Lunaquatic Fringe

I think that my little hiatus from fragrance has been doing me good. Sometimes, it seems like the only way to really understand something you love, is to stop caring about it. I suppose that’s just another one of the great paradoxical truths that seem to make this world so interesting.

I’m less sure about whether I love or hate Prada’s new men’s fragrance, Luna Rossa. But I do know one thing – I simply MUST own it. And we’re talking gift set, too, because if there are even slight variations of this scent, I have to own them, as well.

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Despite all the aquatic imagery devoted to this fragrance, I am loathe to call it an aquatic. Luna Rossa is clearly meant to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Water, through which most men’s fragrances try to pass in order to make a buck. But whatever Luna Rossa is, it is not your average calone bomb, or even your average citrus fougère, meant to evoke water without actually smelling remotely like eau.

When I first smelled this stuff in Saks, I let out an “Ewwwwwww!” that sounded more like “Yee-hah!” I think my next word was “Funky!” Well, if I could go back and correct that, I would say “Funkadelic!” I will warn you now – people are going to rip this fragrance up and down for being an unoriginal aquatic, or – worse yet – a strange one. But I’m going to tell you that THIS is the kind of originality that we have been begging for, so JUST MAYBE we should give it a bit of a break. While the entry is obviously meant to be mainstream, and summer-ready as well, it is sufficiently edgy that I personally find it worthy of respect from a “niche-centric” viewpoint.

The fragrance matches the bottle, in a way that tells me Miuccia Prada really does give a damn about art. The fragrance smells – for lack of a better word – technical. It is oddly synthetic, but yet it does not smell cheap or offensive. It smells modern. It smells clean. It makes you want to keep sniffing it – as if it were inviting you to figure out why the heck it smells so original. There is a certain continuity with the rest of the Prada Infusion line – a certain intriguing, sulfury facet, that now seems almost like a Prada logo.

The bottle – with its odd, clean, gray metallic frame – is obviously meant to support the racing-boat theme dedicated to the fragrance’s namesake, Miuccia Prada’s Luna Rossa. The clean, clear juice underneath, readily evokes the idea of something manmade, gliding over clean, clear, cool water.

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Miuccia Prada and her indentured perfumer, Daniela Andrier, have damn near become Chandler Burr’s muses of fragrance art and design. The artistic message of this fragrance may be more obvious than the subtle message of Infusion d’Iris – a.k.a. Chandler Burr’s highly lauded S01E01 – but I would say that Luna Rossa is even more daring and orignal than S01E01 – or any Prada scent yet, except possibly Candy.

What else can I say about this fragrance? Bitter, crisp citrus in the opening. Intriguing rubbery, metallic, and synthetic notes in the middle. And a touch of my beloved guaiac wood in the base, forming a nice segue from the rubber note. There is a bit of mint, which shows up mostly in the opening, but nothing dramatic or obvious. It is enough to make the fragrance unusual, which mint always does, but not enough to create the sense that mint has anything to do with it.

I should be careful with the word “synthetic”. One person’s natural is another person’s synthetic. Many “synthetic” notes in fragrances are actually caused by naturals. This smells like something natural, too. Just, maybe, natural to another planet.

There is something oddly sexy about this fragrance. Nothing overt. Luna Rossa does not feature anything warm, musky, skanky, rosy, or gourmand – or any of the other crotch-grabby tricks that perfumers use. I’m almost at a loss to explain it. Adventurous, perhaps? I don’t know. Perhaps it smells like robot sex.

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The introductory price is quite good. The gift sets are priced something like $3 more than the 3.4-oz bottle by itself, so it’s worth looking into the ancillary products, if you like the scent.

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Reactions to Luna Rossa when I wear it seem positive but not overwhelmingly so. It’s not like those famous Creeds which make people ask me what I’m wearing. People seem to like it, and nobody seems not to like it.

But that’s not why I wear it, and that’s not why I like it. I like this fragrance, because it makes me think about it. I guess you might say that it’s complicated.

And complication in fragrance – as in women, and maybe even life itself – is a very good thing. So hats off to those complicated ladies, Miuccia Prada and Daniela Andrier, who came up with this fascinating fragrance!

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And now, back to your regularly scheduled radio silence. Don’t ask why. It’s complicated.

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