Chanel Chance, Chance Eau Tendre & Chance Eau Vive ~ fragrance review

Chanel Chance Eau Vive

Have you noticed the trend of young women dying their hair gray? It can be startling to see a baby face capped with grandma’s hair. Sometimes it comes off as chic. But sometimes it’s an epic fail, almost as unsettling as politicians who dye their hair nut brown when Mother Nature clearly determined it should be gray — or gone. Mutton dressed as lamb, and vice versa.

To me, Chanel Chance plays this game. It doctors a big girl’s perfume for little girls by simplifying its heady oriental notes, freshening it up with citrus, and targeting its marketing to younger women. It’s like Guerlain Shalimar drawn as a kid’s cartoon and squirted with sweet musk, or like Thierry Mugler Angel with less verve and voluptuousness. To me, Chance feels off-kilter — or worse, banal. But, like dying your hair gray, it has its fans.

Chance, created by Jacques Polge, launched in 2002…

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Chanel Misia ~ perfume review

Chanel Misia, brand banner

Misia did not create anything, but, through the people she met throughout her life and her magnetic presence alongside artists of the time, she became a muse, a patron and an arbiter of taste for several decades. — Musée d’Orsay

My intention for this fragrance wasn’t so much to recapture Misia herself, but her role as a turning point in the life of Gabrielle Chanel. Misia introduced Gabrielle to a number of new things. With this fragrance, I wanted to convey the atmosphere of the Ballets Russes [of which Misia was a patron] and the smell of makeup from that time. — Olivier Polge1

Misia is the latest from the Les Exclusifs collection at Chanel, and the first release from perfumer Olivier Polge. You may remember that Polge has been named as the successor to his father, Jacques Polge, who has been the Chanel house perfumer since 1978. The fragrance was named for Misia Sert, a friend of Coco Chanel, but I am not going to belabor the backstory — Misia Sert was fascinating, but really “Ballets Russes” and “the smell of makeup from that time” tells you most of what you need to know about the fragrance…

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Thierry Mugler Oriental Express ~ perfume review

Postcard of Constantinople: the Harbor

A tribute to precious oriental perfumes. Balms, resins, vanilla and powdery effects create intensely sensual and addictive blends. A startling and unusual base of carrot, seed and wood adds an unexpected twist. An original edginess in an oriental perfume that loses none of its sumptuous opulence. In fact, quite the opposite… An extraordinary blend, green and creamy.

«For me, Oriental Express is a fur-like perfume… I decided to enhance the harmony of sandalwood and vanilla by blending it with carrot and basil, for an aromatic green effect. This striking contrast gives birth to a feminine or masculine oriental fragrance, with an unexpected personality.» Olivier POLGE1

Oriental Express was my immediate favorite of the Les Exceptions collection from Thierry Mugler (see Tuesday’s review of Supra Floral), and after spending more time with all them, it’s still top of my list. The description above is reasonably accurate: it’s a unisex woody iris-y carrot…

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