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Message in a Bottle: Guerlain and Karl Lagerfeld

message-in-a-bottle-luca-turin-reviews-la-petite-robe-noir-couture-guerlainLA PETITE ROBE NOIR COUTURE

ingredients: raspberry, rose, vetiver
One of the mysteries of perfumery is the skilful management of both time and distance: in the olden days, as my 15-year-old son refers to anything that happened before 2000, many fragrances smelled downright wrong close up and early on. What the great perfumers like Jacques Guerlain and Germaine Cellier (to name but two) wanted was a delayed effect that would magically “knock out” the intended victim two hours in, at a range corresponding to the diagonal of a dinner table.

In this respect, LPRN Couture is a stunning success. Up close it is a strange cacophony of fruity, spicy, and floral notes, as if Nahéma (1979) had collided with Coco Mademoiselle. Step back—or better still—walk out of the room and come back after a few minutes, and you will immediately understand that this stage makeup was never intended for close-ups, but works best when you forget it and suddenly wonder, “What’s that great smell?”

One thing that especially endears it to me is the weird long-term freshness that Thierry Wasser somehow builds into the fabric of his fragrances, as if he alone was privy to a licorice-lavender accord that goes on forever. Beautiful work, and under the present low-cost, reduced-palette circumstances, borderline miraculous. I give it 4.5 stars to leave room for proper five-star miracles.

spicy rose


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