What I don’t like about Lolita Lempicka, is that it has produced a sea of flankers so vast, it is enough to confuse the most savvy of sales assistants. Is LL under constant threat of assassination? With more -as exquisitely dressed and fabulously made-up to be just as fair as she- decoys than intergalactic royalty Queen Padme Amidala herself, one would rightly think so! We have Fleur de Minuit (Midnight Flower), a successor to 2004’s L’Eau de Minuit, amplifying the darkness and muskiness of the original, but curbing the ivy freshness and slightly sour cherry note that made it so special. (Worth a sniff though, since the powdery note of the drydown is particularly sexy) We have Les Caprices de Lolita (Lolita’s Whims) which comprise of three different versions of the original, playing up different notes: Caprice Amarena, playing up the Amarena Cherry theme, Caprice Violette, playing up the violet theme and Caprice Reglisse, playing up the licorice theme. We have Eau de Parfum Concentre, in its very own darling vial, a more concentrated version of the original, the exact same promise made by Fleur de Minuit... We have plain Midnight AND Star Dust Midnight Fragrance. We have Eau d’Ete Parfumee, an alcohol-free version. We have Transcendant Sin, the only one so far that rightly deserves its place in the range (and one I hope will become permanent), a limited edition in crystal, which is the pure extrait concentration of the original, with a magnifying glass poised over patchouli leaves and licorice. And finally, we now also have Fleur Defendue (Forbidden Flower), which I’ll have to admit I was quite excited about before actually smelling it. Fleur Defendue looked different, with its slightly anemic, mildly poisonous looking, yellow-green, ripe avocado colored juice. The similarly colored bottle further enhanced this mental association with poisonous, forbidden fruit, hanging in enchanted orchards. I was really hoping this would be a sufficiently different scent to the original, playing with the pure green of meadows and the stinging, yellow-green of bewitched marshes. Well, let me cut to the chase: Fleur Defendue has the fruity-green overtone of Fructis shampoo and just as much sex-appeal. The juice indeed plays with the idea of freshly cut grass, but the result is harsh and badly executed. With anis, licorice and vanilla waaaay back in the background and cherry nowhere to be found, this flanker manages to shed all of the warm, playful aspects that made the original so appealing. It is not quite generic, but it definitely does not deserve to be a shareholder of the fabulous bottle: it cheapens the whole image. It is not stellar. It is not even good. But it is passable and pleasant, clearly aiming at an even younger demographic which I suspect will actually be made really happy with this release during the warmer months.
What is my point? I guess my point is to raise a question on whether all those flankers were really needed and whether they do a good thing (or indeed the opposite) for the brand’s image. Catherine Dauphin, Pacific Creation’s CEO, was quoted in Emballage Digest saying:
“With Lolita Lempicka, we spent a lot of time building the foundations. The different versions and limited editions were designed to gain a strong foothold on the market and the figures would indicate that this approach was the right one: women find Lolita Lempicka very attractive and a genuine relationship has developed between the product and its users.”Is this actually true, I wonder? How do all these flankers actually help in building a trusting relationship between the average consumer and the brand? Personally all these releases leave me confused and disappointed: Lolita Lempicka is a fragrance I absolutely adore, so when a flanker is released it does, of course, grab my attention. However, when the line becomes so prolific, I can’t help but feel lost and disenchanted. I cannot possibly afford to invest in every different version of the scent, especially when 99% of them are so very close to the original. Many lovers of the scent will be forced to buy these unsniffed, since most department stores only offer testers of the edt and edp. The only thing that comes out of this in my eyes, is disappointment for the true devotees of the scent, who end up feeling they do not have the means to explore each stunningly bottled version of their favorite. What this extraordinarily confusing line of flankers really is, is a bottle collector’s wet dream.
Images: Parfums Lolita Lempicka