Rock Me Bebe

bebeI ripped open a package from UPS thinking it was a book I’d been waiting for, and it turned out to be a promo bag for the clothing store Bebe’s new fragrance, which is called … wait for it … Bebe.   This is apparently the third iteration of their Bebe scent.  On some other day I’ll do my long-promised post on It Crawled From the Mailbox (aka how I get some of my review samples from people paid to shill them) but let’s stay on track right now, and for the record, I have no idea how/why Bebe found me.  I think at the top all perfume companies are now owned by the same corporate giant — Monsanto, maybe.  I took a long look at the black Bebe bag, which features … a photo of a really young-looking stripper, I guess, her nether regions blocked from view by the perfume bottle.  Inside was a pink powderpuff, a DVD (which I can’t figure out how to open the files of, so here’s a small, different, somewhat NSFW pic), and a little black cardboard box adorned with the same photo that rattled because it contains candy.  No, really.

At that point Diva and Enigma, my teens who are obviously way closer to the target demographic than I am, were already fighting over the contents while we argued about how you actually pronounce “Bebe.”  Meanwhile I continued to look in vain for what I hoped would be an actual sample of the fragrance, which doesn’t seem totally unreasonable if I’m going to review it, does it?  And there it was, albeit in one of those single-use foil-sealed gauze wipe-on things.  Note to PR people:  look, you succeeded!  You made it on the Posse!  And btw I really wish you’d send a small glass sample vial of the fragrance so I can try it more than once.  Notes for Bebe, which is labeled an oriental and which they describe as a blend of florals and musks, are mango, sweet pea, tuberose, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, musk and cedar.

It’s not much of a riddle, but I’ll ask anyway: what do you think my expectations were for this scent?  Do you think they were low?  How low?  Can you drop it to the floor?  Can I remind you their PR kit included actual candy?  Can I mention that there is also a teabag-like infuser for a drinks recipe called the “bebe-tini” which calls for vodka?  So the marketers are aiming for the over-21 crowd, and I guess that’s fair, more or less, if they want to pretend but YO FIFTEEN YEAR OLDS ARE SHOPPING IN BEBE TOO.  Enough with the PR kits that include both candy and a vodka recipe. Shall I mention here that when I pass Bebe in the mall, I think of it mentally as that slutty store?  And that’s saying something.  (In case you are not, or do not own, a teenage girl: Bebe sells mall clothing and accessories for hookers, and the high school girls who want to dress like them.)  Diva is counting the days until she can find something from that store that I’d let her wear in public other than a purse.

Anyway I unwrapped my scent wipe and applied it liberally to myself and Diva – hey, live large, people! – and thus we get to the punch line, which is:  okay, I didn’t drop to my knees moaning in ecstasy, but I would totally wear this.   It’s super peppery on me, and quite musky, surprisingly un-sweet, with a big drip of a liquidy jammy thing like the death knell in Poison (which you know I love.)  You know what it smells like?  It smells like a sick three-way between Poison (the cough syrup), the peppery bits of Sonia Rykiel For Women, and the weirdly masculine parts of Euphoria.  It smells pretty commercial – I mean, I don’t think I’d have mistaken it for the new Malle – but I’m kind of loving it.  It is so resolutely not candy on me.

And here’s the rest of the punchline, because guess who the perfumer is?  Francis Kurkdjian!!  Yes, it’s true!  Now, that doesn’t guarantee success, but in this case I have to say I feel the perfumer both fulfilled the brand requirements and exceeded my wildest expectations.  It falls apart after an hour or so, but the drydown’s not bad, just pepper-musky, and Diva described it as “sexy without being slutty.”  I’d describe it a little differently; to me it’s a third-base-behind-the-bleachers type of fragrance (or, again, if you just want to smell like you might be that girl).  I mean, the message is pretty clear.

On the other hand … fine, maybe I’m overthinking this, but at one point I realized part of what works with Bebe is:  it smells like one of your sexy-girl scents (Addict, Euphoria) as if you were smelling it on the skin and clothing of the slightly sweaty boy you were making out with. Get it?  You’re smelling your scent as it rubbed off on him.  Come on, how great is that?  For a minute I felt like I was behind the bleachers all over again, not that I am suggesting I was ever that girl.

  • annie says:

    oh,ick,yuck….more perfume for those teen-age slutty girls(not that I ever was one.I mean REALLY…look at those notes…at least I wore GOOD orientals…and by the waaaaay….me thinks the girl for the photo shoot is most likely PATTI….I mean,do we think the plastic work stopped at her face,hmmmmm??…plus a few extensions,etc…you go gurlfren’….carry on perfumistas….

  • AnnieA says:

    Well, Bebe is what’s known here as a Teen Tart store. Bay-BAY would be the Euro-pronunciation, but I believe BEE-Bee is the more general pronunciation. Didn’t know at they even had perfumes, much less a remotely wearable one…

  • Patty says:

    Well, I wasn’t that girl either, but this sounds like fun!!!

  • Musette says:

    I’m just stopping by to say that Gomer says Hey! I can’t imagine shopping in Bebe – I think there is an age (or size) limit that I passed awhile back. The scent sounds innocuous enough though it would skew way young on me, I fear…

    But I find the description of the promo pack hysterical! All that….for a wipe?

    xoxo >-)

  • Disteza says:

    OK, don’t hate me, but I found two work-appropriate long-sleeved, button-up silk blouses in cute patterns, a knee-length black velvet tiered skirt, a nice leather trimmed black denim jacket, and a very cute, modestly open-backed’lil black dress in Bebe. I admit their clothing is geared toward the skanky set, and I don’t shop in there particularly often (I’m an Anthropolgie kinda girl), but it’s not all trashy. Not that I think I’ll be wearing their perfume though….

    • March says:

      Hey, thanks for pointing this out! And my ribbing aside, I am sure that if I were on some hellish reality show and they told me I HAD to find something work appropriate from there, I’d come up with something, even if it involved creative layering 🙂 I suppose I find it dispiriting, walking by their display windows day after week, all the outfits making me think of those (apocryphal?) windows in Amsterdam (?) where the bored prostitutes stand, displaying their wares…

  • pinkfizzy says:

    And doesn’t that position look incredibly uncomfortable? She’s sort of balanced on her, ahem, buttcrack.

  • pinkfizzy says:

    When I first saw that ad I had to wonder what the heck they were thinking. If not for the glimpse of side-boob, that could be a teenage boy in a wig and makeup. Those scrawny legs are just not attractive… to me anyway. I’m shocked to find that I actually might like the perfume, I wasn’t even going to try it after seeing the ad. I guess 23 is out of their demographic.

    I always thought Bebe was pronounced bay-bay, as in “Hey bay-bay, you need a ride?” Although then there should be accents on the “e”s I guess.

    • March says:

      Well, they’re all so skinny now in the ads… she does look a little better in the ad I have, but as I said I can’t upload it. I’m glad to know nobody else can agree on the pronunciation either!

  • carter says:

    As expected, this from Guerlain re Habit Rouge:

    Dear Miss,

    I acknowledge receipt of your e-mail dated 9/15/2009 and thank you for your interest in our brand.

    You wish to continue using or buying HABIT ROUGE L’EXTRAIT.

    Your wish has been transferred to the Marketing Department for study. Indeed, this product has been produced in a limited edition and is not available anymore in our warehouse and boutiques in Champs-Elysees. However, I don’t know the availabilities in shops.

    May I inform you that you can discover the Guerlain world through our website

    I would like to thank you for your loyalty and trust in Guerlain.

    Yours sincerely,

    Isabelle ROUSSEAU
    Customer Relationship Department
    [email protected]

  • sweetlife says:

    But what kind of candy??

    I love, love, love the “rubbed off on him” bit in your review. I know exactly what that smells like, and I’m not saying how old I was when I found out…

    (I was a goody two shoes straight A student too, BTW. How does that song go? “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?”)

    Kisses to you for this review.

  • Melissa says:

    As you know, I love to shop with my teenage son. For clothes, for fragrance, you name it. But the only difficult dilemma is whether to let him buy his 34th bizarre logo tee or yet another ridiculously expensive pair of skinny jeans. Actually, I admit to finding many of the logo tees imaginative and artistic, so he is generally in safe territory. And the jeans? As long as his blood still circulates and I can pay the mortgage, not really a problem.

    I applaud you for doing the mall walk of temptation with the girls. On the one hand, I think it would be a hoot. On the other, holding the line on the requests for lace-feathered bustiers and mesh-chain minis in favor of *yawn* purses and fragrance is quite a feat. Bring on the zippers and studs!

    • March says:

      You know, I should get a grip. I (a goody-two-shoes straight A high school student) went through a slutty-clothes phase at exactly the same age. More biker-chick-Stevie-Nicks, but still. The sort of thing that made my dad cringe and my mom scream. So part of me feels like, if my goody-two-shoes girl wants to run around with her teal bra cups showing, why not? But I HATES IT.

      • Melissa says:

        I wasn’t exactly miss goody-two-shoes, but I did the high GPA thing wearing leather halter tops and ripped up cut-off shorts. And promptly wound up in boarding school for 11th and 12th grade! Ok, so it was to study fine arts, but we managed to raise hell and keep our grades up, all while wearing uniforms. Not sure what any of it means, really.

        • carter says:

          Micro-minis, 5-inch platforms, and tight poor-boy sweaters sans bra. I was sent home from school to change more days than I care to report.

          • carter says:

            Except on Fridays when I wore my cheerleading uniform and switched from sulky insolence to peppy, happy, sit-com wholesomeness until the clock chimed at midnight. Who says you can’t have it all?

  • HAHA I am dying to try this now. The way you described it sounds K-RAD.

  • Francesca says:

    I’m always kind of astonished, on my last dog-walk of the night, to see the going-out-drinking outfits on what appear to be otherwise perfectly respectable college-age or young working women (as opposed to working girls). In the immortal words sung by Maurice Chevalier, I’m glad I’m not young any more.
    Thanks for the very funny post, March–I just managed not to snort my tea out my nose. How many of your fans’ keyboards have you ruined anyway?
    And funny you mention Francis Kurkjian–I was just contemplating spritzing on some Promesse de l’Aube, because I’m feeling a little put upon at work, and the scent makes me feel sexy and beautiful and comforted all at once.

    • March says:

      Okay you are freaking me out because the peppery bit in this reminds me just a teensy bit of the kind of masculine FK — was it 3? Damn, I never learned the right names for them! Invasion Barbare, wasn’t it?

      I’m going to hell now.

  • Christine says:

    Well, I for one will be on the lookout for this particular store. We call this style “Hookah-Junior”. I’ll be careful to go looking while my 13 year old is still in school for the day!
    Thanks for the great review!

  • Louise says:

    Oh, Baybee, Beebay, Beeeebeeeee!

    I passed by the shop yesterday on lunch break, and noted just how very trashy the clothes have gotten (and they used to have some decent stuff, 5 years ago). I do see their outfits on my students…but that means that the students are at least in school, if not in class. That is very good thing, so the kids’ clothing doesn’t matter to me…

    I might just have to run in and sniff this. The pepper could clear my sinuses at the least.

    But wait…what kind of candy? The mind wanders…to strange and nasty places :))

    • March says:

      Sex and Candy. Marcy St. Playground? Gah, Earworm! Why don’t I have that on my eyepod?

      I know, I know, it’s what’s inside etc. Don’t go all Voice of Reason on me, doll…. I who answered “If you put a shirt on” to Diva’s Q if she could accompany me to Tysons the other day 🙂 It’s frustrating when you’re logical.

  • waftbycarol says:

    Does this mean it’s pronounced BEE-bee ( bee-bee-teen-ee ? )
    I won’t sleep until I know…
    BTW I do love Kirkdjian’s work , so glad he’s keeping busy , his own store in Paris and all .
    It’s peppery , and they didn’t LIST the pink pepper ?

    • March says:

      I know! Whither the pink pepper! And I’m assuming it’s Bee-bee (like the gun) although I have the unfortunate habit of thinking of it in my head like the Reverend Mr. Beebe from Room With a View, which doesn’t work at all.

  • Lee says:

    Keep turning Diva’s head away from that display March; she’ll thank you later.

    I remember a couple of years back seeing a tweenie (oh,8 or 9 I guess) with a T-shirt saying slut. Now, that’s KLASSI.

    • March says:

      That is a whole different topic, the proliferation of “naughty” tee shirts and thongs (! thongs!) in like size 7. Do not get me started on that one. At least I can *comprehend* the tarting up of girls who are 15. The up-slutting of the grade school set nauseates me.

  • Tara says:

    March..your reviews, as always, just rock…I am off to Bebe’s to pretend (in my 40s) to be one of “those” girls…what fun!!!