Hey, guess what?!? In this month’s Elle (with Nicole Kidman on the cover) there’s an article about hardcore perfume addiction, featuring an interview with the Karens of Sniffapalooza, as well as mentions of Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, and … the Posse!!! Congrats, everyone! Polishing my sidearms and brushing my cowgirl hat in anticipation of some new readers!
I was over at Saks last week, as usual, but not for the usual reasons. As I detailed yesterday, I´m on a bit of a nail polish kick. What I wanted was Chanel´s Rouge Noir nail varnish, which is the original Vamp color, rather than the glittery burgundy Chanel is now calling Vamp in the U.S. I was irritated to discover it´s only available in a set of three different polishes (for $60) and, while one of the other colors is okay, the pale one is of no interest. I waffled about buying Chanel´s Kaleidoscope instead, which is such an amazing color. Online photos don´t do it justice – they make it look like a true silver, but when you´re looking at it in person, it´s this fantastic pale color that´s a perfect balance between green, silver and gold. I wish someone like OPI or China Glaze would get busy and make a dupe of it. But I digress.
On the counter was Jeanne Lanvin – in a tall, elegant bottle that vintage collectors would recognize as having been recycled from My Sin and Arpege bottles of the past. The cap is silver-toned, with the mother-and-child monogram most familiar from Arpege, and it´s one of the rare bottles that looks better in person than in photos. It is the sort of bottle that I immediately want sitting on my dresser, projecting its quiet elegance.
And if all I were interested in was the bottle, we´d be set. Unfortunately, I care about the fragrance inside, and here the news is not so wonderful. Jeanne Lanvin is clearly designed to appeal to the same younger, fruity-floral-loving audience targeted by the re-make of Rumeur, which was also (presumably) designed to reel some customers into the venerable house. Notes are blackberry, citrus, pear, peony, freesia, raspberry, sandalwood, amber and musk. The fragrance was done by Anne Flipo and if you poke around online you can read quotes of the press releases articulating the desire that the fragrance be young, simple, and yet (!) sophisticated.
They hit two out of three. The very nice SA showing it to me guessed apple and peony and she wasn´t far off. The development is pretty minimal – it goes on in a burst of idealized (rather than juicy) fruits and flowers; there is a slightly more powdery phase; then we´re on to the requisite PG-rated slightly gourmand musk. It makes the new Rumeur look edgy in comparison. The fragrance is also very light, at least to my nose; although it is (I think) an Eau de Parfum, it wears like a cologne. An hour after application I could barely smelling it.
There exists in my mind a distinct perfume category: fragrance for women who like the idea of fragrance but don´t want to … you know … actually smell like anything. They want a pretty bottle and a decent aspirational brand and the grown-up appeal of putting on perfume before work or a night on the town. They just don´t want to smell it. This would fit in there nicely, as would more than one of the Hermessences. I can´t say I´m opposed to the idea, exactly – after all, I would rather smell (or more accurately, not smell) this on the women around me than some other gag-worthy fragrances I could name. But I expected more from Alber Elbaz, their designer of often-breathtaking dresses like the two I´ve dropped in on this page from the fall collection. I guess I’m not getting it.