Monday, January 21, 2008

Forget me Not : Arpège by Lanvin

In the first decade of the 1900s, Jeanne Lanvin, the magnificent, iconic couturiere and founder of the house that still bears her name, begun designing outfits and dresses for one of her younger sisters and her daughter, as well as for her own, beloved and doted upon child, Marguerite. Soon, word spread, and Lanvin became famous as a mother-daughter fashion designer. Lanvin especially loved to dress Marguerite, to whom she was utterly devoted to, and the adored child grew up to be a beautiful young woman with an astounding sense of style. The emblem of the house (seen left), printed in gold on many of the house’s fragrance bottles (My Sin, Arpège, Eclat d’Arpège etc...) was created by the famous fashion illustrator Paul Iribe and is a stylized depiction of one of Jeanne Lanvin’s own drawings (seen right) of herself together with daughter Marguerite – a drawing with which Lanvin wanted to illustrate the bond between them. Seeing it now, and knowing the history of the house of course, I am unable to look at it without thinking that indeed, the emblem itself, as well as the original drawing do not only depict the bond between Jeanne and Marguerite, but any mother and daughter - as well as representing the foundation that catapulted Lanvin’s career. Built out of love. This story of love and affection comes full circle in 1927, on Marguerite’s (who had by then changed her name to Marie-Blanche, Comtesse de Polignac) 30th birthday, when Jeanne Lanvin gifted her talented, musical daughter with her very own perfume, Arpège, named after the arpeggio, presented in a flacon designed by art deco designer Armand Albert Rateau, with the golden emblem depicting the two of them together.

This wondrous scent, composed by André Fraysse and Paul Vacher, plays its theme from its heart of rose and jasmine – the heart of hearts, the heart which is the center of countless fragrances, yet one that beats in an undeniably unique manner as found in Arpège. Its spellbinding aldehydic opening serves to identify it as a classic, although at the time of its launch it was anything but. It was instead utterly au courant, one of the disturbing newcomers that made use of the (at the time) still sniffed at by most contemporary perfumers, aldehydes. While Arpège was not the first (Chanel’s No.5 has that honor), it was still one of the first few daring ones to go against the current by making use of synthetic aldehydes. And so we have the pleasure to enjoy a fragrance whose edges are all blurred out, whose fruity opening is sparkling and vibrant, whose rising florals are enhanced and whose lasting appeal is gently softened by something that feels like a single, silky dusting of the most luxurious, glistening powder. The aforementioned, rich, rose-jasmine heart is masterfully supported and at the same time gently counterbalanced by greener accents of muguet, hyacinth and honeysuckle, while the sweet, thin powdery character of the bouquet is rounded off with a sprig of lilac. Vetiver supports this beautiful scent’s slight greenness, while musk and sandalwood make its seductive side not only constantly apparent, but also long lasting. Finally, Arpège has had many, many little tweaks over the years so owners of vintage bottles are likely to encounter differences among them. However, according to some sources the currently available jus is a return to the first, original formula.

Tamara has chosen First by Van Cleef & Arpels for today's Forget me Not. You can find her review here.

Images: www.wilsonart.com, www.laperle-global.com and www.dolcn.com


9 comments:

Anita said...

Thank you for the lovely review. My parents brought me a bottle of Arpege from their first European trip, when I was a little girl. I have loved and worn it off and on ever since. It's one of the few reformulations that smells very close to the original, and the bottle is so gorgeous. Lovely history behind the scent.

TMH256 said...

Lovely review my equally lovely friend! :-) That bottle design is stunning!

Thank you for linking to mine. Unfortunately, I'm having technical difficulty doing the same. I will try again momentarily. Have a wonderful day!

xo,
T

tmp00 said...

can you believe that I've never smelled this?

A bit of trivia- built into the glove box of the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was an atomiser of Arpege specially made by Lanvin for Cadillac.

perfumeshrine said...

Very nice!

A slight correction, if you will allow me:
You said: "While Arpège was not the first (Chanel’s No.5 has that honor), it was still one of the first few daring ones to go against the current by making use of synthetic aldehydes".

Actually, the first fragrance to use aldehydes was Le Fruit Défendu by Parfums de Rosine/Poiret in 1914 (containing aldehyde C12, as well as C14 and C18 to be exact) and not Chanel No.5 (1921), but they are perpetuating the myth...

Divina said...

Anita - how lovely! Your comment made me smile - such a sweet memory, such sweet, thoughtful parents!

Divina said...

T, thank you so much for going after that little problem even though you are so busy!

Divina said...

Tom no! I can't believe you haven't smelled this one! Why not?! I already shipped your packet otherwise I'd have included a sample... Next time.

Hugs!

Divina said...

And before I forget! Thank you for the information - How interesting!

Divina said...

Helg dear, your correction is very much appreciated! Thank you!