From drapey, flowing maxi dresses to gladiator sandals, it's pretty clear Greco-Roman fashion has been the order of the day for at least the past few years, and it looks like it's hit its peak. Some say the look is bringing femininity back into style, but I say it's all part of the on-going Classics trend which includes the emergence of Roman-themed TV series and men's retro style of the French Riviera in the 30s and 50s. On the fragrance front, we've seen the return of Chypre perfumes (such as Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Miss Dior Cherie, Gucci by Gucci) and perfume launches with trendy references from the obvious to the abstract such as Estée Lauder Mediterranean and Armani Code (code, as in law, from the Law of Hammurabi to Roman law). Pantone 2008 Color of the Year is a royal blue with purple tinge called Blue Iris. The iris is associated with the name of a Greco-Roman goddess, an emblem of Mary and the fleur-de-lis. It's an all-out ancient Greco-Roman revival, so put on your best goddess look this summer. Along with Blue Iris, reds and purples are a keynote combination for Fall 2008: check out more Pantone Colors for Fall 2008 at this link.
I'll just briefly review Armani Code for Women (2006) which I was able to test thanks to Marie-Helene of The Scented Salamander who'd kindly sent me a sample awhile back. It's a jasmine floral with some citrus-woody elements, juicy with orange notes but slightly bitter, spiced up with ginger, a bit vanillic but not sweet overall (probably not sweet enough for me which is why I never bought a bottle), also rather sporty for a perfume housed in such a flowery bottle. The point of interest to me was the abundant use of an indolic Sambac jasmine in this modern fragrance. It could also be the honey in this composition that gives it the retro animalic edge. It smells like a modern throwback to the classics in a good way, like Yves Saint-Laurent Cinéma. At the heart of the fragrance is another white floral alongside the jasmine: orange blossom, the scent which is said to fill the air in Sicily, a note I'm drawn to these days. Armani Code for Women is a follow-up to the Men's Armani Code (see below). (Edited to add) I tested it again at Sephora last night and decided I really like it. It reminds me now of Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie only not as aldehydic. It's also less sporty-aqueous than I initially thought.
The Men's version was launched first in 2004: Armani Code (originally Black Code, as in the Code Noir, a decree passed by France's King Louis XIV in 1685 which ordered all Jews out of the colony, forbade the exercise of any other religion other than "Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith", restricted the activities of free Blacks and defined the brutal conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire (source: Wikipedia)) is a wildly popular bestselling men's fragrance (FiFi Award winner). It is Giorgio Armani's first masculine oriental-style fragrance according to Basenotes.