Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Few women are happy to have only one little black dress in their wardrobe. I suppose this was the reasoning behind Guerlain’s introduction of La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2, which follows La Petite Robe Noire originally launched in 2009. At this point, I wish I had an emoticon conveying my general disaffection with flankers so that I do not have to waste space on yet another rant. At any rate, when I originally posted the news of La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2, the mention of marshmallow seemed to put off quite of us. After all, the original La Petite Robe Noire was such a high-voltage gourmand that smelling it made one hungry for sweets instead of inspiring longings for sartorial elegance. As it turns out, these fears were perhaps unnecessary, though that may not offer much consolation. La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2 is not a candy-coated, sugary gourmand; instead, it is a rather wan fresh green floral.
Created by Thierry Wasser under the creative direction of Sylvaine Delacourte, La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2 opens up on a green fig leaf accord spiked with galbanum, which is reminiscent of L’Artisan Premier Figuier. As the violet and orange blossom grow richer, the sharpness recedes and gives way to a soft floral heart. The bright green notes lend the composition a dose of freshness, while the rooty, cold iris serves as a nice counterpoint to the powdery sweetness of orange flower and rose. Yet, La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2 develops rather anti-climactically. The floral effect grows hazy and pale, while the drydown of soft musks and vanilla rounds out the composition to the point of erasing its distinctive features. It has decent tenacity, but its thin sillage of musky vanilla is unexciting. Overall, it smells like the green floral accord of Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel set over a sheered Guerlinade base.
I found the original La Petite Robe Noire to be a rather predictable fruity gourmand. La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2, by contrast, is a more elegant floral that shares only a few gourmand touches with the original. However, it is so polished and refined that in the end it does not leave a strong impression. When I went to Bergdorf Goodman to smell La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2 for the first time, the visiting Guerlain expert insisted that the two Robe Noire fragrances are meant to be layered. The result of layering a sweet fruity gourmand and a fresh green floral produces an effect which is close to Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. Considering that I would not even spend $75 on a bottle of Flowerbomb, spending $300 ($150 for La Petite Robe Noire + $150 for La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2) to achieve something similar is hardly appealing. All things considered, I would rather have one perfect little black dress, rather than two ill-fitting ones.
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2 includes notes of bergamot, lemon, galbanum, iris, orange blossom, marshmallow, white leather and musk. It is available from Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Guerlain boutiques.
Sample source: my own acquisition