Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Perfume review: YSL's "Elle"


It's officially Christmastime in Paris! Well, according to the commercial sector, at least. I don't know who tipped the French off to the "anything goes after Halloween" rule, but tinsel and candy canes started appearing in stores promptly on November 1, just as they do in the USA.

All of the Sephoras and their equivalents have begun pushing the new perfumes introduced this fall. And I mean pushing. There are a ton of gift package combinations on sale. Testers not only sit neatly in line on the shelves as usual, but are also strewn around the stores like hand grenades on all sorts of makeshift pedestals. Scent advertising has been plastered all over the TV and the m├ętro for the last couple of weeks, too. Spritzkrieg!

All of this perfume abundance prompted me to test drive Yves Saint Laurent's Elle, a new scent introduced this October. Elle (which you all know means "she" in French) also has her own website, where the fragrance is described as "floral and woody." Apparently the head note is composed of citron, litchi and peony, the middle of freesia, jasmine and "pink berries" (Pinkberry???), and the base of "vetiver, amber and patchouli."

Do you know what I smelled when I spritzed it on my wrist? Well, if I had to transcribe it, it would be like this:

SCREEEECH! EEEEEOOOWWWWEEEEEEEEE! FREESIAFREESIAFREESIAFREESIA EEEEEEEEE! PEONY/MUSKY! PEONY/MUSKY! SWEET. SWEET. SWEET. MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSK.

I actually sneezed after sniffing myself.

No hint of woodsiness, which was disappointing. I like a good deal of woodsy. Instead, the perfume was a clash between sharp, acidic teenager and heavy, claustrophobic rich-lady CEO that (curiously) didn't have much staying power.

I truly want to like YSL perfumes. I love the goth-y, luxurious, subtly tailored, urbane look of their clothing, Parisian to the hilt. I wish I could find a scent in their offerings that captured that look and transformed it into a smell. Alas, I always have the same problem: to me, YSL perfumes smell like mutton dressed as lamb. And I can't think of anything less alluring and edgy than smelling like a rich woman of 67. Elle is no exception.

Although I've decided that this perfume is a Do Not Want, I must compliment whoever was in charge of its marketing. It perfectly captures the aggressivity, the shrillness, and the bombastic qualities of this scent. (Side note for architecture dorks: the commercial is filmed inside Jean Nouvel's Institut du Monde Arabe!)

Anyone looking for a nice cocktail of scent "infusions" and "complementary tones" should look elsewhere. With the pink bottle and elongated shape, Elle may be posing as a Cosmo but she's really a vodka shot of some flavor of Absolut. With a Red Bull chaser.

As if that analogy weren't enough, I made a little diagram for you. I love perfume and I love diagrams, so this will be the way I end all of my reviews--so much more informative than 1-5 stars, don't you think? So behold, these are what I think of as the perfect wearers of YSL Elle:

5 comments:

Jennie said...

OH.MY.GOD. Hilarious. I love the diagram.

Mint said...

I totally disagree, but then again, I'm 19 going on 20, so I guess I took the bait. But I truly think it's a smashing fragrance, with several layers and quite a bit of staying power. I could still smell it on me after 4 hours, which is the time when it is recommended to reapply the fragrance. I guess tastes just differ. (I love almost all of the YSL fragrances). To each his own, as they say.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mint. I disagree. I love the fragrance, because it smelled so good after many hours. When I first tried it, it smelled really fruity at first and I was unsure. But after I let it linger on my wrist for an hour, it started to smell really good. I liked it so much I decided to buy the smallest bottle at my nearest sephora. Give it a chance!

Anonymous said...

Love it, simply love it. From the first whiff it was a fragrant melody I wanted to stay and last with me through the day. There is no doubt scents will be liked and disliked according to one's personal preference, style, body chemistry and expectations. Which is why opinion blogs, or rather, the reliance on such blogs to form an opinion or purchasing decisions are such a waste of time.
Thank You regardless. I am just glad I got the perfume BEFORE I read your respected opinion.

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