See by Chloe ~ perfume review

See by Chloé advert

a breath of perfume, an intriguing personality…draped in the natural elegance of her well-known sister, the see by chloé girl twirls. instinctively playful, smiling, immersed in the moment… urban, self-confident, she arouses the unexpected and cultivates contrasts. assertive, seductive, cheerful, hers is a natural smile.

See By Chloé embodies femininity while blending masculine codes in an urban-chic way. This fragrance captures the audaciousness and strong personality of the Chloé woman.1

See by Chloé is the Chloé brand's youth-oriented diffusion line, which probably tells you much of what you need to know about its new eponymous fragrance: "the target user is 18 to 30 years old with an mischievous, rock ’n’ roll edge."2 From the video advertising, I would have guessed something closer to 15 to 18, but then, my rock 'n roll edge has probably long since worn away — if you're anywhere near the target age, do tell me if you liked the commercials (I found them a turnoff), and do the clothes in the videos appeal to you (ditto)? 

The modern Chloé fragrance brand has been a mixed bag so far. The 2005 comeback fragrance, Chloé, was a huge seller, but I'm not the only perfumista still scratching my head over its popularity. I did like last year's L'Eau de Chloé flanker, and I'm a fan of the 2010 pillar, Love, Chloé. See by Chloé, in my ranking, ends up somewhere in the middle: I don't much care about it either way.

It starts with a crisp apple-y fruit cocktail, and dries down to a soft apple-y floral over a pale woody musk (the notes: bergamot, apple blossom, jasmine, ylang ylang, sandalwood, musk and vanilla). It's sweetish, but too mellow to overwhelm, and clean, but again, in a quiet way — the base vaguely (but no more than vaguely) reminds me of the 2007 version of Chloé, but too quiet to annoy. Despite the lingering apple-ish notes, I would have pegged it as a soft floral rather than a fruity floral. It doesn't change all that much after the first 30 minutes, but it does take on a warmer, slightly spicy tone in the far dry down. The vanilla is mild; it never approaches anything like gourmand status.

See by Chloé smells younger and more modern than Chloé, and like many recent young and modern perfumes, it also smells a bit like shampoo. And, as is also the current trend, it's mostly harmless in a pleasant, office-friendly sort of way — all that "audaciousness and strong personality of the Chloé woman" will have to emanate from elsewhere, I'm afraid. It might be the 2013 version of Marc Jacobs Daisy (2007) or Gucci Flora (2009), although I personally found both of those more charming than See by Chloé. I had a hard time working up any strong feelings about it at all, but will note that as is often the case, online reviews at the stores are largely positive verging on glowing, and Victoria at Bois de Jasmin liked it better than I did too. And she's right about the bottle — it's quite cute.

See by Chloe, fragrance bottles

See by Chloé is available in 30, 50 and 75 ml Eau de Parfum and in matching body products. It was developed by perfumer Michel Almairac (who also worked on the 2007 Chloé and L'Eau de Chloé).

1. First quote via the press materials, second quote via Sephora. And no, there is absolutely nothing masculine about See by Chloé.

2. Women's Wear Daily, 12/6/2006.

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48 Comments

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  1. Carine Yezn says:

    Never tried any newer stuff from chloe other than their chloe by chloe & thought it’s similar to escape by calvin klien. I may pass by sephora next month in March & see if I can find this. Does anybody know if chloe love eau floral is a limited edition or not? I can’t find this one no matter where I look.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, it’s limited edition. Have not seen it in the US, & don’t know for sure if it is coming here — it is in Canada already though.

  2. C.H. says:

    Hm. So, reading Victoria’s review makes me wonder if I have to go back and try it on skin. Just from a blotter, I was definitely not inclined to do so. Frankly those videos were pretty spot on in terms of the impression I got of the fragrance–uninteresting concept executed with bizarrely low production value for a brand that’s made its name doing fine (or least, finer) fabric and tailoring for the younger market. That said, I’m a pretty big apple-hater, so maybe that’s unduly influencing me. But Robin, I take it you did not much find, as Victoria did, that on skin the apple made an exit reasonably quickly?

    • Robin says:

      It may be that the apple is stronger on paper….I didn’t try it on paper. I thought it stayed apple-ish but not overwhelming so; really wouldn’t have pegged it as a fruity floral myself, as I said. I’m not a fan of apple perfumes either. Victoria is right that it isn’t as sweet or massively fruity as some “young” perfumes, but she found the dry down more interesting than I did. In the end, we’re probably in the same place — neither of us likes it well enough to buy it, neither of us hates it so much that we’d cringe if we smelled it on somebody. Maybe where we differ is that she’d buy it for a young relative, I’d probably pick something else :-)

  3. I’ll give this a whirl as I enjoyed L’eau de Chloe and Love, Chloe, and because it’s at Sephora.

    The ads are mystifying to me. I guess I’m aging out of their target bracket (I’m 30), but the production value seems low and the ads don’t even seem to communicate much of a message.

    • Robin says:

      I wonder if they were trying to give them the casual feel of videos you’d make on your iPhone? If so, they went overboard! More than that, I just thought the storylines were ridiculous, & HATED the clothes. I’ve seen pictures of the See by Chloe line, & it’s not all to my taste, but most of it isn’t as dull as what the girls in the videos are wearing.

      • C.H. says:

        So true! Was going to add, I’m 30 and would def wear some pieces from the See by Chloe clothing line–although I’m not certain whether the girls in the video actually were?? It really does seem like the fragrance is being positioned really differently from the clothing, namely, much younger.

        • Robin says:

          If they’re not wearing See by Chloe clothing, that’s crazier than the rest of it!

    • C.H. says:

      The ads really are mystifying. Especially as compared with clothing and perfume, decent-looking video can now be made for very cheap; even the vapidness of the messaging aside, I just can’t understand why they would release something that looks as crummy as that.

      • Robin says:

        Totally agree. If they weren’t on the Chloe channel, I’d have assumed they were fake.

        • C.H. says:

          Same thought! It’s like an SNL parody ad, without the funny.

  4. Abyss says:

    I’m just out of the supposed target customer age group (31) and I hate the ads. I tend to assume that mainstream brands often spend more money on ads, marketing and all that other stuff than they do on developing the juice so, when the marketing looks this budget, it really leaves me with no hope for the juice.

    I haven’t tried any of the Chloe perfumes and it sounds like I don’t need to bother with this either. This sounds like Daisy (which I already thought smelled too much like apple shampoo) in a Balenciaga bottle. They can take the credit for the cap, I suppose.

    P.S. Loved Marni, though, very nicely done. Goes in the same How To Do A Designer Frag pile as Bottega Veneta.

    • Robin says:

      Totally true — Daisy is a better fit with its bottle, this one isn’t as sophisticated as its bottle.

      So glad you liked Marni! I do feel like it’s easier for these smaller, more exclusive brands that aren’t trying to capture a huge segment of the youth market. Victoria is also absolutely right that Michel Almairac is no slouch, if this smells like it does, that’s how Chloe wanted it to smell.

      • C.H. says:

        So true about the lure of the mass youth market being kind of a killer for fragrance… In Chloe’s defense, they have done some scents that were a bit more specific and interesting; it was probably inevitable that they would do one like this eventually. At least this isn’t the only thing they’re doing!

        • Robin says:

          Would agree. And they’re one of few brands that has made a flanker I like better than the original, so if they do a See by Chloe flanker, I’ll try it.

  5. C.H. says:

    While we’re on the subject of Chloe flankers, did anyone get a chance to smell the Intense? Just sort of curious; I can’t argue with the claim it smells like Woolite… but it also smelled a bit like Poivre Piquant, I thought. Surprised I didn’t see more love for it on that basis.

    • Lys says:

      No but have you seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Woolite ad. I kid you not. Now that’s a REALLY bad ad.

    • Robin says:

      The Intense of Love, Chloe? I didn’t, but would like to, ditto for the Eau Florale.

      • C.H. says:

        Oh, I’d like to smell both of those as well–I’m talking about the Intense of the current Chloe edp (not to be confused with, what is it, the 1975?) Incidentally I’m with you in not much caring for the current regular, but Chloe Intense has a bit more going for it, I thought. Good dose of pepper.

        It was in the same bottle as the regular Chloe, but they replaced the pale pink ribbon with a black one.

        • Robin says:

          Oh, gotcha. I did not smell it, I probably should have.

    • Poivre Piquant you say??? I want to try.

      Wasn’t there an intense of the Chloe as well as of Love, Chloe? Or am I losing my mind?

      • C.H. says:

        Yes, this is the Intense of the Chloe edp. I do think it’s worth a sniff! The overall character is rose and not gourmand and in that way different from PP, but, the top peppery kick is super similar, I thought.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Oh, peppery rose sounds good! I will try to remember to give it a try!

  6. Lys says:

    I thought those girls in the ad in the link were going to kiss, it is spin the bottle after all. Then I thought it seems oddly staged like an old episode of Friends, and that the ad execs were probably men in their forties and thought this is what appeals to 18 year olds (and under).

    Also it reminded me of when the Top Model girls have to do the acting challenge (because everything reminds me of Top Model) and they have to pretend they’re really mad at Taye Diggs or whoever they brought in to play their boyfriend but they just kind of laugh the whole time and then the acting coach tells them it looked like they weren’t taking the challenge seriously. The See by Chloe girls lose the challenge! They must immediately pack up their bags and go home.

    Also the use of the product placement in the ads is really forced. Spin the Chloe bottle. Smash (or don’t) the Chloe bottle. Use the Chloe bottle like a microphone. I think the Top Model girls had a challenge like this too.

    Last video ad that had any rock and roll edge to me was the Kristen Stewart-less Florabotanica graphic commercial with music by the Kills and *really* crisp editing and sync. But that’s been filed away since all it did was spawn rumours that Kristen Stewart had been dropped from the campaign.

    Wow, sorry to over-opine. In reality the see by chloe bottle is supposed to look like a bird cage and represent freedom and spontaneity. Because that’s how the bird feels?

    • C.H. says:

      Hahaha, hilarious about the bird cage. Had not occurred to me; it really is an unintentionally perfect metaphor for so much of mass-market beauty (“beauty”) advertising, especially of a crappy fragrance! Spun as freedom, actually a cage.

    • Robin says:

      That was my exact thought — this was made by people who do not know the target audience. Of course, I don’t know the target audience either, so my take is presumably equally invalid :-)

      Good point about the cage.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      YES! ANTM acting challenge was EXACTLY my thought!

  7. Emily says:

    Another 31-year-old for whom the ads do nothing (and I can’t imagine that I’d be that into the fragrance, either — even if it didn’t contain the dreaded apple, it just sounds boring).

    I always find it strange that “18 to 30″ is considered to be a cohesive demographic grouping. Like the vast majority of people I know, I changed a good bit over that 12-year span, and certainly had more disposable income toward the latter end. And I maybe had the body for those clothes at 18, but now … not so much.

    • Robin says:

      I don’t know that they really do think of a group that wide as a cohesive group — I would think they’re also aiming at a specific sort of woman, and we all know age is only vaguely related to perfume tastes anyway, right? I know plenty of women who bought Daisy who were WAY over the target age. And hey, I’m over every brand’s target age!

  8. crowllb says:

    Well, I’m 57 and received a bottle of See by Chloe for my birthday this week. My daughters (who are in the target age group) said that this is something they’d never wear but that it smelled quite good on me. I tend to agree with them. They wear a lot of fruity florals which smell OK on them but wretched on me (which is how my older daughter inherited my bottle of Petite Cherie). I think this works because of that spicy note in the far dry down. It’s not as interesting as Love, Chloe but it’s something different that I can wear to the office or to court without overwhelming the crowd.

    FWIW, I also like L’eau de Chloe much better than the original. The citrus cuts the cloying notes – just like the lemon slice that’s attached to the diet Pepsi glass in a restaurant.

    • Robin says:

      Nice daughters to buy you perfume for your birthday! I need daughters — my son is NEVER going to buy me perfume, I guarantee it. And glad you like it. Interesting that they would never wear it, why is that??

      (and happy belated Birthday, btw)

      • crowllb says:

        Thanks for the birthday wishes!

        My daughters tell me that perfume is NOT supposed to smell like flowers, which is a sure sign of the decline of Western civilization. It’s supposed to smell like musk or candy or Skittles or heaven knows what. Older one wears some sort of headache-inducing Gucci fragrance. Younger wears (or wore) Vera Wang Princess plus whatever fruit cocktail is currently being peddled at Victoria’s Secret. They smelled the apple blossom and jasmine in See and ran away.

        • Robin says:

          LOL! Somewhere I read a review of See by Chloe that said you would have to LOVE jasmine to like it, and I thought what?? What jasmine have you been smelling that you think *this* is a jasmine bomb? Obviously, not real jasmine.

    • Merlin says:

      Thats really interesting: I wonder if skin chemistry changes as we age such that certain scents actually smell better (often)on particular age groups.

  9. nancyg says:

    saw it at Sephora in NYC. Didn’t touch it…

  10. anchi says:

    i’m 24 and honestly, i like – and own a few pieces from – the see by chloe clothing line, even though i’m probably out of their (real) target demographic, too, which seems to be mostly 18 and younger. i smelt this perfume in sephora recently and found it mostly nondescript, but it had a surprisingly bitter milky note that i rather liked. i think it’s a pleasant, safe perfume to wear and i wouldn’t say no to (or regift) a bottle if it were to drop into my lap, but i could definitely see why most people might find it boring.

    • Robin says:

      Pleasant & safe — I’d agree with that.

  11. littlelotus says:

    I just bought a bottle–and I’m 47, never saw the ads, just loved it on me. I liked it from the first and I liked it better later! It is floral and a little fruity, but quirky to me. Maybe like anchi said, it’s that bitter milky note, something like almond? It just felt *good* on me! But I could hardly smell it on my twelve year old, and she didn’t care for it (hey, she’s a Chanel Coco Noir girl, what can I say?) Just goes to show, you gotta smell everything for yoself :)

    • annemarie says:

      Yep, it’s great when you can ignore all the externals and just wear what you like. And congratulations on your daughter’s taste, by the way!

      • littlelotus says:

        It rarely happens (to be able to ignore the externals!), but this time, it did, for me :) And thanks for the compliment to my daughter: she’s one of a kind, for sure ;)

    • Robin says:

      So glad you found one you loved!

  12. Nile Goddess says:

    The original Chloe gives me a massive headache. Love, Chloe less so although its soapiness is grating. See by Chloe is a different species altogether. I’ve been sampling it regularly over the last month and it is by far the most benign, harmless and cheap of all Chloe fragrances.

    Seriously, it has no personality. It is light, sweet and cheap – like something I would expect of Boots, Yves Rocher and – unfortunately lately – of L’Occitane. It is a lower class compared to Chloe, you can just tell the “drugstore” note. If it came at drugstore prices, that would make it an inoffensive cheap spring-summer spray. But as it is, it smells cheap compared to the price.

    Once I tried it at the same time as the new Nina Ricci Nina L’Eau – a pretty light lemony fragrance where the apple is a lot less fruity. Unfortunately it disappeared rather quickly, while See by Chloe stayed on and on on the other wrist … no massive sillage but persistent.

    Would not spend money on it and not sure I’d wear it if it were a gift either, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, it’s a 6.

    • Robin says:

      I always have a hard time with numerical rankings – can’t decide if I would give it even a 6. Maybe. But agree w/ benign & harmless & cheap.

  13. izzie07 says:

    I tried this. I liked it okay, but not something I would buy. Nice smell overall

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