Ungaro (1983)

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Diva by Ungaro

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Diva by Ungaro

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Jacques Polge
Jacques Helleu
Packaging / Bottle Design

Diva is a women's perfume launched in 1983 by Ungaro

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Diva by Ungaro

There are 35 reviews of Diva by Ungaro.

Chanel's Jacques Polge composed this ferocious chypre, so naturally it has panache and dimension, reeling the wearer through a aldehyde atmosphere of heady, opulent florals coated with coriander and mandarin zest, into a core of honey, civet, musk, moss, and woods.

Is it brash? Not necessarily. Is it brazen? Absolutely. This baby needed to cut through plumes of cigarette smoke and competing power chypres in its heyday; the miasma that resulted is from a bygone era, and it was survival of the fittest for statement fragrances. Today, when applied with a careful hand, it is as stirring and arresting as anything created by Bogue or Papillon (to their credit, they do make some impressive chypres of their own). Anyone of any gender who craves kaleidoscopic concoctions can wear Diva with aplomb. God, the dry down is deep and sexy.

Are we not Men? We are Diva!

One never knows whose side she's on, who her true love is, or whether she ever loved anybody. She wears a sweetheart neckline dress with structured shoulders, a pancake hat with a net-like band tied around the neck and a stolen spider emblem brooch. A reference to the femme fatale and the web she weaves to trap her prey and takes him to the boudoir "You touch me and You won't live till morning"...Ava Gardner in The Killers!

An weirdly irresistibly chypre. The glorious 80's. Fabulous and unforgettable decade of launching to me, that's what this fragrance embodies: strength, resolve, determination and heart, soul and depth. It really generated a magnetic field force, a wake indelible. Fizzy, indolic chypre in the opening, powdery woody in the dry down with the classic animalic notes. The aldehydes lift and freshen the oakmoss/classic chypre accord of this perfume, rendering it bracing and warm at the same time. The heart of the fragrance is a honeyed rose. My skin is so playing up the ylang ylang. Witchy vetiver, patchouli affair and civet adds seductive depth to the dry down. The civet has a hint of that fascinating dirty, clean dichotomy going on.

Totally it's a slightly melancholic scent. she is a sophisticated woman with strong sex appeal. Not for the faint of heart. If you're looking for the vanilla and fruits that are big these days, pass on this one for sure. Hypnotic and pungent, lingerie with a decidedly seductive and bold eroticism; a dramatic nightgown with a cape, a see through bra&panty set. It lasts very long on my skin. The scent of an old world lady Vampire.

Diva is a tuberose bouquet. But 'bouquet' doesn't do it justice.
This is tuberose plus (almost) every floral known to perfumery ... plus bergamot and heavy citrus, plus spice and aromatics, plus a creamy orris note ... and plus a massive patchouli chypre - revving its engines.
It makes for a startling image : la diva, arriving at the glizty reception on a turbocharged motorbike - while acrid whiffs of pollution cling to her overweight cocktail dress.

Like many of the 80's tuberose blockbusters, Diva is an impressive achievement, but one which is, I would have thought, well nigh impossible to wear these days, unless of course you're a drag queen - and then it must be de rigueur.

It isn't readily known by the buying public that retired house perfumer Jacques Polge has had a tryst or two with designers Ungaro and Salvatore Ferragamo, but this is because at once time Wertheimer, the owners of house Chanel since before WWII, also owned stakes in the fragrance arms of Ungaro and Ferragamo. In these cases, Jacques Polge was "out on loan" for them, and created a few unsung masterpieces that never received the same level of attention because they didn't hold the Chanel name. Diva by Emanuel Ungaro (1983) is one such hidden gem, a honeyed rose patchouli chypre masterpiece that was probably traditional even by 80's standards, and an exercise in such traditional perfumery that Polge was unlikely to indulge under the forward-thinking house of Chanel. What's even more interesting besides the perfectly dialed-in use of animalics here is the the core structure which bears some resemblance to the later Coco Chanel (1984), but it was not unlike Polge to take his ideas the refine them in revisionist fashion for later scents, and he'd do it again when he transformed much of Salvatore Ferragamo Pour Homme (1999) into his modern reconstruction of Chanel Sycomore (1930). It isn't to exactly say that Diva is a dry run for Coco, but that logic could be easily bridged considering how close together the release dates for these both were.

Diva is a full and powerful perfume, brimming with a floral citric aldehyde opening of bergamot, hyacinth, coriander, and rosewood. The meat and potatoes of this perfume is the honeyed jammy rose core, flanked by indolic jasmine, tuberose, and ylang-ylang, but kept tidy with narcissus and iris. This isn't the full broad shoulder-padded blouse and teased Aqua Net hair of the original Coco, but is still rather big-boned and boisterous in a more mid-century way when beehives and cocktail dresses were a thing. The base really heads into Bal à Versailles (1962) territory with civet and oakmoss, but much smoother like Estée Lauder Knowing (1988) thanks to the patchouli, sandalwood, and honey. Late in the game this comes across as eminently wearable, refined, elegant, but obviously not daring or modern in any way. Civet and animalic honeyed leathery tones will feel challenging to someone raised on 21st century mainstream feminine perfumes, but to the perfumista, this is class in a bottle. Wear time is all day thanks to the potent base and sillage is appropriately 80's in volume. Use in fall through spring seems best, as the honey may make this too cloying for muggy summers depending on your climate. Once upon a time this would have been a formal event perfume, but considering the animalic notes and how society in general has turned away from "dirty" musks, this is likely a personal enjoyment fragrance only.

Jacques Polge hadn't quite made a rose perfume like this since his early days with Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (1971), and although this is far more hoary and seductive in nature than that older YSL number, the rose focus between them draws some parallels in my mind. Overall, this is a classic perfume lover's perfume, and more over a classic rose patchouli lover's dream, especially at the prices this can be attained for online. Older vintages will have more of the goods like civet, oakmoss, and real sandalwood absolutes, but I had the pleasure to smell both the "then" and "now" bottles by way of an old tester and fresh sprays from new box product, and I can say this unsung treasure has held up to be relatively respectable. Fans of stuff like Montana Parfum de Peau (1986) should appropriately be all over this if they aren't already, and in some ways this also informed the long-discontinued unicorn-status Ungaro Pour L'Homme I (1991), which was a masculine rose Polge produced in collaboration with a pre-Dior François Demachy. Diva is just a solid rose patchouli with a smoothed-out animal musk edge and plenty of chypre yumminess in the base, and if you can get past the name, has plenty of unisex appeal for fans of the genre, especially niche fans used to adding a zero to the price just to have something of comparable style to this. Beware, as there are many flankers to Diva as it was quite the seller for a number of years, and not all of them are created equal. Thumbs up.

A classic throwback scent which screams 1980's, but is more laid back than I would have expected.

Diva by Emanual Ungaro is surprisingly muted, despite having so many notes in its fragrance triangle! It starts out with the typical 80's powerhouse scent spice assault, but it then becomes a musky, soft powdery floral that is both layered but fairly stable. This occurs after only 5 minutes on the skin, and I rather like this part of Diva's development!

I definitely smell civet, a gentle rose, bright carnation, earthy oakmoss, ylang, cardamom, and tuberose above all the other myriad of notes. It is a sexy, still-relevant perfume that daring ladies of today can experience with open minds. It DOES smell retro, but not cloying. It's elegant, for mature women to wear on special evening occasions. Sillage is medium, and longevity is nice.

If you are a lady who wants to rediscover the world of scents from yesteryear, this is a great place to start!

I had this back in '83. It was a powerful fragrance then; it is a powerful fragrance now. I can detect about half its ingredients (of which there are way more, than listed here). Not as sweet as I thought I'd remembered. A good, chypre floral, for blustery autumn days.

Darvant nails it, below about it being "retro" for the current tastes, of most. Got to have womanly balls, to wear this one.

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