Last month I reviewed three fragrances from the Maison Martin Margiela Replica fragrance collection: Flower Market, Beach Walk and Funfair Evening. This week I tested two more, Lazy Sunday Morning and Promenade in the Gardens.
Lazy Sunday Morning, developed by perfumer Louise Turner, is meant to suggest "silky skin, crumpled linen sheets and the reassuring scent of fresh laundry" in "Florence, 2003." Its notes include aldehydes, pear accord, lily of the valley accord; iris accord, rose absolue [sic], orange flower accord; white musk accord, Indonesian patchouli oil and ambrette seeds absolute. Leaving aside the question of why Florence was chosen as the "location" for this perfume, how does Lazy Sunday Morning function as a "fresh and clean" fragrance?
Not very well, I don't think. It begins with some promise: I like its lily of the valley and sheer woods well enough. But then the whole thing is overwhelmed by a gust of aldehydes that sting the back of my throat if I sniff too deeply, and some very generic sheer musk and "white" floral notes. That plasticky musk dry down (wouldn't you know?) just wears on and on, like the whine of a mosquito: thin, piercing, persistent. Lastly, the price of this fragrance is something of an insult. I don't think you or I should have to pay $125 for something that ends up smelling like a combination of bleach and soap, when we could spend much less (about $40, actually) for a Clean fragrance (Shower Fresh, Cool Cotton, etc.) — or, for a different and more pleasing take on musky-clean skin, a discounted bottle of J Lo Glow, also developed by Turner.
As you can guess, after my previous experiences with the Replica collection, I didn't hold out much hope that Promenade in the Gardens would interest me. That's where I was wrong. Promenade in the Gardens reportedly evokes "the romanticism of British gardens" in "Oxfordshire, 1986." It was developed by perfumer Carlos Benaïm and its composition includes a "crispy" green accord, freesia accord, coriander oil; Turkish rose oil, peony accord and sambac jasmine absolute; patchouli heart oil, vetiver oil and Australian sandalwood oil.
Promenade in the Gardens is a radiant modern rose chypre. It stands beside Lazy Sunday Morning like a woman in a designer dress and heels next to a teen-aged girl in a tank top and flip-flops. It evokes Paris more than Oxford, because it has a "classic French perfume" feeling. It's been streamlined for twenty-first century purposes, of course, and there isn't any natural oakmoss in there, but you still get the sour green of the coriander; a slightly jammy rose; and damp, pungent woods. Promenade doesn't have an animalic base, or all the drama of a vintage chypre, but it's a highly respectable and appealing update to the genre. If you ever thought that you'd like to own a lighter, brighter alternative to Estee Lauder Knowing or Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit, Promenade in the Gardens might be what you were looking for.
Of the five Maison Martin Margiela Replica fragrances I've sampled, Promenade in the Gardens is the only one that I enjoyed wearing. I'd even consider buying it, if it were available in a smaller bottle at a lower price (and if I could find a way to remove the label). I'd also be willing to bet that it's not selling as other fragrances in the collection.
But wait, you might be asking — what about Jazz Club, the sixth fragrance (so far) in the Replica collection? I want to try it, really I do, but it was sold out at three different Sephora locations in Manhattan and no testers were available. (Beach Walk and Funfair Evening also seemed to be in high demand.) If a new shipment arrives at any of my "usual" Sephoras in the near future, I'll request a sample. If you've already tried it, do feel free to comment!
Maison Martin Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning and Promenade in the Gardens are available as 100 ml Eau de Toilette ($125 each).