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Wild Gardener

Lauren and the Little Black Dress

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Lauren is an early example of the fruity floral based on a natural affinity of banana and jasmin. It's well made throughout and of a material quality that used to go without saying back in 1978. Michael Edwards puts Lauren in the fruity floral category but this lovely old scent is very different from a modern thing like La Petite Robe Noire - which it found itself next to in Fragrances of the World 2015. A comparison between these two - one pale and soft, the other bombastic - shows just how much styles have changed and how old fashioned vintage Lauren had become (before they apparently changed it - see Tania Sanchez in The Guide).

But denigrating this peaches and cream rosy floral just because it's passé is like criticising a Renoir because it wasn't painted last week. The fact is, perfume's role as fashion accessory makes it date much quicker than the purer art form of painting; the art world moves to a slower rhythm than the rag trade commensurate to the value of the product they are shifting - the lower the margin the quicker the churn. One might still be happy to have a Seurat on the wall but no-one would want to dress in a bustle skirt, or wear the type of soliflors the mesdames were sporting on the banks of the Seine in 1886.

Many old fashioned scents smell exactly that - old fashioned. Their qualities, even when objectively good cannot help but come across as obsolete when compared to more modern things. Lauren may have stayed more relevant than Balmain's similar but aldehydic riposte Ivoire (1979), but it has still landed on just the wrong side of history. And it's a shame when a quality but old fashioned work like Lauren gets passed over in favour of something modern and mediocre. I wonder how many modern fruity florals will still be around in forty years?

Updated 4th May 2018 at 07:00 AM by Wild Gardener



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