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Ode to Arpege (EDT) ... a lost love...

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One of the most influential fashion designers of the 20s and 30s, French-born Jeanne Lanvin started her career as a milliner in Paris. She hand-made clothes for her daughters that were so beautiful that they attracted the attention of Paris’ wealthiest residents, who began requesting Lanvin’s designs for their own children. Soon Lanvin opened her own boutique in the city, which became famous for its mother-and-daughter outfits. The Lanvin brand went on to produce menswear, furs, lingerie and home decor, as well as fragrances, with 1927 scent Arpege the signature of the brand.

Lanvin Arpege is a floral sensuous fragrance with bergamot, neroli, ylang ylang, rose, iris, jasmine, coriander, clove buds, geranium, tuberose, lily of the valley, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood and vanilla.

I fell in love with the EDT which was fresher and more effervescently aldehydic without triggering migraines (I call it the Curse of Chanel because they are the worst for using the 'wrong' aldehydes). I found it to be a delightly feminine, sophiticated alternative to the ubiquitous Chanel No.5. I tended to only reach for it in spring and early summer though....

Then I was lucky enough to receive a full bottle of the eau de parfum but I was shocked to find it deeply rich, thick and almost cloying compared to the witty, gamine, effervescent EDT. A heavier, muskier, more serious perfume altogether.

I put it aside and ignored it... continue to eke out my wee bottle of EDT in the spring and summer. Then one autumns day I actually decided to try it on my skin. At first it seemed as dour and miserable as it smelled in the bottle - intense rich florals like ylang ylang dominating.

Now many people these days don't understand / appreciate the true complexity and beauty of notes like full jasmine and ylang ylang these days but I love the vintage blends and adore ylang ylang from my younger years when scents like Givenchy Ysatis, Dior Poison, and Givenchy Amarige were my signature.

With ylang ylang, full jasmine (not this artificial partial scent particules created in the chemist lab), tuberose, etc - one has to learn patience. Apply lightly and allow the scent to breath and develop on your skin. You should not even sniff your wrist until 10 - 15mins in when the top notes have nearly disappeared but the true beauty of these complex, fascinating feminine florals are just beginning to emerge.

On the right chemistry, applied discretely Arpege EDP recalls the splendour of the old vintage scents where women smelled like sensual, sexual beings and where not apologetic for it. So feminine, enthralling, beguiling... the sillage was all that the EDT was and more! And as for longevity! My skin, sheets and clothes all subtly smelled amazing the next day.

Happy now I chose to make my happiness complete by replacing my beloved EDT bottle... I was on top of the world. Now I had Arpege for all seasons, for day and night, for casual and special occasions. May be it would be as close a I could get to a new signature scent?!

But alas it was not to be..

When I went to the department store to purchase it (no discount retailers here... I was buying this one straight up and legit I loved it so much) I was informed that the company had decided to return the 'original concept' and had ceased production on the EDT. Only the EDP was now available in the iconic black boule and was positioned a a 'night scent'.

I was... (and in way still am) devastated. Yes it is still Arpege... but not as we know it. I fear that it may end up being discontinued altogether as it is so against modern tastes for frivolous, gone in sixty second scents that smell of everything juvenile, anaemic and completely sanitised / tasteless (Like anything from MacDonalds).

Few have the patience to take time and develop a relationship / conversation / experience with their scents preferring the pretty baubles to such valuable gems.

Arpege EDP is like Arpege EDT after her heart has been abused and rejected in love. She is still stunningily elegant, sophisticated in the manner of a true lady, but she takes her time about trusting you and opening up to you revealing that amazing sensual heart.

She doesn't laugh gaily or throw her head back with abandon like she used to (think Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday), But give her time and one day soon you'll be blessed to hear one of her deliciously irreverent observations concerning modern perfumes or maybe even glimpse that wonderful smile (think Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina or Funny Face).

Yes the modern Arpege is not as we recall, she has had a 'modern makeover'. However she is still Arpege to the core and still worthy of our love / devotion. For now she will remain a fascinating fall and winter blend.

I am happy she is not completely lost... but my spring and summer will never be the same again...

I so wish they had kept both formulations.... I miss my Arpege EDT so.
Tags: arpege, lanvin



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