Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum ($95 for 1.7 oz) is the brand's first fragrance in 12 years. It is described as a "demure violet with airy blossom and delicate peppery notes - a fragrance that is mysterious and fragile, yet leaves a lasting trail."
I find the scent familiar, pretty, and old fashioned. It reminds me of something from long ago. Maybe a fragrance someone wore while I was growing up? I was "gifted" with a bunch of samples, and I have been wearing the fragrance to work. It's a safe scent - it won't offend your coworkers or elevator mates. It's powdery and floral with green notes and a touch of woodiness. It's lovely - really - it's just not noteworthy. There is nothing about this new fragrance that shouts, "Wear me today instead of one of the others!" I'm not sure I would buy it, but I wouldn't turn it down. Does that sound crazy? It's comfortable, like a favorite sweater. I like it, but I don't love it.
I sprayed it on a colleague who is in her 20s. She thought it was "pretty," but she couldn't come up with another adjective to describe it - and she's a smart gal. She also turned down a second spray after the first wore off - about six hours later. It didn't move her. Her ho-hum reaction reinforced my impression that the fragrance has an old-fashioned air about it. That's not necessarily bad. After I wrote up my impressions, I read Gaia's review at The Non-Blonde and chuckled at her remark that Balenciaga Paris was "thoughtfully conceived and doesn't smell like another perfume for a focus group of 19 year-olds who never bought a perfume outside of a BBW body spray." I agree.
The new fragrance is Balenciaga's first under artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière, and it was developed by Olivier Polge. Ghesquière's muse, Charlotte Gainsbourg, is the "face" of Balenciaga. Now that's the crazy part! In the advertising photo above, she looks demure and sexy all at once - and very French. But the adjectives that come to mind when I think about her are "gritty," "edgy," and "confident." She doesn't match Balenciaga Paris. My problem - not hers.
The notes include bergamot, violet, carnation, cedar wood, vetiver, patchouli, moss, and labdanum. That doesn't tell its story. Go take a whiff when you are Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman. Let me know what you think!
Photo courtesy of Balenciaga