“Gwen’s the muse of the unconventional,” said Michele Scannavini, president of Coty Prestige Worldwide. “She has a style that is unmistakable, different, so unique that she can really create trends in the world. We are impressed by how global she is.” (Women’s Wear Daily, 12/7/2006)
Pop star Gwen Stefani launched her L.A.M.B. (Love. Angel. Music. Baby.) fashion label in 2003, and by all accounts it has been extraordinarily successful even while many other celebrity fashion lines are struggling. A perfume was sure to follow.
I don’t really know much about Gwen Stefani, but L (or “L, a L.A.M.B. fragrance”, as Nordstrom calls it) didn’t sound like what you’d expect from the “muse of the unconventional”, what with notes like “sparkling green freshness” and “leafy water hyacinth” (additional notes include freesia, pear, violet leaves, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, sweet pea, orange blossom, frangipani blossom, peach skin, heliotrope and musk). Stefani noted that she wanted her fragrance to be “light, fresh and clean”, another good indicator that we might not expect anything too edgy or unusual. (fragrance notes and quote via Women’s Wear Daily, 3/20/2007)
“Sparkling green freshness” is actually the perfect description for L’s opening. It is mildly green and citrusy, and has a big “fresh” note. The water hyacinth joins in fairly quickly, and after that, it is all rather a blur. There is a bit of pear, and if you pay very close attention, you might pick out a touch of rose or jasmine in the early stages. The sweet pea is more prominent than the other notes in the heart, but it mostly smells like an airy-watery blended floral with vaguely fruity overtones. It is soft and mildly sweet, but also rather diffusive, and the musky base is clean and pale and summery.
Nordstrom is describing L as a “fusion of masculine and feminine”, but the masculine is pretty well hidden — or at least, I couldn’t find it. L is light, fresh and clean, and as such, it doesn’t have a strong personality. It is more casual than sexy (unless you find “clean” very sexy). It isn’t overly sweet or fruity, and while it is youthful, it doesn’t, like much of its celebrity fragrance competition, smell like it is geared towards ‘tweens. It is very wearable, and despite the fact that I don’t find it terribly interesting, it is well done for what it is. Given the weak celebrity fragrance showing so far this year, it might well be the best of the lot. And the bottle is cool. I predict Nordstrom will sell a kajillion bottles of it.
Gwen Stefani L.A.M.B. L is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum. The lasting power is very good. It is exclusive to Nordstrom until September, when it will go into wider distribution. A range of body products is also expected to follow, and Stefani is reportedly already working on the sequels.