So I was blermbling around Östermalm today, and I realized that I hadn't yet been to the new Chanel boutique there, and that it MUST be open by now. Happy, it was.
What a suckfest.
Anyone who knows me should know that I couldn't give 2 shits about Chanel clothes or bags or whatever else they sell except for the perfume (and if you didn't know that, then you clearly don't know me), so naturally I went straight for the Les Exclusifs, which you haven't been able to find in Stockholm up until now. They weren't hard to find, since the store itself is just as cramped as the one in NYC; in fact, they were in plain view--just a few bottles set up right outside a door that the salespeople kept entering and exiting, making for an annoying experience. They also didn't carry the whole line. I assume this because I did not see Cuir de Russie among them--I don't know (or care to know) the names of every perfume in the line, so I can't say if any others were missing, but the CdR definitely wasn't there.
And that's a shame, because I really wanted to see if I found it as bad as I did the last time I smelled it in NYC. It was over Christmas, and I hadn't smelled it in forever, but I had wanted it for quite some time. And now that there are smaller bottles, I was thinking of getting one. But it wasn't the same perfume--it didn't have that plush, warm, velvety feel it used to. I assumed that I had changed, and that it wasn't appealing to me anymore. But when I put it to the brain trust, they confirmed that yes, there have been a few reformulations in that line. I don't understand WHY they would reform CdR--if it met all the regulations in 2011, wouldn't it still meet them now? And they charge enough for it that they shouldn't be needing to save money on the formula. But anyway, I obviously no longer want it and can't see myself ever buying it. So that's that.
The usual suspects where there at the store, however: Misia, Bel Respiro, Boy, Jersey.... I briefly smelled the Eau de Cologne, and it didn't grab me. There are umpteen bazillion colognes on the market; why buy this one instead of any other. I was, however, very interested in Boy. I remember there being lots of buzz around it, and while I could be wrong, I thought the buzz was that it was a 'feminine fougère' and that it had an androgynous feel. I'd heard about people liking it too, so I was interested. So I smelled it.
I have to say, I sort of liked it initially. It reminded me of some oil, probably called 'fern', that I smelled at some overpriced, overwrought Italian place on the Lower East Side once. I liked that 'golden' quality that it had, which I would venture to say is a coumarinic aspect. But then I remembered it was the same quality I liked in some Penhaglions fragrance that I smelled once (possibly also called Fern), which I never got because I didn't like the minty aspect that it had, which Boy also has. Anyway, once I got past the 'golden' part of the scent, I realized that there wasn't much more there. I think the perfume could simply have been called "Fougère Base," because that's all I got from it. It's pleasant enough, but definitely not thrilling, and surely something that could be gotten for 1/10 of the price. I wouldn't be surprised if one could buy a fougère base that smells pretty much exactly the same.
And I also must say, apart from the sweetness, I don't see how anyone could call this a feminine fragrance. To me, Boy smells like a component of lots of men's fragrances from the 70s. It smells like it could have been an accord in Brut (which I'm not very familiar with, so maybe I'm thinking of another), or in a dozen-or-so masculine scents that you could find in a drugstore in the 80s. What part of this is a feminine update?
I don't get the hype around this fragrance. My personal thought is: Why would you wear this when you could find an old mens fragrance at a drugstore that smells the same but a bit more complex? I guess one could respond that a lot of those old scents have changed, and that it takes time to go wandering in different stores to find a good one, and that this one is ready to buy, albeit roodonkulously overpriced. I realize, however, that other people do not think like this and that probably the main reason people will wear this is because "it's Chanel." Or maybe because they buy in to this stupid feminine fougere claptrap. But for me, this scent is blah. Not unlike Jersey, which was, while pleasant, also blah. But with Jersey, I would question, "Why wear Jersey when you can wear Habanolide?"
Then on the way out of the store (I couldn't get away from that counter and the people coming and going fast enough), I saw the latest iteration of No. 5 on the main counter. So I smelled it. God, how pointless. I've heard very good things about this new one (whatever the hell THIS one is called. I think there's an 'eau' in it), so I guess I expected SOMETHING new about it. Nope. The same soapy aldehydes in whatever base I don't care about. Honestly, when are the sequels to this movie going to end. Does the world need YET ANOTHER version of No. 5? No. Unquestionably, no. I didn't even keep the scent strip to see how it developed. Why bother, when there will probably be 3 more versions of Number 5 on the market by next year?
To be completely honest, the world doesn't even need the original No. 5 anymore. It should by all rights be in the Osmothèque. How everyone hasn't outgrown it, I don't know. I was tired of it before I even knew it was No. 5 I was tired of. I thought it smelled soapy and 'old ladyish.' And I know I've mentioned this before, but I was told that the participants in a focus group at Symrise said the same thing, because they weren't told that they were smelling No. 5. At any rate, I find it hard to believe that people wear No. 5. for pleasure. It seems that it's more worn to telegraph certain things, like 'class' or wealth. Or perhaps some wear it out of reverence for history, I don't know.
And why bother wearing No 5 when you can wear FAKE No 5? I find Chanel as a company very off-putting anyway, so I celebrate anyone who wears fake Chanels. In fact, I happen to own what I assume is a knockoff of No 5. I saw at at Lidl (!!), and it's basically a very aldehydic floral. Since it was I think 30 crowns (less than $3), I got it, and I like to layer things over it, because I like how the dry freshness of the aldehydic accord works with some stuff. I think it must be a knockoff of No 5, because why would anyone make an aldehydic fragrance these days? It's been done. And I would say that the apotheosis of aldehydic fragrances is, in fact, White Linen by Estee Lauder.
So that was my annoying experience with the Chanel store. I can't at the moment imagine a reason to ever return, but I'm sure that another Les Exclusif will come out and I will go there to smell it and be disappointed again. Such is life.