Lanvin’s latest is so ME

And now, time for a confession.

Although I was a full-time beauty editor for almost seven years, writing about fragrance was not my favorite part of the job. Part of that stems from how difficult it is to adequately talk about the way something smells, because scent is subjective and emotional. Even with well-composed fragrances, we assign (or subtract) value due to our personal histories. If your mother wore a rose fragrance, for instance, you will have strong feelings about any prominent rosy notes. Good feelings, if your mom was the Clair Huxtable type. Obviously, if you had a Mommie Dearest thing going on at home, then you probably don’t like roses.

But most of my hesitance, honestly, was due to how AWFUL some scents are. You know what I mean. Flower-drenched tropical-drink monstrosities, often dosed with spun sugar and cheap musk, yuck yuck yuck. I mean, I couldn’t stand a lot of those, and I never raved about anything I didn’t like, but — particularly when celebrity fragrances were at their peak — I still wound up writing a lot of “so, uh, this exists” stories simply because it was newsy. Now that I have my own thing going, I write about only perfumes that I like or that I deem worthy of discussion. Kim Kardashian could release 10 new perfumes and I wouldn’t have to write a thing about them, not even because it’s newsy. Small victories.

Anyway, I’ve been sitting on Lanvin’s latest, ME L’Eau, for at least a few weeks. And by sitting on it, I mean wearing it. Guess what? It’s worth writing about. It’s a pretty and elegant floral, but it isn’t just a floral. Every time I wear it, I keep sniffing my wrist to parse the notes. It’s mandarin and pink peppercorn up front, followed by magnolia, peony, petalia*, and peach — but the peach is subtle, not syrupy. For weight, there’s musk and cedar; I like both of those in a scent, because they add enough heft to the florals.

ME L’eau is very much a contemporary fragrance, and by that I mean that it smells of the moment. This is what modern young women smell like, or perhaps want to smell like. It is complex but agreeable, sweet and pleasant, happy and fresh and youthful — but nowhere near a teen body spray, you know? The florals are a little too powerful for me to wear every single day, because my overly sensitive honker can’t handle too much floralcy. Still, when I know I’ll be running around the city all day, this is a lovely little bouquet to wear.

* Petalia is a synthetic molecule that has a fresh, just-picked floral scent. Sorta rose-meets-peony. It was also used in Elizabeth Arden’s Pretty, but I prefer it in ME L’Eau more, just because the pink peppercorn adds some contrasting spice.

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