Lanvin Modern Princess & Some Thoughts on Professional Perfumery ≈ Perfume Review & Musings
Lanvin released a new fragrance this year, Modern Princess, meant to court young women with a new, stylish olfactory signature. When a fashion house thinks about its ideal, juvenile clientèle today, it seems that they will think about youth-appeal and addiction first and sartorial-elegance-translated-into-perfume second. We are no longer living in the era of Ma Griffe by Carven, which is noted as the first fragrance which was dedicated to young people in the 1940s. It is no mere chance if I quote this reference, as the latest mainstream opus by Lanvin contains a discreet allusion to that green, effervescent beauty...
The composition opens on a very fruity, even liquorishy, introduction skewed precious and delicate resting on a bed of rum-y, yet white vanilla. The first thought that came to my mind was predictably - and I can confirm - « delicious! » In these first moments, Modern Princess smells both delightful and gourmand. A faint, green anisic flavor spices up the pink apple accord, the result of a collaboration between perfumer Christophe Raynaud and aromaticians to get at the very core of the organoleptic qualities of the Pink Lady apple. Flavor experts not only recreate true aromas to embellish our food but also ones we want to go back to, so addictive are they.
« Addictive » is one of the key concepts of designer contemporary perfumery and it is mediated by taste rather than opiates. The fruit accord is realistic enough for you to visualise a cloudy apple juice fresh off the press in a New England orchard in the fall, or bought from a fresh juice brand, as they are so popular today. I recommend Innocent for their emphasis on fresh taste.
While the pink apple accord is undeniably contemporary, I will argue that because it is coupled with a petaly, floral accord of jasmine, it ends up recreating the charm of an apple blossom perfume of yore, perhaps unvoluntarily. The modernity of the juice is relative as the perfume is filled with historical references.
The perfumer explained,
« I have used a special extract of jasmine, Jasmine Petal Firnat, which has the unique quality and advantage of being as close as possible to the natural scent of a jasmine blossom still on its stem. On the skin, it gives the fragrance a very airy, petal-like quality while underneath developing a sensual, carnal depth, which can partly be explained by the presence of indole. Naturally present in jasmine, this molecule contributes its wild, "animal" and voluptuous character, »
Modern Princess by Lanvin is partly cutting-edge and partly traditional. All the more so if you catch how it is in fact related to Lanvin Eclat d'Arpège, a younger and altogether different fruity-floral and vanillic perfume companion to the aldehydic and very rich Arpège. And if it is related to the younger Eclat d'Arpège, then this means that it is also related to the under-the-radar gem since 1985, which is Hervé Léger eau de parfum composed by perfumer Alberto Morillas.
Modern Princess reprises the peach-skin and vanilla loveliness effect of the Hervé Léger scent. It is somewhat lighter in body and more transparent thanks to crystalline, white musks. The woods are as creamy but perhaps a bit more accentuated. It is more petal-y.
Dubbed as a « sexy floral » Modern Princess borrows this quality from that 80s opus as well.
We can acknowledge the fact that Modern Princess by Lanvin is very 2016 and cutting-edge in terms of perfumery technology in the way that it pushes further the reign of gourmands in fine perfumery thanks to a collaboration with flavor industry specialists, who brought their expertise to co-create the best Pink Lady apple note they could together. Paradoxically, it ends up smelling of a Crab Apple Blossom perfume, which feels much more of a throwback to a 19th century fashion, and which might be its best, curiosités-oriented appeal to perfume lovers of all ages. For the target group Lanvin wishes to reach out to, it will smell pretty, sexy-clean, and wearable.
While one might be tempted to apply the criterium of creativity to judge a new perfume composition, in most cases it is best to note the high level of professional quality of a perfume. This is a high-level fine fragrance. It showcases all the know-how and maestria that perfumery - and French perfumery in particular - has reached and succeeds in reproducing in a stable manner through incredibly hard work, intelligence, intuition and dedication to its craft. Let's not take this as a given, ever. On the contrary, let's compliment professional perfumers who are so excellent at their art that they are requested the world over and who perpetuate a great tradition.
Notes are apple, redcurrants, jasmine, freesia, white musks, vanilla orchid and blond woods.
For images of the behind-the-scenes for the ad campaign, please see here.