The fragrance industry is a tricky one, at least if you are trying to find your own personal taste. Let’s play with the idea that money is not a variable in your decision: then you can go from mass-produced scents with celebrity names on it, midrange scents with good quality ingredients like TBS, the commercially produced bottles on the department store counter – now it will start to cost you some money – the finer exclusive lines of those department store counters (yes, here it is expensive and we are nosing on some “niche” territory) and all the way to the niche brands in high-end departments stores or stand alone boutiques/atelières (yup, expensive, rare, refined, a bit cultivated) and all the way up to very exclusive, limited edition niche ateliers only working with the finest and rare ingredients we can source. Here it gets very expensive and for many of us quite hard: these scents require a bit of knowledge to like and understand. They are challenging and sometimes very overpowering if you have an “untrained nose”.
Where ever you end up finding your favourite scent on this very simplified scale, one thing is certain: the world of fragrances is a snobbish one and you don’t cross the borders by identifying your perfume as niche when it’s not, or talk about fine harvests and then add synthetic ingredients into your mix. You play in your field, you stay in your box.
At least that is how I have come to know it.
Therefore, it is a bit of a challenge to see more and more high-end brands, either with counters on the beauty floors or fancy stand alone store (selling everything but beauty) suddenly wanting to have an “exclusive line of perfumes” in there range. The price points are usually high, the design refined and it feels like they want to call them self niche even though we know that they are still quite heavily produced. It is the fragrance world’s grey area. The collections that are in fact super beautiful and a fantastic way of starting to understand the complicated niche industry, but without being all that complicated and refined.
A fragrance snob would probably think these exclusive range are fine, but not quite up there, but I find them so incredibly perfect as a stepping stone for guidance and understanding about notes and scents. It is like an exclusive college; it prepares you for the Ivy League.
The need for fine perfume lines with high-end luxury brands is nothing new. But I would dare to say that YSL were kind of groundbreaking when they launched the YSL Les Vestiaire des Parfums back in November, 2015.
They wanted to present us with a fragrance wardrobe focusing on only five scents inspired by Mr. Yves Saint Laurent’s most iconic pieces of clothing. Couture and fragrance merged together.
It so happened that I got to have a chance to play with them all and receive some of the house’s very exclusive Deluxe Samples. This is what the article is all about. For 2017 I get the feeling that the beauty community have a wish to spend money more wisely, not to jump on every collection and to actually use what has already been purchased. My suggestion is that we also start to embrace the luxury of using all of our samples!
Admit it: how many of you own bags or boxes filled with samples? We get them when we shop, we get them as GWP, we get them at launching events or in goodie bags or with magazine prescriptions. And for some reason it’s not “pretty enough” to use them instead of the real product unless you’re travelling! They sure aren’t populating social media!
Let’s change that and start playing with our samples! Maybe we will find a good way of determine what full size product to splurge on instead of buying them all?
Less rambling, more YSL.
As said, the exclusive fragrance wardrobe launched back in 2015 held five bottles and that’s it. Luxury in small numbers. When I think of Mr. Yves Saint Laurent I only see his iconic “Le Smoking” before me. The first smoking designed for women. Super luxurious, sexy, sensual, powerful. A quiet rebel in it’s own right. Obviously, one of the five bottles is named TUXEDO and inspired by this wonderful piece of clothing and couture history!
TUXEDO is made by the nose Juliette Karagueuzoglou (try saying that out loud!) who is also know to have designed for the house of Penhaligon’s. All five scents are described as “unisex” and TUXEDO plays with the contrasts of Spices and Patchouli. You’ll find Ambergris paired together with Smoked Patchouli which takes away any floral notes and makes the scent darker and sleek. Like the the tuxedo itself. It is a spicy blend with sharp notes of Black Pepper all mixed with fresh parts of Green accord, Lemon and Bergamot. My favourite part of the scent is how it sneaks in some Cardamom and Black Currant to make it round and soft. It is an unexpected mix, some think it’s not all that special compared to a super niche perfume but I disagree. I believe it to be like no other fragrance in its price range and category and it deserves to be worn and loved.
SAHARIENNE is the second fragrance in the wardrobe that I completely fell in love with – and that quite unexpectedly. Designed after the outdoor safari-style jacket; it is made for sunshine and the desert, for adventure and curiosity. All of which I am NOT! This warm blend of Neroli (ok, that is ME) and White Musks paired with Wildgrass makes it like skin warm from a day in the sun. It is soft and creamy, lush, sensual and almost feminine. There are elements of Rosemary and Thyme to make it interesting and what never ends to fascinate me is that whenever I wear a drop of this perfume (and I do own a lot of others, believe me) my husband just immediately picks up on it! I can’t even step into the car without him smiling.
I wonder if YSL secretly added some pheromones in there hahahaha.
I wanted you to see the wardrobe but also get familiar with the YSL Deluxe Samples as I’ve never had such beautiful samples to show you! They each hold 3,5ml which is very generous. Housed in a beautiful white and black push out box lies the long, sleek “test tube” with it’s beautiful black stopper. They fit my evening pouches so elegant and I find it hard to believe that anyone who has been given one of these samples wont automatically want to own the full size bottle. They scream of luxury and exclusivity. A very smart way of YSL to distinguish themselves from the normal pile of fragrance samples we all collect! I uploaded the top picture as a test on Instagram to see how “Insta-friendly” it would be to show samples instead of the full size bottle. To see if it would still create awareness and curiosity for the brand? Turns out it DID! I had never planned on making it a full article but I got so many questions about the fragrance wardrobe that I thought it deserved some information!
If you find that full on niche brands are either too expensive for you or too complicated and “weird” for you nose, but you still want something very special and exclusive I’s day you should look into the YSL Les Vestiaire des Parfums. That is, if you also enjoy a bit of mysterious unisex scents and the touch of old couture house. ♥