When I receive mainstream releases, I am rarely challenged by what I find in the sample. They are searching for a broad audience, so they are not inclined to be groundbreaking. It is what marks the biggest separation between mainstream and niche. The later being where the envelope gets pushed. There are exceptions, the latest comes from Zadig & Voltaire Girls Can Be Crazy.
Thierry Gillier has been making fashionable threads for cool young girls from Paris for over twenty years. The move into fragrance has been uneven, to be charitable. It veers between being insipidly simple to something enchantingly engaging. A good example is 2018’s Girls Can Do Anything which was a pear and orange blossom fougere. The opposite was last year’s Girls Can Say Anything which was the simpering peony that bores me to tears. Perfumer Quentin Bisch has been the perfumer for this “Girls Can” series. He returns for Girls Can Be Crazy, surprisingly living up to the name.
The first two in the series were safe; the third is just odd. Using a cola accord as a keynote is unusual. You expect a pairing of the traditional flavored colas which exist as a beverage. M. Bisch wants to bottle a new cola flavor entirely, he chooses pear. It is not something which comes off the top of my head when I think of flavored cola.
It opens with that pear cola accord. The pear is the crisp version. The cola accord is more the flat syrup than the carbonated soda. Cola in that form has a caramel aspect that does find traction with the pear. But the brisk fruitiness tends to push against the syrupy cola finding contrast over harmony. M. Bisch adds some synthetic jasmine to add some expansiveness to the accord to keep it from becoming too heavy. As it becomes more expansive there is more space for the pear and cola to find. A twist of vanilla does create a vanilla coke moment before sandalwood picks up the sweetness of the cola in a woody embrace.
Girls Can Be Crazy has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
The pear cola accord is downright weird. Even as I have been smelling it on the strip while writing this, I am thinking I’m not communicating it adequately. It is hard to believe this is what the trendsetting Parisiennes will be wafting on the Seine this year. I would love to believe that could be the case because it might mean there would be more experimental perfumes to come from Zadig & Voltaire. I appreciate this pear cola experiment even if it is only a one season stand.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Zadig & Voltaire.