It used to be the other way around: popular perfumes would be knocked off by functional products. Then cosmetic scents started trickling up into fine fragrance. But to my knowledge, Nuxe is the first skincare brand to translate the smell of its cult product into a fine fragrance.
Pretty good call, actually. For the past two decades, Frenchwomen have been slathering their body and hair with Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse, and for good reason: in its square glass bottle, this moisturizing oil is chic enough to look like a fine fragrance to start with, and above all, it smells like endless summer.
Prodigieux, le parfum, was composed by Serge Majoullier (Mane) who also worked on the scenting of L’Huile. The notes given out by the press release are bergamot, mandarin, orange blossom, rose, gardenia, magnolia, vanilla, coconut and a mineral accord. The scent is mainly the same tiaré-frangipani blossom-coconut accord as L’Huile, with a touch of soapiness from the magnolia. It also, oddly, manages to reproduce some of the fattiness of the smell of its template. I'd place it in the same ballpark as Roberto Cavalli for Her, which also has the static, oily spicy lactonic floral smell of an upscale tanning lotion with SPF2.
Prodigieux, le parfum will certainly go down a tropical storm with Nuxe aficionadas, especially since it can be picked up along with the peerless skin and hair care products sold in French pharmacies, and favored by many Frenchwomen. Hundreds of slightly over-tanned, sexy Saint-Tropez beauties (or wannabes) will doubtless be wafting it next summer in the beach clubs.
Illustration: Romy Schneider and Alain Delon in a still from The Pool by Jacques Deray (1968)