Years before niche perfumery came up with "collection of scents" in identical bottles and "concept" themes evolving around different families or notes, Claude Montana (the designer best known for his scalpel-cut jackets, the partner who flew off her verandah and Parfum de Peau) had proposed his own trio of fragrances, code-named Suggestion (1994). The triad included Eau d'Argent, Eau d'Or and Eau Cuivrée and came just 2 short years after Serge Lutens inaugaurated Les Salons du Palais Royal by Shiseido with his own iconoclastic "takes" on Féminité du Bois (in 1992), thus giving rise to a whole seperate eponymous line which became legendary at the drawing of the millenium. (Technically the first one to propose a "trio collection" should be Patou). The fragrances by Montana were ill-fated though, like the unlucky stars under which the designer and his muse were apparently born, and were eventually discontinued. Still, the dedicated perfume lover might profit from making their acquaintance, as they're both worthwhile sniffing, as well as a valuable lesson in fragrance history; seeing the mainstream launch of a "niche" concept commercially fail where others now succeed, with the hindsight of almost 2 decades in the passing between the two (see for instance La Prairie trying the same things with their Life Threads).
The common thread in all Montana Suggestion scents? A vague metallic nuance, bright, scintillating, radiant. The metals entering both the name and the bottle decoration are ample indication of it being intentional.
Suggestion Eau d'Argent is, judging by the packaging alone, one might say Pavlovian-like, equated with a cool aquatic floral; and it is! Composed by Max Gavarry, it pre-empties the notion of the dew-adorned ocean drenched lilies which later appeared in F.Malle's line under Lys Mediterranée. Of course the compass isn't showing the North ~or rather the South, as the Malle scent is so at home in the warm Provencial and Grecian air~ as accurately. Eau d'Argent is very good but not as masterful or daring (it lacks the salty, savoury touch). The scent of lily (and the aldehyde used for cyclamen renditions) is brought out to the fore through the use of lily-of-the-valley aromachemicals (read about those on this article) and underlined with a dewy, "clean" musky ambience plus Ambroxan. It feels much more legible and "kind" than the feminine L'Eau d'Issey, both being contemporaries with a dewy feel. It also probably gives a frist glimpse of the idea for Marc Jacobs's first eponymous scent, supposedly inspired by gardenias floating on a bowl of water. Substitute cool lilies and you're there! Very nice on its own ~controversial, let's admit it~ genre and completely unsung.
Top notes are greens, mandarin orange, violet, peach, bergamot and Brazilian rosewood; middle notes are cyclamen, lily, orchid, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose; base notes are sandalwood, amber and musk.
Suggestion Eau d'Or was composed by Nathalie Lorson (who has composed the glorious Poivre 23, the Le Labo London city exclusive, which we reviewed on this page, amongst other things). A floral built on the juxtaposition of lactonic peachy and green notes with a heart of classic and bright flowers, this is a floral that radiates off the blotter and off the skin with quality and balanced approach to its message. The blossoming of jasmine and rose are supported by a fruity embrace of peach underscored by ionones (giving an earthy sweet note, also a bit of powder) and a creamy vanillic drydown, not too sweet. A floral, veering to floriental, with a cool-warm contrast that plays like chiaroscuro. Those who like J'Adore or Nuit de Cellophane might find another compliment-getter sunny floral in this one.
Top notes are comprised of greens, violet, peach, hyacinth and bergamot; middle notes are orchid, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose; base notes are sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla and cedar.
Suggestion Eau Cuivrée in its copper-dressed, patina-reminiscent bottle looks and feels warm and is predictably the more orientalised in the trio. Still, not quite a dense, traditional oriental, it features green-citrusy opening notes and a rich floral heart with a metallic nuance, justifying its coding: more modern urban amazone than Shalimar-wearing movie goddess, thanks to the base encompassing Ambroxan and cedar notes. Cooler, sweet top notes with lusty plum are folded into a warmer heart of luscious flowers and what seems like a hint of spice (they say carnation, it's actually built on cloves). The warmth is amped via the synergy of resinous notes played at the key of the lamentably defunct Theorema: meaning lightly, pleasurably balanced, never overwheling. Very pleasurable work, composed by Gerard Anthony.
Top notes are orange, pineapple, plum, green notes, peach and bergamot; middle notes are carnation, tuberose, orange blossom, orchid, jasmine, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are sandalwood, amber, musk, benzoin, vanilla and cedar.
The scents had bottles which interlocked nicely in a round "plate", their sides touching like lovers or spirits-evoking-spiritualists sitting across a rounde table touching hands... They were sold as is or independently in Eau de Toilette concentration. They make sporadic appearences on auction sites and discounters.