It has become so common for luxury brands to have a fragrance as part of their portfolio it is more surprising when one doesn’t. The luxury leather goods brand Louis Vuitton has taken their sweet time about entering the fragrance market. There have been a few fits and starts which never made it past the early development stage. Earlier this year it became apparent that Louis Vuitton had made their decision on how to make their entrance. They decided on a seven fragrance collection in the exclusive category. Initially available only in Louis Vuitton boutiques before slowly becoming more available.
When I received the collection I spent a lot of time with them on strips. The perfumer behind all of them was Jacques Cavallier. All of them are part of this current trend of simpler and lighter fragrances, presumably targeted at a younger fragrance buyer. Except I have never viewed Louis Vuitton as a place where that demographic shops. I was surprised that with seven fragrances there weren’t a couple that went for something bolder. None of them do. Even more confusing to me was leather was only a keynote in three out of the seven. When I imagine the fragrance which embodies Louis Vuitton lily of the valley or orange blossom don’t even come close to being on top of the list but Apogee and Contre Moi are limpid versions of those florals. Even when having the chance to take some luxurious ingredients like orris and rose in Rose des Vents or narcissus and oud in Matiere Noire they come off less opulent than they should. Which leaves the three leather fragrances; Turbulences pairs tuberose with it while Mille Feux is a typical osmanthus and leather mixture. The only one which actually gave me some feel of being a perfume which was a Louis Vuitton aesthetic was Dans La Peau.
Dans La Peau is no more complex than any of the other members of the collection. What enticed me to wear it for a couple of days was the very nice luxury leather accord M. Cavallier employed. This is what a leather goods store smells like. This is closer to what a Louis Vuitton fragrance should smell like.
Dans La Peau opens with the leather accord right there as if you have entered an LV boutique and breathed deep. M. Cavallier then uses three florals to nice effect as complements to the leather. First a very light narcissus adds a bit of floral astringency. Magnolia adds a bit of creamy floralcy. Jasmine is the main floral in Dans La Peau. M. Cavallier combines two sources from Grasse and China. Both are jasmine scrubbed mostly free of indoles. There are some and they make sure never to get too obstreperous. I wanted more tension between the jasmine and leather instead of the generally genial way they are in Dans La Peau. It finishes with a suite of musks but again the safer less animalic synthetics which confirmed that I wanted more of that, too,
Dans La Peau has 8-10 hours longevity and average sillage.
As the perfume brands look to be more enticing to a younger fragrance audience it seems like simple and light are the current choices. The entire Louis Vuitton collection hews to that. In a luxury market which has thrived on fragrances which carry something exclusive along with their brand I wonder how these Louis Vuitton fragrances will fare. Luxe is in flux and Louis Vuitton has placed a wager on simple and light.
Disclosure: this review was based on samples provided by Louis Vuitton.