Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rihanna Reb'l Fleur


Wow, this smells really great, actually; it smells like silky, honeyed coconut water with light, juicy fruits and barely-there-flowers in the mix. Yes, I am going to go ballistic the next time a black celebrity scent features coconut (I first addressed race and fragrances in my article, Featured Review: Naomi Campbell (plus commentary on perfume and semiotics of race), and I will follow up with a review of Beyonce Heat featuring a "macaroon" note shortly (here it is! Added on July 25, 2011: Coconuts!)), but perhaps coconut fits perfectly well here, a perfume with a specifically tropical (Barbadian) motif created for Rihanna alone, rather than to stereotype everyone, like Color Me Beautiful did in the '70s, lumping all "ethnics" together. I love this new coconut water note, and here in Reb'l Fleur, it's the most delicious I can ever remember it smelling, but please assign the note to someone other than an African American celeb next time! Coconut was a supporting note in Kate Middleton's wedding day perfume, Illuminum White Gardenia Petals, and it didn't hurt anyone to have a bit of sunshine in her sillage. A TV show doesn't have to place black music behind every black person on the screen. That would in fact be the definition of racist, wouldn't it?

And yes, I'm going to have to have Reb'l Fleur, an excellent, beachy summertime scent and maybe the best celeb perfume, ever. But if this is a Chypre as I'd read it was supposed to be, I say no way. Reb'l Fleur smells like a Floral Oriental to me, like the milky Kenzo Amour sans powder, with the sweet fleur d'oranger heart of Kenzo Flower and the transparent dewiness of Naomi Campbell and Cacharel Noa without any hint of enamel, glue or synthetic musk. It's a refined fragrance to me, every bit as well-rounded as Balenciaga Michelle (1979) and quite reminiscent of it. If coconut water is the answer to the question of how to tame the nouveau Chypre patchouli, I'm all for the marriage between coconut and Chypre - maybe they were always meant to be as one.

Related link: Madonna, Rihanna Team Up for Coconut Water Campaign - wn.com