For all of the recent success of the fragrance side of Chloe there is a great history of the brand which begins back in 1975. That was when Karl Lagerfeld was the creative director for the designer. He wanted to have a fragrance as part of the collection. He worked with perfumer Betty Busse to produce a blowsy chypre-ish tuberose powerhouse. It was a creature of its era. I imagine if I asked any younger perfume lover to try it, they would see me as a decade older than I am. I hadn’t thought about it until I received my sample of Chloe Tuberosa 1974.
I am a bit confused about the perfumer behind Tuberosa 1974. It is listed as Betty Busse who did the original Chloe I spoke of above. She hasn’t done a perfume that I can find attributed to her in this century. Which makes me wonder about where Tuberosa 1974 came from.
Chloe the original 1975 version
I have a hypothesis. When you are watching one of the house fixer-upper shows the successful people look at a crumbing house and see a sturdy foundation. They will sometimes say a house has “good bones” which means it just needs some TLC. I am thinking Tuberosa 1974 represents Mme Busse’s good bones for her original.
Tuberosa 1974 is one of three new releases in the L’Atelier des Fleurs collection. It began in 2019 as a collection of soliflores meant to be combined. The cynicism of this type of fragrance salesmanship is irritating to me. Of the first releases I was drawn to the only one which could stand on its own. I would say they have evolved in their thinking as this year’s set of three isn’t as lacking in character. Quentin Bisch does a rich version of Vanilla Planifolia and Alexis Dadier makes a smoky version of Papyrus. I like them because they chose to do more. What got me most interested in Tuberosa 1974 is because it was doing less than the original Chloe.
Continuing my conjecture it seems to me like Tuberosa 1974 was the spine upon which the original Chloe was built. It is a simple 1-2-3 development of spiced citrus into tuberose followed by oakmoss. All the foundational elements are present but left on their own they show a contemporary beauty I found unexpected. The citrus is given presence through cinnamon. The tuberose is given space to breathe but not so much that it becomes overpowering. The lush mossy green of the base note hearkens back to that chypre-ish original.
Tuberosa 1974 has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I have no idea whether any of my suppositions carry a grain of truth. What I can say is Tuberosa 1974 is a version of that venerable white flower which today’s perfume lover will enjoy because it has good bones.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I received from Nordstrom.
There are perfumes which make it in to the Dead Letter Office because the times have just passed them by. During the early 1970’s the way perfume was marketed and bought was undergoing a significant change. I have heard Michael Edwards mention many times that prior to the mid-1970’s most perfume was purchased by men as a gift for the women in their life. As women entered the workforce earning their own income that would change as women took as much control of the fragrances they wore as they were doing with the rest of their life. During this time there was also a concerted effort to market fragrance to this new female worker. One of the mantras at this time was women who could “have it all”. What that meant was work all day take care of the home all night. It reflected the changing society that women were exhausting themselves trying to live up to this. Unsurprisingly there was a perfume which was being marketed for these superwomen of the 1970’s: Prince Matchabelli Aviance.
One thing that Prince Matchabelli knew how to do was to market their perfumes. They also were one of the earliest brands to use television extensively. If you are a Baby Boomer know the jingle to many of the Prince Matchabelli fragrances. Wind Song not only stayed on your mind but it was an earworm before that term existed. The ad campaign for Aviance also has a memorable tune. In the commercial a woman sings the lyrics “I’ve been sweet and I’ve been good/ I’ve had a full day of motherhood/ But I’m going to have an Aviance night!” As she sings she changes out of her house cleaning jeans, kerchief, and untucked shirt into something more appealing looking. As she finishes the line above a man in a suit and tie responds “Oh yeah, we’re going to have an Aviance night.”
Perfumer Betty Busse working off this idea of a perfume for the woman trying to have it all decides to make a floral aldehyde variant. It kind of mirrors that concept of streamlined green for the office, traditional florals for the housewife, and musk for the evening to come.
Ms. Busse opens Aviance up on a very green aldehydic top accord which carries a bit of muguet along with it. These early moments are reminiscent of many current green muguet scents of the present. It does try to be that safer office style of fragrance. The heart is that traditional bouquet of jasmine and rose with little surprise. The base accord is surprising because Ms. Busse really goes for a musky green effect. Vetiver and moss provide the green tint to the animalic. A smart use of tonka picks up and amplifies the sweeter facets of the musk really adding to its sensuality.
Aviance has 18-24 hour longevity and above average sillage.
In the 1970’s there were three “working woman perfumes” only Revlon Charlie still exists today. The other two Revlon Enjoli and Aviance were sent to the Dead Letter Office because women became more savvy about everything in their lives including perfume.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.