Jolie Laide is a natural perfume line that find its inspiration in French New Wave cinema. From the names, you can tell which ones are inspired by which film.
Back in my undergraduate days, I hosted La Nouvelle Vague showings. The viewers that didn’t fall asleep would often be hyper-focused (probably because of reefer but whatever). I found the hyper-focused viewers to be more entertaining than the films themselves. This may have been because I had watched them too many times, but really it was because it was like they were bystanders in these films. This is exactly what the directors wanted. I loved observing it. I could never really tell how anyone felt about watching these films since they’re the sort of “slow burning” films that don’t really leave an impression on you until the next day or even weeks or months later.
Anyway, I sort of think of natural perfumes like this. It takes patience to wear a natural perfume. Their progressions can be more volatile or unpredictable. Naturals are subtle, so it takes a certain amount of focus to appreciate their nuances. They’re also a little rugged (AKA indie) and have some political and counter-cultural subtexts (I mean, all the “natural” marketing is so “back to nature” and some go as far to be “anti-chemical” which let’s be real, there’s some agenda there). I think for French New Wave, a natural medium really works.
Anyway, to the reviews:
Notes of maté, rooibos, jasmine sambac, white cognac and red mandarin. Launched in 2013. PERFUMER – Heather Kaufman
Masculin Feminin is an indolic white floral with a cup of green tea with lemon. As it wears, it’s like dried grass clippings and brown liquor. As it wears, it starts to remind me more of warm cup of jasmine tea.
I don’t know if it’s what I think of when I think of “les enfants de Marx et Coca-Cola” but I guess that would be something by Coty. Overall, this is a rather sheer “green jasmine” that’s unisex. It’s worth trying if you find the commercial white florals to be too overpowering.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Jasmine tea.
Cléo de 5 à 7
Notes listed include jasmine, pink lotus, rose, agarwood (oud) and sandalwood. Launched in 2014. PERFUMER – Heather Kaufman
Cléo is opens as a sharp citrus with cedar. The rose is hay-like. The white florals are indolic with a citrus bitterness. Cléo eventually becomes a complex, unusual oud and acetic sandalwood. The oud smells like decay which is always present in the fragrance. It eventually dominates the fragrance in the dry-down. It’s like a mentholated decaying wood. And really, I can’t think of a better note to represent this film. Speaking of, if you haven’t seen this film, it’s worth your time.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Exotic woods and rose. Try it if you like oud.
Being natural perfumes, projection and longevity are below average. These wear closely to the skin. Clèo lasts longer on my skin because of the woods.
The 1/2 oz bottle retails from $65 to $75. Other sizes and samples are also available for purchase at Jolie Laide.
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*Disclaimer – Sample provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my review. My opinions are my own. Product pics are from the brand. Masculin Feminin still from Wikipedia. Cleo from 5 to 7 is from fillesgarcons.com.