Saturday, 27 June 2015

Lanvin Arpege: Vintage or Simply outdated?

I became interested in Lanvin Arpege last year when I was doing research on classic perfumes. I figured if I was going to start writing about my hobby, I might as well learn some history. Nearly every blog post I read on classic perfumes mentioned Chanel No5 and Lanvin Arpege, so I decided to try Arpege. I bought a miniature version on Ebay (miniature perfumes are so cute and you can put them in your bag to touch up during midday plus I figured if I didn’t like it at least I won't be too upset that I'd wasted money on a full sized version). The first time I tried it, I disliked it immediately. It was sharp and had a chemical "perfumey" smell that I later found out to be a result of the aldehydes in it. If the descriptions sound familiar to you, that's probably because it is in the floral aldehyde fragrance group and smells like the perfumes my mum and several other women in her generation used such as Chanel No5, Elizabeth Arden White Diamonds and Avon Rare Gold (my mom used rare gold for years). A few minutes later when I got to the middle note, the initial sharpness of the scent coupled with the spiciness I smelt had put me off so much that I didn’t really give it any chance. I simply stored it away in my beauty bag only to dab it on whenever I forgot to wear any perfume in the morning.

Fast-forward to 2015, I was finally settled in Nigeria and decided to revive this blog after a "forced" work related hiatus (so much for last year's blogging resolution *le sigh*). I was looking through perfumes I currently had which never got reviewed. As soon as I tried on Lanvin Arpege, I immediately recognised the sharp chemical smell only this time I waited. Patiently. With open mindedness. And five minutes later the sharpness of the floral aldehyde gave way to reveal a warm, creamy balanced fragrance with a hint of spice. It was such a pleasant revelation. I kept sniffing myself because I enjoyed the fragrance so much. An hour later, the depth associated with base notes began to come through as I perceive a more powdery, woody scent which somehow managed to retain its warmth throughout.
Lanvin Arpege is part of the perfume world's old guard; fragrances that were created when perfumers were given creative license to come up with scents as they were inspired to create. The shift in modern fragrances from the old lady perfumes to fruity-florals and floral gourmands which are quite fashionable, have definitely affected the way we buy perfumes and I believe, our expectations as consumers when we go to the perfume counter (or in my case, EBay)  Nowadays, it seems most fragrances are a result of strategic marketing and consumer surveys but I digress.

Lanvin Arpege is definitely a scent that grows on you. I keep wondering what changed between winter 2013 when I brought it and recently when I tried it on again. Maybe my experiences with fragrances in between had enabled me to develop an appreciation for the complexity of fragrances or perhaps the Lagos weather had changed my perception of the fragrance (is that too far-fetched? LOL). Either way, I'm glad I gave this fragrance a chance. It might not smell like a flashy vanilla laced concoction (ironically, vanilla is one of its ingredients) neither is it my new favourite fragrance (it certainly doesn’t smell like a day-time, everyday scent) but it’s a classic perfume I think anyone can enjoy regardless of your age. So if you have the Arpege currently in your wardrobe, and have discarded it as an old-lady scent, why not try it again? You might be in for a pleasant surprise.

You can get Lanvin Arpege here (konga) and here (fragrancex).
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