Chloé Love, Chloé Eau Florale (2013): The Anti-Photoshop Trend in Floral Fragrances {Perfume Review & Musings}


Lifting up the daintily chained cap for the flask of Love Chloé Eau Florale and catching a strong whiff of powder, I expected the latest iteration of Love Chloé to be a baby powder bomb bound to please American customers in particular as Johnsons & Johnsons have firmly left their mark on the psyches of US-bred infants, as is well known, and thus the olfactory culture of the United States.

This off-the-bottle impression is contradicted by the initial mini stages of the perfume through which the composition courses through. The beginning is sparkling then very floral and a bit décalé, making you think of less fashionable bluish, mauve cold flowers like hyacinth, sweet pea, wisteria, iris and violet. Muskiness sets on in quite a pronounced manner making it more modern and pragmatic in its outlook: dating, reproduction, game on, forward proposition. The perfume also quickly veers into ambergris territory. So much so that I am ready to recommend this new fragrance as a light amber for summer for amber aficionados in need of a pre-winter fix... 

The only thing is that the dose of amber administered here is not that light. It is not particularly summery either. It is more like classically proportioned. Love Chloé Eau Florale may sound like an aquarelle version of itself but it keeps the two main floral and ambery threads firmly in hand, braiding them further - thanks to the four hands piano play by perfumers Louise Turner and Nathalie Graccia-Cetto of Givaudan - with now, a new floral note of sultry, decaying flower under the Tropics peeking through.

The cool tints of the perfume are confirmed with its distant reference to L'Heure Bleue by Guerlain (1912) and its sickly-seductive hues like the pale-bluish cast of a young woman dying of deadly alluring Romantic consumption next to indigo potion bottles on her bedside table. The powdery facet of the perfume is low key and cooling with an aromatic, mint-like nuance. As is often sought out, a cold-warm balance is at work to create tension. The fragrance sweetens with hints of cherry cough syrup.

The composition is equally retro-looking and unexpected in the way it affirms body and texture; supplementary layers of froufrou petticoats have been added where nowadays women usually only wear a light summer dress, or a light slip at most. The long drydown is suprisingly deep and rich for an eau de toilette trailing off with a note of cedarwood.

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On the emotional plane, the composition has captured an ancient style of charm, bottling part of the Belle Epoque atmosphere. Love Chloé, the original fragrance was inspired by a Coty face powder {see Perfumes Inspired by Beauty Products}, and powder more often than not comes across as retro, or nostalgic, often. With l'Eau Florale, both almondy and medicinal nuances pull you back in time to a place where herbs, preparations and pharmaceutical elixirs are much more commonly smelled, permeating the air around you. The note of green maté that has been included in this new version pushes the perfume in the direction of roborative tonics and salts one must smell to vanquish faintness. If L'Heure Bleue could have been created with that tradition of medicinal tonics in mind, this trait has been reinforced with the maté  which is drunk in South America for its tonic properties. 

What Eau Florale allows you to smell, I think, is that there is a return to florals with character and asperities {see Carven le Parfum}. These are florals with paradoxical traits not content with being just pretty and photoshopped. They smell a bit heavy, a bit sickly, and a bit difficult. They can smell a bit fugly-ugly too, flirting with the jolie-laide category, which is not really the case here. 

In Eau Florale, there is something that reminds you of the mortality of flowers when they end up smelling of ooze in a neglected vase, but also of your own moratlity, as there are nuances of interestingly pale, fragile skin. The cherry nuances manage to be both ancient and very on-trend, what with the success of La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain (2009) - and more generally of fruits - which has taken that note of cherry pie in the powdery heliotrope of L'Heure Bleue and made it evolve in today's sweet and fruity black cherry note escaping from Guerlain boutiques at times of heavier promotion.

If you've fallen for l'Heure Bleue (1912) but also Le Dix by Balenciaga (1947) you will capture anew their personalities in Love Chloé Eau Florale. It's a statement of independence from the most mainstream trends like the fruity-florals, the musky florals, the straight up gourmands, while reaffirming a lineage with some great Romantic classics, but also the language of flowers that whisper of powder / birth, and indoles /love, and medicine / cures to everything, but death. 

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