From Bad to Worse

I was malled.

Marc Jacobs Daisy is a little nothing of a fragrance that I happen to like.  I don’t even think I need to go look at my original review to quote myself: it’s a fragrance entirely devoid of sex appeal.  In this case I mean that as a compliment; Daisy is the perfect gift for your eight-year-old niece, your aunt, or anyone whom you think might appreciate the whimsical bottle.  By the way I’m referring to the EDT; the EDP has just a hint of muskiness to it that barely registers on the skank scale, but the EDT smells entirely clean to me.  Anyway, I don’t want Daisy and I don’t wear it, but I get the point.  It’s got the generic, sexless appeal of D&G Light Blue without Light Blue’s astonishing sillage or tenacity.

Marc Jacobs LolaEnter Marc Jacobs’ Lola, which is supposed to be Daisy’s slightly older, vampier sister (I’m laughing at the way spellcheck keeps correcting vampier to vampire.  What would a vampire wear?  I’m voting for Lutens A La Nuit or Datura Noir.)  Notes for Lola are pink peppercorn (is that trend not dead?  Someone drive a stake through its heart), pear, ruby red grapefruit, pink peony, rose, geranium, vanilla, tonka and musk.  Unlike Daisy, this perfume is a little nothing of a fragrance that I don’t like.  Its generic ubiquity is every bit as imaginative as the outfits of the last 150 teenage girls that strolled by me in the mall in their vaguely trashy camisole-and-bra-strap getups (and yes, one of them is my daughter.)  Lola starts off with some citrusy action, and by citrus I mean something one step up from the wet-wipes you get on the airplane, and then it’s all warm vanilla sensual-muskiness.  In terms of sex appeal, this is the 50-foot Woman constructed out of marshmallows.  My guess is it will sell like hotcakes.  Fairness dictates that both my (female) movie companion and another woman mentioned how very much they liked it, which also should give you an idea of the sillage.

Kors Very Hollywoodmr yuckWhile I at least understand Lola conceptually, I am totally baffled by Michael Kors’ newest fragrance, Very Hollywood, which is being marketed as a “sophisticated floral” for women.  The fragrance notes are mandarin, frozen bergamot, moist (!) jasmine, raspberry, ylang ylang, gardenia, iris root, creamy amber, white moss and vetiver.  Again, while I am not a huge fan of the original Michael by Michael Kors signature scent on me, I feel obligated to note that it tends to crop up regularly when I ask women around me what that pretty perfume is they’re wearing (the other one: J’Adore.  Clearly I enjoy these two, albeit at a distance.)

But this thing?  Please.  Michael.  “Sophisticated?”  This thing brings out the witch in me.  Look at that trashy bottle (okay, it’s trashier in person).  If this were presented on Project Runway, I’d make it cry by telling it to its face that it looked cheap and tawdry.  But that isn’t even the bad part.  I don’t care how much bergamot you froze to make this, it is toooooooooo sweeeeeeeet.  It makes Lola look like Vol de Nuit.  It has all the sophistication of a Whitman’s sampler, without its charms.  This thing is atrocious.  If it were a frozen blender drink it would involve something like crà¨me de menthe, curacao, Bailey’s and cotton candy.  Also, that moss/vetiver accord at the bottom is the pine-tree air-freshener version of “fresh” on me, and you know how much I love “fresh.”  Other than that, it’s perfect.

  • Theresa says:

    Great review! Your “(!)” made me snort out loud–and I’m at work.

    mals86–I always liked the scent of BBW Freesia though it’s nothing like the actual flower. It could be worse–it could’ve been their Country Apple.

  • Tara C says:

    I smelled both of these last weekend and I totally agree – couldn’t wash the Lola off fast enough, and after smelling the Kors on a paper strip, I was not going to spray it on my person. I have all but given up on commercial releases.

  • mals86 says:

    Daisy devoid of sex appeal… My husband may be the only man in the world to find Daisy sexy. No kidding: I put on Bal a Versailles and he heads for the hills – during that Very French Perfume first hour, anyway. I wear Daisy, and he sends the kids to bed early. (He also likes Citizen Queen and Shalimar Light, so I can’t complain all that much.)

    It’s my own fault, for not wearing proper perfume until at least a couple of years into our marriage… My bottles of Navy, Xia Xi’ang, and Aspen for Women (some real high-class stuff there!) had all given out by the wedding day, and I didn’t have time to shop for something else, and so the scent associated with the honeymoon was BBW Freesia bath gel. Boy, did I ever shoot myself in the foot there.

  • Nina Z. says:

    Love the hate! You should definitely rant whenever you feel the impulse.

  • Musette says:

    I am supposed to be working on patents pending this morning – and instead find myself horking hot coffee up my nose and spitting the rest of it all over the desk.

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      I know, I know … right this second *I* am supposed to be typing a letter to the College Savings Plan people regarding some funds we’re transferring, which is going to require a call to the brokerage blah blah blah and look what I’m doing instead?

    • March says:

      Wow, your alien morphs every time now!

  • Patty says:

    I’m so glad you went there so I didn’t have to. I spritzed Lola once, gagged, and then couldn’t get the horrible thing off. I’m not going anywhere near that Kors thing.

    What in the world are they thinking?

  • Sarade says:

    I actually do like the scent of Lola.

    • March says:

      Well, you and lots of other folks, I would be surprised if it’s not very successful. And I like Light Blue and Narciso Rodriguez, so it’s not like I’m standing on some moral high ground in terms of snob appeal. And the bottle is way cute.

  • Shelley says:

    makes Lola look like Vol du Nuit… a-ha-ha-ha…

  • Melissa says:

    These two won’t even get the honor of being spritzed on cardboard sticks. Really, all I had to do was read the list of notes (enough with the fruit salads and hasn’t peony proliferated a bit too?) and glance at the bottles.

    Oh and somehow the combination of raspberry and vetiver in the Kors seems just a little, um, sickening. I haven’t yet found a fragrance with raspberry that I can tolerate.

    Is this also the beginning of umpteen releases of fragrances with white moss in the base? I didn’t like it in the EL, although I know that others loved it. I know I won’t like it here. I do suppose its better than frozen bergamot and moist jasmine.

    • March says:

      So you are not loving the new white moss? I wonder in terms of the chemistry how similar everyone’s patented ingredients are… um, I can not imagine a world in which you would wear any of these.

  • Frenchie says:

    It seems that the new Kors frag suits the name perfectly. Hollywood is such a plasticky, superficial, pseudo-glamorous place and a super sweet floral that aims hight but doesn’t get there sounds like a perfect fit.

    I have to say that Michael Kors perfumes and clothes are in harmony. It is wannabe class. It is so obviouly fake. Poor Michael.

    • March says:

      Well… I’ll argue with you a bit on the clothes… I don’t wear them and I don’t want to, but they’re generally decently made, and for a woman of a certain age they’re flattering and neither ridiculous nor frumpy which can be a tough order to fill. His clothes don’t look like he hates women, which is more than I can say for some designers.

  • Francesca says:

    Thanks Louise for the happy Monday. I’m about a half hour behind on where I should be for the crack-o-dawn departure from CT but what the hell.
    Ms Dodge, you are beautiful when you take off your glasses, shake out your chignon, and tell it like it is!

    • March says:

      I guess I need to do that more often. Here I was thinking everyone loved the kinder, gentler me… I hope you had a lovely weekend and your trip into town is easy. xo

  • Louise says:

    March, I admire your courage in spritzing these fragrances on your skin… I just can’t beyond the little paper stick with any of them…and I am not at all opposed to department store anythings, just find I can’t wear any of them these days : (

    My last department store “success” was Guess Gold, and that was several years ago. I’m convinced no one likes it but me, but I continue to wear it on cool days…

    Happy Monday, all!

    • March says:

      Urgh. Be grateful you weren’t sitting near me during 500 Days of Summer. That’s where we were when Woman #2 told me how much she liked the Lola. And I’m thinking omg you can smell it?!? I did one spritz on my wrist.

      Happy Monday back!

      • Louise says:

        Ech, I found that movie a bit sickly sweet, too. The combo of fume and flick would kill me.

        • March says:

          That movie bugged the crap out of me, and I don’t think it was the perfume. I wanted to smack whatsnername across the face. What a manipulative bitch. Everyone’s all sighing and I’m thinking, PSYCHO.

  • JAntoinette says:

    “moist (!) jasmine”!? Moist has got to be my least favorite word. Thanks for the heads up, I will give the moist jasmine a wide berth. I was thinking vampires and Black March, for that freshly risen from the grave smell.

    • March says:

      Oh, I don’t know, I like my jasmine all withered up and dry … also while I’m being disgusting, the woman I was with pointed out that the flowered top, to her, looked like … um. Oh, never mind.

    • pyramus says:

      Early on in the first episode of the fantastic series “Dead Like Me”:

      (main character, Georgia, in voice-over, sitting at hostile family dinner table, describing her mother) She’s pathologically afraid of balloons and hates the word “moist”. She thinks it’s pornographic.

      Georgia: “This is delicious.” (mother smiles appreciatively)

      “And moist.” (mother glares hateful daggers at daughter)

      You can see it at, or you can just seriously go out and buy the whole series on DVD, because it’s really great.

      Have to agree that the Very Hollywood bottle is dreadful; it looks even cheaper than an Avon bottle, and that’s saying something. But the Lola bottle is utterly fantastic. I didn’t quite get all the love for the Daisy bottle, but Lola is amazing.

      • March says:

        Oh, what a great story! You made me laugh, thanks. And it IS a fantastic bottle, but now I’m going to have to erase my friend’s imagery from my mind. I said thanks so much for sharing… of course now I just did the same to you 🙂

        • pyramus says:

          Oh, no need to be shy; you can say the word. The top of the bottle looks like ladyparts. Most all flowers do, as Georgia O’Keeffe has taught us (well, except maybe the calamus, which looks abstractly like manparts, as Walt Whitman has taught us). This is all very appropriate, since flowers are in fact the sex organs of plants. (And fruit are the ovaries. The things you learn!)

          • March says:

            Ladyparts!!! That’s what I was going to type! And so now I’ll say that the additional part of the humor for me was, my very proper friend got herself partway through “It looks like…” and then couldn’t figure out how to finish. So she ended up gesturing at the bottle and saying weakly, “…you know … O’Keeffe.” And I didn’t embarrass her further. 😉

            Some of the men’s bottles are almost laughably phallic to me. Remember … what was that, Paco Rabanne?!? I mean, you’re not even pretending with that one.

          • mals86 says:

            Good thing I finished my coffee hours ago! I remember being in the National Gallery as a teenager, with a girlfriend, looking at those O’Keeffes, and turning to say to her, “Doesn’t that look like… YOU know…”

            I think the Lola flower looks like a kindergarten art project, made with fruit rollups and glitter. Ack.

          • pyramus says:

            Yeah, the Paco Rabanne bottle is as phalloid as it is possible for something to be and not actually have veins. There was another one from the mid-seventies (I think) called Macho that was very much along the same lines, only with a bigger and more anatomically unlikely top. Nowadays you don’t see that sort of thing so much, and in fact sometimes just the opposite: the women’s bottle for Eternity was tall and slender with a T-shaped top, and the men’s bottle was short and squat and had a simple block for a cap, making it look, to put it bluntly, as if the women’s bottle had been castrated.

          • March says:

            Ha. I think men’s bottles can be really strange sometimes. And I could never figure out who’d buy the Rabanne in that bottle, it makes me giggle. So does “Full Choke” by Smalto, which I still want to try *snerk*

          • pyramus says:

            Now, how did I miss “Full Choke”? Everything but the pubic hair. Amazing.

            As for who’d buy the Rabanne, maybe it’s too ridiculous to sell nowadays, but didn’t everyone’s dad or older brother have it in the seventies? I know mine did (right alongside the familiar green glass bottle of Brut, with its classy neck chain).

  • tmp00 says:

    I smelled the Kors. Very Hollywood indeed. Hollywood Blvd circa “Death Wish II”

  • Masha says:

    Hurray! A deservedly negative review! You snark on, girl! I’ve missed the old March. Welcome back! I couldn’t stand those two alleged perfumes, either. Made me run back to my YSL Nu.

  • Divalano says:

    No March really, tell us how you really feel *snark* Have I mentioned how much I adore your reviews lately? I do.

    That was fabulous, thank you … now I can go to bed & face Monday without fear. A good dose of snark really does help fortify one, so thank you, thank you.

    One quibble. I’m not sure a vampire would wear Datura Noir. It’s sexy on me but can be a bit … well. Cuddly. So ok, I wouldn’t wear it as a vampire. I’m thinking a vampire would wear something smokey & leathery. OK, ME as a vampire would wear Cuir Ottoman. Layered with Burning Leaves.

    • Louise says:

      and for full-on crypt, a dab of Messe de Minuit?

    • March says:

      Oh, you’re welcome. Every now and again I have to let it all out, and I figure these two can take it.

      Cuddly?!? First off, DNoir gets bonus points just for the name, in my opinion. Second, it’s evil on me in a good way 🙂

      • Melissa says:

        Well, the datura plant is known for its hallucinogenic and potentially fatal effects if ingested. Datura Noir intoxication anyone?

      • Divalano says:

        OK, I got you on the name, that’s true. but yes, cuddly. Really. For me DN is a well worn white shirt on a rainy summer day. maybe there’s thunder & lightning so ok, a little bit of dark in there but the vibe for me is really sexy & comfy too.

        Funny that Burning Leaves is your comfort scent … for me that’s what I layer in to make things darker, more ominous & mysterious.

      • Divalano says:

        oh wait! just thought of something. you posted about coming up the stairs in the dark chill of an early autumn night filling you with joy. that was you, right? for me that would be melancholy & sad, the loss of summer’s light & heat, the coming of the cold, the last golden days coming up. so it makes sense that dark for me would be comfort for you … yeah? Burning Leaves is kind of a fall scent, I think? and Datura Noir is summer nights & summer storms for me, both things that bring joy & peace to me.

        ok, enough theories, I’m supposed to be going to work. 😉

        • March says:

          Yes, that would be me! I find fall very cheering, I will say in our area falls tends to be lovely and last a very long time — you can get 2 1/2 months out of it. Spring can be oddly melancholy for me.

    • March says:

      PS I get where you’re going with Ottoman and Burning Leaves but I smile b/c Burning Leaves is such a comfort scent for me.