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Cartier L’Envol ~ fragrance review

French postal card showing Santos Dumont flying the 14 bis

Cartier just launched L’Envol (the flight). If you read about the fragrance online, you’ll see it compared to the scents of mead and ambrosia; there’s even a connection with one of Louis Cartier’s favorite people, aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont has a Cartier watch and perfume named after him, and you may have seen “him” (wearing his Cartier watch) in the beautiful L’Odyssée de Cartier film (he’s the guy in the sky bringing the leopard back to Paris).

I got a kick out of L’Envol’s sample card’s wording, which shows even super-rich companies fall short in PR and translation: ‘”Un nectar aérien et boisé. Une potion de vie pour prendre son envol” was translated as “An airy and woody nectar. A life potion for men to take off.”1 After spraying on L’Envol, I didn’t want to take it off; I wanted to spray on more…

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There’s no reason to separate

"For me, it's a great joy to smell a fragrance I did for men, worn by a woman. A perfume should never be reserved for one sex because smells have no sex," [Mathilde Laurent] told me at the New York City launch of Cartier's new eau de parfum, L'Envol, which is technically for men but something I'd wear in a heartbeat...Though we were sitting at a table with the marketing team, Laurent's role is the art of the juice itself, and she wasn't afraid to say that the separation of categories is just a ploy. It's not uncommon for a company to use clichés—it's a business after all—but she said Cartier works to avoid them. "It's an old habit to put a naked woman or man on the advertising to tell you, 'It's for you!' We have come to a kind of caricature of being a woman or man in perfume, but like our society, there's no reason to separate," she said.

— Perfumer Mathilde Laurent of Cartier talks about gendered fragrances in Here's What One French Perfumer Has to Say About Women Wearing Men's Fragrances at Allure.