I must admit, it´s been a very long time since I´ve given anything at The Body Shop more than a passing glance. But, if I can wax nostalgic for a bit, I´ll tell you that years ago, I spent countless hours trolling in their New York City shop at Madison Avenue and 52nd Street. I´d while away entire lunch hours in there, leaving myself just enough time to grab a street pretzel and a can of Coke to take back to the office for lunch. They used to sell cute little 2 ounce bottles of most of their products, and I think I had one of everything at some point. Back then, they were the pioneering mainstream, natural, not tested on animals, eco-chic British brand that everyone was enamored of. It was before they had a store in every shopping mall, and before brands like Bath & Body Works and their ilk took over the world.
Last month, I briefly recounted how I breezed by their store in Yorkdale and was assaulted by a sickeningly sweet fruity aroma as I passed. I had heard they were releasing a new scent, Love Etc…, but it wasn´t out yet. I got an e-mail on Tuesday from The Body Shop saying that it was finally in store, so I went back to check it out.
Another interesting tidbit is that the nose who created Love Etc… is none other than Dominique Ropion. He of the Editions de Parfums gang of noses who authored Une Fleur de Cassie, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Geranium pour Monsieur, and the larger-than-life Carnal Flower. He´s had a hand in many other commercially successful scents including Calvin Klein Euphoria, Jennifer Lopez Live, and Burberry The Beat. Among his other collaborations was one of the flankers of Lancà´me Tresor: Eau de Printemps Sheer.
Two thoughts were running through my mind as I contemplated Love Etc… First, I thought, why not? I used to adore The Body Shop´s products. Their Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel and Sage and Comfrey Open Pore Cream saw me through the whole of my 20s, when my face was an oil slick comparable to that left by the Exxon Valdez. Their Banana shampoo and conditioner soothed my senses as well as my hair, after a severe lapse in judgment caused me to succumb to a perm that was supposed to be a body wave, but left me with an impressive “Jewfro” the likes of which have only been seen on Barbra Streisand, circa 1976, and Juan Epstein from “Welcome Back Kotter”.
Second, The Body Shop´s press for Love Etc… is actually giving kudos to Mr. Ropion, something that in their target market, I don´t think anyone really gives a toss about. We perfumistas would rush out to smell floor cleaner if we knew one of our favorite noses developed its scent. But the consumer shopping for fragrances, bath and body products at The Body Shop wouldn´t know Dominique Ropion from Donald Duck. That´s not a diss, by the way; I´m all for these talented artists being recognized for the remarkable work they do. They create the ultimate form of abstract art and they should be celebrated for it, rather than closeted away in labs and conference rooms watching the marketing bigwigs get all the credit. So, since I am something of an aficionado of Mr. Ropion´s work, it was definitely worth checking out.
Love Etc…´s notes are pear, neroli, bergamot, jasmine, heliotrope, lily of the valley, vanilla, sandalwood and musk cream. Certainly, these are far from groundbreaking, and so is the result of their mingling. It is however, fruity in all the right places, flowery and sweet. You could blindfold me and stick Love Etc. or Lancà´me Tresor under my nose and I´d be hard pressed to tell the difference. I wasn´t expecting another Fleur de Cassie, and certainly not Carnal Flower, but the end result will probably be another mainstream mainstay that wouldn´t cause me to recoil in horror if I smelled it on a crowded bus or subway. The price is right ($29.50 for 50 ml) and it certainly compliments The Body Shop´s current incarnation. Speaking of which, as luck would have it, they are re-introducing some of their old “80s Favourites”. Banana shampoo and conditioner, Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel, Dewberry shower gel and some other classic goodies will once again be available starting November 2. I don´t sport a “Jewfro” anymore, and my skin has mercifully dried out to the point where I no longer glow in the dark, but that´s not going to stop me from trolling back down memory lane.
Do you have any former favorite scents or beauty products you´d love to see make a comeback? If so, I´d love to hear about them.