Bettina's Take: Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir Launch

Eva Lorenzotti Veronica Bulgari Jackie Astier BVLGARI MON JASMIN NOIR

I love the Mediterranean. I love everything about it: the sea, the climate, the different cultures, the rich history. I love the way the air smells on a hot summer night—I'm talking Capri, under a lemon tree at 7 p.m., not Saint-Tropez, inside Les Caves du Roy at 4 a.m. (though that has a charm all its own).

So when Veronica Bulgari invited me to the launch of Bulgari's newest fragrance, Mon Jasmin Noir, in a Mediterranean Eden–inspired garden at the Bowery Hotel, I couldn't wait for my mini vacation.

And what a vacation it was, from the minute I walked up the stairs. Jasmine wafted through the air, and everywhere I turned, there was life: red-rose-filled "trees" designed for the occasion; centerpieces made of lemons, lemon peels, lemons dipped in gold, and white roses. Lewis Miller's creation was pitch-perfect; I defy anyone to "do" a better paradise than this.

The notes of Mon Jasmin Noir were artfully laid out on a table in the corner, where master perfumer and creator Olivier Polge told us it took a full year to perfect. Veronica Bulgari described it this way: "It's elegant, feminine, multiseasonal and unusual." Striking Tika Sumpter (Raina on Gossip Girl) agreed. "I like a perfume that's flirty and soft," she said.

Actress Lynn Collins, who was accompanied by her husband, rocker/actor/model Steven Strait, was enraptured by the fragrance. "I'm a perfume addict," said the X-Men Origins: Wolverine star. "I have many different oils and powders, and I make my own. By celebrating this man's work, I feel at home." Who knew scent was your secret weapon, Silver Fox?

Gossip Girl star Matthew Settle, who just wrapped So Undercover with Miley Cyrus, was discussing the concept of putting a redwood tree in New York's Madison Square Park with contemporary art guru Bettina Prentice. Matthew hatched the idea at ArtWalk last fall, and Bettina wants to help make it a reality.

"Matthew loved the idea of being able to demonstrate scale for inner-city populations that may not have an opportunity to see the majestic redwood in person," she explained. (More details to come when this meaningful project comes to fruition.)

And how does the multitalented Settle feel about scent? "Fragrance is empathetic for the audience as well as for our own taste," he said wisely. "I wear something very simple, but it suits me—it works with my chemistry."

Guests including Jamie Johnson, Ferebee Bishop, Claiborne Frank, and Veronica Beard slowly made their way to the dining area, a long black banquet table laden with flowers, lemons and bottles of Mon Jasmin Noir interspersed with majestic gilded candlesticks. It was fit for the mythological gods of ancient Rome and Greece. With a nod to Bacchus, most everyone loosened up.

"If this were Europe, people would have lingered until 4 a.m., chain-smoking at the table," sighed Genevieve Bahrenburg as we filed out to the exquisite dessert buffet, where DJ Paul Sevigny was spinning.

Well, this is New York and when I left at 11:30 p.m., the party was still going full force, smoke free.

Thank you, Bulgari, for a magical evening.

Photo: Eva Lorenzotti, Veronica Bulgari, and Jackie Astier at the Bulgari dinner