Dailies 07/17/14

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Daily Fragrance: L de Lolita Lempicka. L is the golden retriever of perfumes. This seriously scrumptious orange creamsicle scent is one of the happiest fragrances I know. L has been discontinued (boo! hiss!), but can still be found for a very good price at several online discounters.

Daily Magazine: Vogue July 2014. Gorgeous photos, weak interview. Karlie Kloss’ modeling transcends the deeply wretched clothes in her editorial. (Please note that my understanding of modeling is almost entirely based on the first 12 seasons of America’s Next Top Model.)

Daily Jewelry: Nona’s earrings. I almost never remember to wear jewelry, but the blue and gold of the L de Lolita Lempicka bottle reminded me of my great-grandmother’s aquamarine earrings. I got them at my Bat Mitzvah, where they matched my powder blue eye shadow perfectly.

Please feel free to share your own dailies (and to use your own categories)!


Lolita Lempicka Eau de Toilette

Lolita Lempicka, is everything okay at home?

The Lolita Lempicka brand has always struck me as both girlish and grownup, its scents sweet but never insipid. Lolita Lempicka appears to be going in a rather different direction these days, and I can’t say that I like it. First, they pulled the wonderful L de Lolita Lempicka from American stores, but continue to sell its significantly less interesting flanker. Thankfully, L is still available on the cracked-out Lolita Lempicka website. Next, they introduced Si Lolita Lempicka. I am allergic to peppercorns, so perhaps I am not the best person to write a fair review of this devilishly peppery scent. However, I think that we can all agree that this overtly masculine scent signals a departure from the brand’s earlier style.

Finally, we have the new Lolita Lempicka Eau de Toilette. The formula for this fragrance appears to have been one part original Lolita Lempicka, ten parts water. This eau de toilette formulation has diluted Lolita Lempicka past the point of recognition. It has none of the sparkle or charm of its predecessor. No doubt Lolita Lempicka is attempting to cater to the current trend for lighter fragrances, but in doing so they are losing the distinctive character of their perfumes. I can’t imagine who would choose this pointless, tepid flanker over the fabulous original.

Aquolina Chocolovers

Chocolovers was released by Aquolina in 2006, then inexplicably discontinued only a year or two later. I am still puzzled as to why Chocolovers was axed and Pink Sugar allowed to continue its reign of terror, as I find Chocolovers to be undeniably superior to its predecessor. I suspect it may have had something to do with the embarrassing name. If Aquolina had changed the damn name (and probably the bottle, too), I see no reason that Chocolovers couldn’t have done just as well as Pink Sugar. If you come across a bottle at the discounters, I suggest stocking up.

Chocolovers opens with a brief, synthetic blast of orange (nothing remotely juicy, of course, more Fruity Pebbles-esque) before settling into a surprisingly enjoyable Nutella-like combination of chocolate and hazelnut. This is a fun, good-natured gourmand that occupies the same space in my heart as does L de Lolita Lempicka. In fact, Aquolina seems to be following the Lolita Lempicka model of success: start with a licorice-filled blockbuster, follow it up with a cheap-and-cheerful gourmand. That being said, there’s no excuse for buying Pink Sugar while Lolita Lempicka is still on the market.

Gucci Envy

Has anyone tried the Fragrance Finder tool on the Sephora website? It is way too much fun. You tell them a perfume that you love, and based on your tastes they recommend new perfumes for you. At first it seemed gimmicky, but to my surprise, many of their recommendations were spot-on (for example, they recommended Guerlain Shalimar for fans of Editions de Parfum Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, which is often considered a modern-day Shalimar). Of course, some are a just a little bit off base (lovers of the leathery Robert Piguet Bandit should consider… Bvlgari Rose Essentielle??)

Anyway, when Gucci Envy was suggested as a substitute for both Christian Dior Diorissimo and Chanel 28 La Pausa, I had to try it. Gucci Envy was created by one of my favorite perfumers, Maurice Roucel (the man behind Musc Ravageur and Lolita Lempicka L de Lolita Lempicka), so I was imagining something rich and hyper-sensual. Instead, Envy opens on a sharp, green lily note. Although it’s not what I was expecting, I still liked the opening quite a bit. It struck me as Diorissimo Light, a very pretty lily without the richness of Diorissimo. HOWEVER. After ten minutes, Envy began to smell distinctly soapy. Turns out I hate soapy, especially in the context of a rather powerful scent like Envy (like all Maurice Roucel creations, Envy has a STRONG presence). I can’t say I much enjoyed wearing this.

There is one thing that I love about Envy, and that is the ad campaign. The vast majority of perfume ads have at least some sexuality, but the Envy ads are hilariously over the top. Get a room, y’all!

Gucci Envy is available at Sephora for $50 for 1 ounce, $70 for 1.7 ounces, and $90 for 3.4 ounces.

Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of Envy from Sephora (which is likely going back).

Lolita Lempicka, L de Lolita Lempicka

If you were to ask me what the holiest site in Israel is, I wouldn’t respond with “The Western Wall” or “The Dome of the Rock”. Every woman knows that the most sacred place in our tiny, beloved country is the Michal Negrin store. Michal Negrin is primarily a jewelry store chain (although it seems to be expanding into the lifestyle business, with everything from clothing to wallpaper). The general theme appears to be wistful, old-fashioned pictures of women bedazzled by colorful rhinestones. It’s all very over the top, but somehow manages to stay on the right side of kitsch. I once spent a full hour there agonizing over whether I should buy the green version of the following 400 shekel ($100) decorative elephant. My best friend wisely dragged me away, but damned if I don’t miss that stupid elephant.

If the Michal Negrin store had a perfume line, it would undoubtedly be something like the Lolita Lempicka brand. Lolita Lempicka, with its stunning glass bottles and consistently interesting scents,  is somewhat of an oddity in the mainstream perfume world. Today I’ll be reviewing the original Lolita Lempicka, which was released in 1997 (which is freaking ancient in perfume years), and the newer L de Lolita Lempicka.

First up, Lolita Lempicka. In the wake of Angel, which was released in 1992, hundreds of copycats flooded the market, hoping to capitalize on Angel’s monstrous success. Lolita Lempicka has often been accused of being such a knockoff. I personally see no resemblance, although like Angel, Lolita seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it fragrance. I was solidly in the “hate” camp for many years. I thought it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever smelled. It was insanely sweet and smelled just like licorice (my least favorite note). I was legitimately puzzled as to how that gorgeous apple-shaped bottle could house such a revolting smell.

I finally retried it last weekend and am frankly feeling a little foolish. Lolita Lempicka is delicious and delicately pretty. It smells like sweet pastry dough and cherries. It is still very sweet, but when comparing it to L by Lolita Lempicka for this review, I was shocked to discover that Lolita Lempicka is actually less sweet and considerably softer. Luca Turin, a famous perfume critic, gave Lolita Lempicka one of his very rare five-star ratings in his “Perfumes: The Guide”. He declared it “the ideal accompaniment for flirtatious banter from prim girls in glasses.” As a lifelong four-eyes, I agree wholeheartedly. According to Basenotes, the notes are ivy, anise seed, violet, amarise, licorice, amarena, vetiver, tonka, vanilla and musk.

Unlike its predecessor, L de Lolita Lempicka gave me no trouble whatsoever. Created in 2006 by perfumer Maurice Roucel, L is imminently lovable. It begins with citrus and cinnamon, much like Maurice Roucel’s other masterpiece, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. L is far softer than Musc Ravageur, and for the most part smells much like freshly baked Snickerdoodle cookies. L would be rather generic, albeit delicious, if it were not for a curious salty note lurking in the background. That saltiness can be attributed to the immortelle flower, a note rarely seen in perfumery.

L is not quite as intellectual as her older sister, but she’s quite a crowd pleaser. My friends often ask to borrow perfume from me before we go out. They don’t want my Prada or Classique (“too heavy”) and they certainly don’t want my Yvresse or Chinatown. Inevitably they reach for the sweet, irresistible L.

Lolita Lempicka has a new scent, Si Lolita, which was released in France last summer but has no U.S. release date beyond “2010”. However, it has been getting very good reviews on other perfume blogs such as Perfume Posse, and the bottle is nothing short of stunning. I eagerly await its arrival.

Disclaimer: I own bottles of Lolita Lempicka and L de Lolita Lempicka, both purchased at Sephora.