfect accompaniment for Ella. I’m thinking Bad Girls with a dash of Hot Stuff. Great work from Carlos Huber and Rodrigo Flores-Roux and another beautiful perfume after last year’s Nanban. These two are on a roll.
The Low Down : A lived in sexy floral chypre that plays retro yet has a smile on its modern face.
For Where To Purchase : Please see the Arquiste website for further details. A 100ml bottle is US $190.
Notes : Images : Featured : Arquiste : Carlos Huber and myself at Pitti, Photo of Ella : Megan In Sainte Maxime : Aramando’s Beach Club : Slim Aarons : Marie Helvin : David Bailey : Donna Summer album cover
Disclaimer : Sample gratefully received at Pitti Fragranze from Arquiste. Opinions my own.