Monday, October 15, 2007

Forget Me Not: Emanuel Ungaro Diva

My step-father hated perfume. I recall sitting at church with him and watching his nose turn up at the scent of an irresponsibly applied perfume that emanated from a seemingly innocent woman. This was not an isolated incident. It happened often, especially during my 1980's adolescence. You can imagine his horror when my mother asked him to find a fragrance for her that he liked - quite a challenge if you ask me. Luckily, he made frequent trips to Chicago where he could shop a much greater selection than he could find in our tiny little hometown. After one such Chicago business trip, he came home with Diva by Emanuel Ungaro. He presented it to my mother and she wore it proudly for years, with the secret of knowing that he would always be inspired by that scent. I am still charmed by his quest to find the one that would be different from every other nose-turning fragrance. And for the one to be Diva? He has impeccable taste.

Diva was created by master perfumer Jacques Polges in the year 1983 - the year of Rubic's cube fanatacism, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Swatches, big hair and parachute pants. Women loved wearing off-shoulder outfits à la Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. Subtlety was a lost art. Michael Jackson's and Cyndi Lauper's popularity drove the outrageous style trends. Along with the focus on loud, primary colors, big, floral chypre fragrances were also the rage. Like a perfect, colorful, red blooming rose in the midst of fields of wildflowers, Emanuel Ungaro's Diva is a statement making fragrance of the richest kind. It will always remind me of my mother.

Diva's colorful list of notes begins with aldyehydes (added to bring a champagne sparkle to a fragrance and enrich floral notes). Following the sparkling, opulent opening, the focus is on beautiful, rich red roses (Turkish and Morrocan) lightly dipped in honey with a dab of delicate tuberose and powdery orris root thrown in for interest. Not to worry about the mention of honey. This scent is not in the least bit sweet. An ample sampling of spices, woods and earthy notes including cardamom, coriander, patchouli, narcissus, oakmoss and sandalwood catapults this fragrance into the classic chypre floral category. With a heavy base of amber, vanilla, musk and civet, the fragrance lingers on the skin for hours.

This is one fragrance which has the perfect name that aptly describes the woman who wears it. Diva is heavy without being overbearing. It has a softness not found in many other fragrances in its category. Rather than simply pretty and nice, it is gorgeous - beautiful from every angle, or in this case, from start to finish. It is most certainly a dramatic fragrance true to its 1980's roots, perfect for an occasion when one wants to make a statement. Despite this sensational quality, it will not elicit my step-father's response to most fragrances by overwhelming those close by, but it will render the wearer unforgettable with its sensual trail of scent. Finally, because of its masterful, complex combination it maintains a strong sense of class as most floral chypres do. All of these qualities are easily attributable to my strong, gorgeous, chic, persistent and undoubtedly original mother.

Unlike any other and superbly done, Diva should be worn by strong women willing to buck recent trends. For those, it is very worth the effort. With its unparalleled, rich blend that has stood the test of time, this scent has entered the distinguished realm of classic fragrances. The gorgeous bottle design evocative of a designer garment beautifully compliments the exquisite jus. Mom, this one is for you!

Please be sure to check out Divina's lovely review of this same fragrance here!

For some even better news, Diva can be found on many fragrance discount websites. A 1.7 oz. EDP spray is as low as $29.20 at

Image of bottle courtesy of; rose courtesy of


Divina said...

Oh my ... You've really outdone yourself with this one, T! What a beautifully written review!

Also: I love to see the differences and similarities in our reviews! Isn't it fun?! :)
Hugs to you!

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Oh! Thank you D.!! I'll have to go check yours out now!! I keep thinking I need to ADD something to this. It seems devoid of emotion. Probably due to the fact that it's my mother's fragrance. I have a reverance from afar affection for it. You know?


Perfumeshrine said...

In fact I think you did a trully great job reviewing it, T, and it transported me...
Very endearing to think of this lovely tale of your mother and father when sniffing this one. I enjoyed reading it very much :-)

And I have fond memories of it too! ;-)

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Hello Helg,

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the story so near to my heart. Fragrances like Diva create memories, don't they? ;-)