What do you imagine Narciso Rodriguez ‘All Of Me’ will smell like? When the designer decided to create his new perfume, he had only one request: he wanted it to smell like a “dirty rose”. Well, the opposite of romantic, pretty and delicate at least.
The launch of Narciso Rodriguez All Of Me fittingly took me to a resort in Baja California in June, where there was no TV in your room and you showered outside, surrounded by nothing but desert, cacti and a sliver of ocean in the far distance. Reconnecting with yourself, while disconnecting with technology, was the mood while Narciso revealed his inspiration and creative process.
The New York-based designer has always had a soft spot for English roses, immediately snapping them up on the rare occasion that they crane their necks out of the plastic buckets at his local flower market. “There’s nothing more beautiful than a rose,” Narciso tells GLAMOUR. “You can't perfect it, but it’s about how you turn it inside out and keep that beauty. All Of Me was about taking something familiar, like the beauty of a rose, and then reinventing it.”
By Fiona Embleton
Creating a new perfume after the success of For Her, a medley of orange blossom, amber, vanilla and musk, that has been wafting off wrists since 2003, is no small feat. This OG eau is still beloved by the women who originally wore it and Narciso tells me fans have written him letters over the years, telling him, "my girlfriends and I call your fragrance ‘the man magnet’.”
For Her also resonates with a Gen-Z audience who were still in nappies when it launched. Nevertheless, they have elevated it (and its various flankers) to cult status, dubbing it the “cool French girl perfume” and bestowing it with over 10.7 million views on TikTok.
Likewise, reinventing rose, an iconic bloom in perfumery, is a tall order. But Narciso proves that it isn’t impossible. Alongside perfumers Dora Baghriche and Daphné Bugey, who fine-tuned All Of Me over two years, they hit on a new way to approach rose and floral perfumes. In particular, how to create this elusive ‘dirty rose’, one that is abstract and multidimensional – at once dewy, peppery, honey-like and musky – and that makes the perfume almost undefinable. They succeeded – All Of Me is neither a fully-fledged floral nor a skin scent, it is curiously both.
By Elle Turner and Alice du Parcq
Freshly-picked, densely-petalled roses and an infusion of Rose de Mai are combined with geranium, which is a similar bloom but more aromatic. “I have a diffuser in my children's room,” says Narciso, “and I do experiments every night and make concoctions for them. They’re very aware of papa putting in the water and the oils. I started to mix geranium with rose and cedar and then musk and then sandalwood. I just kept making these variations. Over time, even the diffuser became this very abstract rose. One night the scent was so intoxicating and so beautiful, I knew that was the path forward.”
The challenge was how to soften the geranium, which is traditionally reserved for masculine colognes. Thinking of the geranium milk (leaves infused in cow’s milk) that she used to drink as a child, Dora worked with Daphné on finessing a blend that would land on a soft bed of milky notes and creamy sandalwood.
Like every Narciso perfume, there are also delicate puffs of musk. “It's been a love affair since I was a teenager in the '70s," Narciso, smiles. “I mean everybody was wearing musk then and we would go into the city and buy these little bottles of oil. It’s very personal; it’s something that is sensual, a second skin that is easy to wear, makes you feel good and gives you confidence.”
By Fiona Embleton
The bottle also deserves a special mention as it’s the polar opposite of the minimalist, lacquered flacons in neutral colours that we normally associate with the brand. “We made this bottle in my office,” Narciso says pointing to the clear, pale pink glass bottle. “I wanted something completely different; something that harkened back to the luxury and beauty of perfumery, but that was modern.”
All Of Me telegraphs sensuality and strength – “I’ve always seen perfume as empowering,” Narciso adds. And despite being described as “timeless” and “transcending age”, he had Gen-Z in mind when creating the juice. “I think the younger generation, as well as my generation, is in search of things today that are authentic, that are lasting, that aren't just the hype or the moment or the picture on Instagram and TikTok," he says. "It's more meaningful than that. Something so personal and not something that is about marketing. All Of Me is almost simplistic in its approach, but very authentic.”
But did All Of Me win over the GLAMOUR team? Here five different GLAMOUR staffers reveal their honest thoughts about the new juice…
Fiona, GLAMOUR's Acting Associate Beauty Director
Confession: I'm not a floral fragrance fan. Worse than that, I usually side step any perfume with even a whiff of rose in it. So I was a little worried when I heard the inspiration behind Narciso's new scent was this particular flower. But here's the thing, I love skin scents and All Of Me doesn't smell like a straight-up floral, let alone a stereotypical rose. It isn't sweet and it's certainly not grandmotherly. There's an addictive milkiness to the scent that ensures it lands like a soft duvet on your skin.
It smells supremely grown up and elegant, but another big draw for me is that 88% of the ingredients are from natural origin, while the musks were created via biotech to be biodegradable. The way that All Of Me has re-written the rules of perfumery is why I want to keep spritzing. Narciso has given rose a whole new, unexpected character that I can't quite put my finger on and I can't help but go in for a second or third huff of this scent. This perfume plays by its own rules - and I love that.
Lian, GLAMOUR's Audience Development Manager
First impressions aren't everything, but if they were then All Of Me would fare just fine. An elegant, timeless bottle housing the most deliciously inviting shade of pink, Narciso Rodriguez's new fragrance practically calls out to you to pick it up and spritz yourself. And when you do, the musky rose notes are immediately apparent. Light, whimsical and feminine are the words that first come to mind, with the scent having a wonderfully breezy quality.
At its core this is an understated, clean perfume with fresh floral tones of rose and geranium that work in harmony with one another. I can definitely see this being a useful everyday go-to fragrance for autumn and winter, though I did notice that despite giving myself a generous few sprays in the morning I needed to top this up through the day to maintain its scent.
Shei, GLAMOUR's Beauty Writer
I've always liked Narciso Rodriguez fragrances, they're perfect for layering: sweet and feminine. I was excited to give All Of Me a try. The glass bottle reminds me of a pinky-hued amethyst stone. It's so chic. As soon as I sprayed, I got an instant hit of amber and vanilla. It was sweet, very sweet. I'm normally more of a dark scents – musk and oud – kind of girl, so this was a little out of my comfort zone. However, it felt like the perfect scent to layer and marry with all of the above or to spice up a fresh, citrusy aroma.
Make sure you spray from a good distance, so it doesn't stain clothes, the nozzle gives out a generous amount of product in a single spritz, and a little does go a long way. Although I stopped smelling it on myself after a couple of hours, others could, and that is a true bonus for me. No top-ups needed throughout the day. After a while, the sweetness is also balanced with a hint of something deeper and more intriguing, you can then feel the musk pull through. Although this wouldn't be the type of fragrance I'd pop on as a one-and-done, I'll be reaching for it next time I want to warm up my favourite oud with a floral touch.
Emily, GLAMOUR's Associate Social Media Manager
I have been a huge fan of Narciso Rodriguez for a while, with bottles of For Her and For Her Musk Noir already in my collection. So I was really excited to get my hands on the new All Of Me scent! As I opened the white packaging, I was surprised to see such a different-shaped bottle inside. I really loved the feel of the curved glass in my hand as I sprayed and was impressed with the amount of fragrance that came out with just one pump. Now for the scent: honestly, it really is beautiful. I think you have to be a fan of rose to like any of the Narciso perfumes as it’s featured in so many. And I am! So the first spritz was like heaven to me. As with my other fragrances from the designer, for me personally it’s an evening scent. It’s deep, sensual and powdery. I received compliments from three people after giving the new All Of Me perfume its first outing and can’t wait to wear it for my next evening out!
Camilla GLAMOUR'S European Beauty Director
I’ve been a Narciso fragrance stan for 20 years, since the designer first arrived as a trailblazing disruptor in the perfume world, launching the original Narciso For Her. Encapsulated in a striking rectangular bottle, it was a subversive and intoxicating modern rose scent, which reinvented rose for a new generation. I was hooked and still wear the Musc Noir Rose version today.
With All of Me pegged as a scent for Gen Z, and the biggest launch since the original’, I was intrigued what form a floral scent for the next gen would take. It’s undeniably a pretty, light and intriguing scent that weaves a fresh rose with milky musky notes, and welcomingly sets a new modern agenda away from the sweet youthful scents of recent years. It’s infinitely wearable and an easy one to spritz for the day or night. However, without the bold disruption or surprises that defined the original, I can’t help feel, it has slightly missed the mark on what it might have been.
Admittedly it was alway going to be a tall order to make me switch from my long-term, much loved signature scent, and maybe as I’m not Gen Z, I just don’t get its low key appeal. However, that’s the beauty of scent, it’s intensely personal. So rather than take my word for it, go spritz and smell for yourself, it may well become your OG!
For more from Fiona Embleton, GLAMOUR's Acting Associate Beauty Director, follow her on @fiembleton.