Sonia Rykiel Belle en Rykiel

I have a long-held, no-longer-very-secret desire to be the kind of whimsical gamine who could pull off the Sonia Rykiel look. You know the type: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Audrey Tatou, Michelle Williams. Alas, I have what the Monty Python boys termed “huge tracts of land”, so I rarely fare well with such gamine fare. I imagine that this is what the poor 1920’s gals who had to bind their chests to achieve the flapper look felt like.

The official notes for Belle en Rykiel, according to Fragantica, are: lavender, mandarin orange, red currant, coffee, incense, heliotrope, amber, patchouli, vanilla and mahogany. At first sniff, I was ready to write BeR off as a Lolita Lempicka clone. However, BeR has a delightful trick up its sleeve. The coffee note is quite prominent, and mingles beautifully with the lavender and patchouli. I would describe BeR as the missing link between Lolita Lempicka and Bond No 9 New Haarlem.

BeR is far more robust than I would have expected from a fashion house that I mainly associate with glamorous French waifs. While I will likely never achieve the look of the Sonia Rykiel ingenue, her fragrance suits me just fine. It’s also ridiculously cheap, $31 for 3.4 ounces on fragrancenet.