Chanel: 27 posts

Chanel Gabrielle : Perfume Review

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After years of waiting for Chanel’s next big launch, here comes Gabrielle. “A rebel at heart…passionate and free,” exalted the press release, using words like radiant, sparkling, luminous and “purely feminine.” Although Coco Chanel was a talented individual and a major force in fashion, as a personality I don’t find her all that appealing. But then again, it wasn’t the first time the brand relied on the designer’s charisma to cast a spell. Coco, one of the most baroque and elegant perfumes of the 1980s, used Gabrielle Chanel’s nickname and an image of her reclining in her Coromandel-decorated salon. So what’s wrong with Gabrielle?

One fundamental thing. Unlike its namesake, Gabrielle the perfume doesn’t aim for originality. Gabrielle is a shadow of Coco Mademoiselle, with less personality, less character and less presence. Take Coco Mademoiselle, remove all of the bling and earthy bit of patchouli, put it through a laundry cycle with white musks, garnish it with a few white florals—and here you go, Gabrielle.

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Chanel No 5 L’Eau : Fragrance Review

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Although sometimes I’m prone to romanticizing the golden days of perfumery–that vague time in the past when regulations and profitability didn’t shape the industry the way they do today, I’m not a traditionalist. Tastes change, and I don’t expect that young people today want to wear only fragrances created 100 years ago, just as the children of those whose wear Lancôme La Vie est Belle and Bleu de Chanel might reject their parents’ choices. Yes, a day of “vintage” La Vie est Belle will come. This is why I don’t object to the reworks of classics, such as Chanel No. 5 L’Eau, provided that the brand keeps the original intact and interprets the “young and trendy” theme in an interesting manner.

chanel 5eau

L’Eau is an attempt by Chanel to draw a younger, trendier audience to No. 5. Although I smell enough of No. 5 on women in their twenties in Paris and notice its constant presence in the top 10 best sellers, it is still somewhat of a cult favorite. L’Eau goes for wider appeal.

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Chanel Beige and Jersey Extrait de Parfum : Perfume Reviews

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Of the three new extraits de parfum in Chanel’s Les Exclusifs collection, 1932 seemed most promising, but it turned out that Beige and Jersey held more surprises. As I mentioned in my review of 1932, if you didn’t like the Eau de Toilette, the parfum isn’t going to change your mind, but in the case of Beige and Jersey, the richness, new accents and nuances might make a positive difference for those who were ambivalent about the original versions.

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Beige

I already enjoyed Beige for its understated elegance, and while I proclaim my undying love for Coromandel and Cuir de Russie, I wear this delicate white floral far more often. It certainly won’t turn heads the way Coromandel does or make you time travel to the Roaring Twenties like Cuir de Russie, but if you need a well-made fragrance that feels like a comfortable silk slip, Beige is perfect.

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Chanel 1932 Extrait de Parfum : Perfume Review

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When Chanel announced the launch of Beige, Jersey and 1932 in Extrait de Parfum, purportedly the richest and more luxurious concentration, I was excited. Although neither Jersey nor 1932 caught my attention in the Eau de Toilette versions (Beige, by contrast, is one of my staples), Chanel often has a few surprises up its sleeve, and I waited impatiently till my local boutique received the testers.

1932

There was some speculation as to the reason why Chanel launched the “deluxe” versions of particular perfumes in the Les Exclusifs collection. Shouldn’t the exquisitely beautiful 28 La Pausa, sultry Coromandel or polished 31 Rue Cambon receive more attention? Chanel itself said something about the noble materials and other romantic things, but the truth is that Beige, Jersey and 1932 are the best sellers in the collection, and it made more business sense to focus on them first.

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Chanel Chance, Eau Fraiche and Eau Tendre : Fragrance Reviews

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Perfumer Jacques Polge has authored or co-authored so many of my favorite Chanel fragrances (Beige, Coromandel, Cristalle Eau de Parfum, Coco) that it always pains me to admit that he has also authored my least-favorite Chanel scent, Chance.  Chance always smells to me as if a brand of lesser and striving quality decided to make something “à la Chanel” in style and came up with Chance.

I understand where marketing was going with this scent—that extremely lucrative twenty-something market must be addressed and not with No. 5.  In its fruit, vanilla, and patchouli trope Chance has the ingredients to appeal to this younger market and from that marketing standpoint Chance was a smart idea indeed; the scent does sell and sell well. I smell it on young girls in the mall, their hair swinging and their limbs tanned, and it doesn’t smell any better to me on them than it does on me.

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