Vivaciously Bold by Diana Vreeland

The late, great Diana Vreeland left a lasting legacy of fashion, boldness, and vivacious spirit, and that all lives on in her namesake fragrance collection. It’s also in good hands, as these fragrances are as rich and varied and bodacious as the fearless woman was herself. For the winter months and holiday time I use the sandalwood-centered ‘Absolutely Vital’ – which also employs Turkish rose and Egyptian jasmine for its richness. As I perused the fragrance counter at Neiman Marcus the other day, I noticed a bright new addition: a lime-green bottle called ‘Vivaciously Bold.’

The literature for this one called it “a luxurious vetiver with an audacious cocktail of citrus zests. A bouquet of pettigrain, orange flower, and jasmine creates the ultimate fantasy floral finished by a daring accord of sensual musk and the finest vetiver.” While I’ve never been the biggest fan of vetiver, here it works quite well. Traditionally a masculine scent, vetiver grounds the floral fantasy into something wearable, and Ms. Vreeland’s take on cologne is what reportedly inspired this one: “I think men’s scents are wonderful… They have such character and are so marvelously clean.”

This is very much a spring/summer fragrance, with its crisp citrus opening, and it manages to pull off a neat trick that most fragrances can’t: it disappears somewhere in the middle of its trajectory, falling off wherever you sprayed it for a brief time, before reappearing later on. I’ve never experienced that sort of magic before, and it’s something to keep in mind before you go too gun-crazy assuming the citrus won’t last.

At first I thought last year’s ‘Smashingly Brilliant’ would be my go-to summer fragrance, and on paper it looked like the more logical choice, with its bergamot and citrus oils tempered by wood and suede finishes, but for some reason that read as bracingly chemical on me. It’s a lesson I learned long ago: fragrance is less about what is on paper and more about what is on your skin – and it’s different for each individual.

As the lady herself was wont to ask: “Am I wrong?”

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