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Bombay Duck London

YSL Elle

In my day, a young lady’s first fragrance was likely to be Miss Dior or YSL’s own Rive Gauche.  (Which I’ll be coming to in a few days, as it is one of my summer staples – always a joy to rediscover when I finally pack away the Wolford opaques.)  But for any wannabe-sophisticated teen or twentysomethng who has not been swept up by the cult of celebrity fragrances, YSL Elle is likely to feature on their birthday wishlist instead.  So I wondered:  could I get my nostrils around something so clearly ‘marketing-driven’, so obviously composed to introduce new followers to the YSL fragrance portfolio?  In a word, yes, because certainly in eau de toilette form, it’s really quite surprisingly pretty.  In a Legally Blonde sort of way.  (I shouldn’t be surprised.  Its creators were Jacques Cavallier, whose feet I worship at, and the equally talented Olivier Cresp.)  It’s sweet, very, very sweet.  Sugary and sherbet-y.  (Almost fizzingly so.)  The fusion of flowers is powder-soft but powerful – an iron fist in a lace glove:  I get mostly peonies and lots of freesias (I clearly don’t have the right ‘jasmine receptors’ to pick up on that white flower, which is alleged to be in there somewhere) – but with gusts of candied fruits, and white musk.  (Which is a love-it-or-hate-it ingredient, of course.)

It has a sort of plasticky phase (and that’s not necessarily a criticism) – like smelling the body of an Action Man or a fresh-from-the-box Barbie;  I sniff it and am back at my toybox, which is a rather lovely reminiscence, actually.  Once it’s been worn for a while, Elle starts – like so many contemporary creations – to smell snugglesomely like nothing so much as human skin, with the merest-trace-of-a-hint-of-a-whisper-of-an-echo of patchouli lingering there for a surprisingly long time.   (There can never be enough patchouli for me.  Not even patchouli essential oil has enough patchouli for me, for heaven’s sake.)  Now three years old, YSL Elle has been launched as a limited edition for summer 2010, its bottle all splashily dressed as if sporting an Erdem frock.  (At a time when so many people are walking around looking like Jackson Pollock’s painter’s palette that’s very appropriately ‘now’.) As a woman of un certain age, I think I’ll be passing the tall, slim spray on to a younger niece or goddaughter.  But with my blessing to wear it, for sure, and that’s not something I can say of all ‘young’ fragrances.



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