Pas de Deux- Ombre & Lumière Armani Privé Couture Collection

I happened to be in Paris when Armani Privé launched their first ever limited edition Les Éditions Couture perfume: La Femme Bleue. How I loved that one; iris, chocolate and smoky incense, it was just fabulous, and yet, with the price tag at 550€, out of reach. Those Éditions Couture still are, and when smelling this newest addition to the line Ombre & Lumière (Shadows & Light), how do you avoid comparing fragrance to price?

The blurb says; “It contrasts Iris Shadows, featuring warm ambery woods and powdery Iris, with lights of jasmine petals.”

iris ballerina 001

This much is true it’s all about iris and jasmine. I felt the opening very green, like both the green aspects of the jasmine and of the iris hit it off together. Apparently it is jasmine sambac, which I believe since the jasmine keeps reminding me of tea- perhaps a cooled green jasmine tea and it never turns indolic. The iris in Ombre & Lumièreinstantly made me think of Iris Pallida, I guess its dryness and sophistication over a carrot-note or powdery iris is why I think it has to be Iris Pallida. Ombre & Lumière is never sweet (at least it isn’t on the blotter or on my sweet notes eating skin) and never turn into a powder puff, it is very slightly leathery as it manages to stays cool and elegant.

The composition is simple, focussing really only on those two notes, making each of them shine in what seems like various grey-green nuances. I really hardly notice other notes at all, and yet I know they are there, because otherwise this little chiaroscuro trick would not be possible. It’s clear that perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin has put a lot of effort into the balancing act, which is like a ballerina in arabesque. And so really nothing else is necessary, no real pyramid or other notes fighting for attention, just iris and jasmine going back and forth in pas de deux to let the other one have a bit of the light, while one withdraws for a moment to the shadows. Ombre & LumièreHowever, Ombre & Lumièreis neither timid nor showy; it’s unspectacular in its aura, even if it has normal sillage. I would be tempted to say that it might not have heart (-notes) but it does have a pretty soul.

And now to the issue of cost; at such a price tag I must admit it’s a challenge for me to see the beauty beyond the price, an obstacle to smell the fragrance without preconceptions, to not constantly compare it to what you would have to pay for it- should there not be warning signs at the end of every description? In the end I tried to be fair to the fragrance, and write as I would with any other leaving it to those who read to decide, because in the end price is a highly individual thing and what it comes down to is; are you willing to pay that amount for perfume or not? Personally, I wouldn’t pay that amount of money for a fragrance no matter what it was, and Ombre & Lumière, although very pretty and skilled, will not be the perfume to make me change that. How about you, have you or would you pay that amount if it was something you really wanted?


Pics are mine.

I couldn’t find on-line reviews for Armani Privé Ombre & Lumière, I will update if I find some.

15 thoughts on “Pas de Deux- Ombre & Lumière Armani Privé Couture Collection

  1. If I were extremely rich without any money worries, then I would buy a perfume with such a price tag. As I’m not rich, there is just no way I would fall for a perfume so madly in order to pay so much for it. I do think I am that reasonable (otherwise I would own Guerlain Muguet). 😉

    That said, it actually sounds very lovely. 🙂

    P.S. I read the title and thought it was two perfumes. 🙂

    • Yes, Ines you’re the same as me in that regard. It really is quite lovely, I just really can’t get my head around the price…
      Two perfumes, he, ombre AND lumiere? 😀

  2. Loved “it might not have heart (-notes) but it does have a pretty soul” and rotating from light to shade. You make it sound rather lovely, if not quite the stunner you’d expect for the price-tag.

    I couldn’t pay this kind of money even if I loved it but good for those that can. It’s just a bit painful for the rest of us if we fall in love. I can’t resist sampling all the same though.

    Last week I tried the new Armani Prive Encens Satin exclusive to Selfridges (for now I guess) and I LOVED it. I only tried it sprayed on a tissue but it was the most radiant, elegant incense ever. I may buy it at the end of the month during the Cookie Queen Fume Fest. Thank goodness it’s the normal, although far from cheap, price of £155 for 100ml. Now I’m worried they won’t have any left…

    • Thank you Tara 🙂 Cookie queen fume fest? Please enlighten me. And yes, that’s like me then, I have to try it of course even if I know I can’t/ won’t buy no matter how much I fall in love, I’m just too curious. I also happen to like a lot of the Armani Prive fragrances, and O&L really is lovely. I suppose the good thing is it makes your Encens Satin positively look like a bargain. I’ll be waiting for your review with great impatiens, as it sounds wonderful.

      • Val the Cookie Queen from Austrailian Perfume Junkies and the foodie posts on OT is coming over to London from Austria on the 23rd. We’re spending a day with Nick Gilbert and a day with Vanessa which will involve lots of sniffing and nice food, hopefully. Fingers crossed we’ll meet up with Liz Moores of Papillon perfumes too. Can’t wait.

        I really hope you’ll come to London at some point.

        It’s true you’ve made me think Encens Satin is positively a steal thanks to this review!

        • Ah, I thought It had to do with Val, but hoped it also included some special Selfridges discount on the desired object. You’ll have a ball, I am sure of it, and yes, I hope to be able to join, perhaps the next time around? I haven’t visited London in far far too long.
          As to Encens Satin, 155£ is the new 50£ didn’t you know?

          • Oh yes, it would be lovely if you could join us next time around. I’ll let you know, unless you can come before.

            I really think Selfridges should give us a discount in Val’s honour!

            • That’s a deal 🙂 And try and charm them, they *might* just give you a special perfumista discount 😉

  3. There is a limit to how much I will pay for fragrance. There are so many on the market that are reasonably priced that there is no reason to purchase such over-priced items. The only one on which I would spend a great deal of money is Mona’s Oud. I haven’t bought it yet, but I am so tempted. I keep thinking of how much good that amount of money would do for organizations like Doctors Without Borders, and feel selfish wanting to spent that much on my personal passions.

    • Hi Anita, thanks for your comment 🙂 that’s my problem exactly, there are so many others, how do you justify the expense? And I understand how you feel about indulging in such a luxury vs giving that money to something more useful. However, I think that perhaps we all might have a ‘Mona Oud’ a fragrance that might change our minds about the limit we are willing to pay, even if it isn’t 550€? And Mona’s Oud really is very beautiful, I hope you get it at some point.

  4. Can I pay $500 or even $1,000 for a bottle of perfume? I can. So deep inside, every time I try one of those very expensive creations, I hope I will love them so much that I wouldn’t mind paying the price. Usually it doesn’t happen.

    I really like Armani Prive line and I liked those limited editions from them as well but I thought they were too similar: why to buy one of the 1000 bottles if the next year there will be an even prettier bottle with a similar perfume?

    • Great to hear Undina. So what draws you to these expensive bottles, exclusivity? The hope of higher quality ingredients? Luxury? Or????
      I’m curious, because for me, as of yet, this price tag (not just Armani Privé obviously) is just a no-go.
      I did love La Femme Bleue, and I didn’t think the next two were quite as good, although I agree the first ‘Nacre’, was quite similar to FB. I don’t think that O&L is similar at all, apart from also using a prominent iris note.

  5. I am ‘off’ iris perfumes at the moment – or not craving them particularly, shall we say. I have a 10ml decant of La Femme Bleue somewhere and that scratches any itch I might have to buy into those beautiful gleaming blue bottles. And I do have such an itch, which may be slightly more to do with the presentation than the scent. Though I do love La Femme Bleue on its own merits too.

    • I don’t think I could ever be ‘off’ iris perfumes 🙂 Also, there’s a lot of beautiful jasmine in this one. If you come across it, I think you should try it. It’s nothing like La Femme Bleue BTW- lucky you for having a decant of that one, I decided against it back when it was a possibility because I thought, at the price pr ml, I’d fear using it.

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