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 métro 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: