First, it’s probably important to mention that Sarah Jessica Parker’s Twilight perfume is in no way related to the scintillatingly renowned Twilight book and movie. At first, I too was confused, thinking that the Sex and the City star had some hand in this venture -- which proved to be untrue.
Summit Entertainment, LLC, did in fact release a fragrance called “Forbidden Fruit” as part of its merchandising efforts -- unfortunately, this fragrance was summarily yanked from the shelves of stores such as Hot Topic and Borders when Parfums (Nina) Ricci filed a suit against Summit for trade dress infringement, as the “Forbidden Fruit” bottle bore a striking resemblance to the packaging of one of its own fragrances, Nina.
But let’s not digress any further. I want to tell you about Twilight, Parker’s most recent fragrance release. Numerous celebrities have lent their names and images to perfumes and other cosmetics, but according to Chandler Burr, fragrance critic for the New York Times, Parker is one of five percent of famous faces who take an active involvement in the creative process. Parker indeed had something very specific in mind when she approached perfumers to help her realize Lovely, which was released in 2005 (Burr documented Parker’s efforts from start to finish in his book The Emperor of Scent). And although I would never buy a fragrance solely because a celebrity promoted it, I have to concede that Parker knows how to create a unique scent. Lovely is indeed lovely, definitely not the musk your mother wore in the 70s, when wearing musk-based scents was the rage.
Parker released two more fragrances in 2007 and 2008: Covet, a very unusual cyphre, and Covet Bloom, a clean-smelling floral. Twilight was released in 2009 as a part of a much-anticipated, three-fragrance set in Parker’s Lovely Moments Collection (the other two fragrances are called Dawn and Endless). I have all three of Parker’s previous creations -- Lovely, Covet and Covet Bloom -- in heavy rotation, so relying on the success of these fragrances, I ordered Twilight “nose-unsniffed.” Once again, I was not disappointed!
Twilight is an amber-based fragrance, placing it firmly in the category of “oriental” (other fragrance categories include “floral, ” “cyphre, ” and “gourmand”). Now, amber can be a touchy topic amongst perfume-lovers who find they simply cannot wear this note. Alternately, they sometimes associate amber with -- how do I say this gently? -- a scent a more “mature” lady might wear. Even without making this assumption, I personally have been unable to wear amber-based fragrances until I purchased Twilight. Apply this note directly to my person, and I smell like I’ve been coated with marzipan and rolled in baby powder. Twilight proved to be the exception. This fragrance is built on a base of musk, sandalwood, incense, and, of course, amber. But the addition of warm floral heart notes (peony and jasmine) and top notes such as mandarin (orange) and pink pepper give Twilight depth and intrigue.
If Parker’s Lovely is the flirtatious coquette and Covet the edgy party girl, Twilight is all romance and tender supplication. Twilight does indeed evoke mental images of a large sun pulled down to the horizon, and in fact, it reminds me of the time I lived in Alaska, when those rich, orange sunsets seemed to last for hours before finally disappearing into a crevice in the mountains. The sandalwood gives Twilight earthiness, and the citrus notes adds a slant of afternoon light. After wearing Twilight for thirty minutes or so, the musk note makes a subtle appearance and lingers well into the next day. But what makes Twilight so fascinating is that it is a departure from Parker’s previous efforts, in that it falls firmly in the oriental family. Orientals are notoriously difficult to translate into a wearable day fragrance because of their incense-like weightiness and complexity. But with Twilight, Parker has created what few perfume-makers have been unable to achieve: A subtle, contemporary amber-based scent suitable for wear at any time of day.