Picture: Gedenktafel 10707 Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Zähringerstraße 13,
Wohnung der Tänzerin Anita Berber
Photo: Wikinaut (cc) Wikimedia Commons, some rights reserved
Sometimes when testing all these well behaved and well adjusted contemorary niche and designerhouse fragrances I as a contrast just want to smell something wild, old fashioned and provocative to the average perfumeconsumer of today (from my preconception). Than the classical aldehydic bomb Arpége from Lanvin is a fragrance that will fit the bill. Before spritzing I have to prepare Mr Parfumista (it’s usually during weekends I wear severe classics like this) that today I will wearing an “old ladies scent”, I hate this expression but it well illustrates a certain category of mostly classic fragrances from which I like many, that he wil not like the smell etc. If not warned he sometimes I have found that he becomes a bit irritated as he don’t like the smell from Arpége and it’s companions on me anyway, because the comment is always “It not suit you and maybe there is something with the chemistry because it’s ok on the scentstrip”. Maybe the old aldehydes and chypres dosen’t suit me the best but anyway I sometimes long for them and want to smell them as they are interesting and difficult creatures to discover.
Arpége (the latest Edp-formulation in the black bottle) starts with a strong aldehydic blast that almost knocks my nose out. The aldehydes are somehow robust, rough and demanding in Arpége, in Chanel No 5 Edt they are more gracile and even more and also champangeny bubbly in Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere and Esprit d’Oscar by Oscar de la Renta. In the middle the aldehydes withdraws but are defintly still there supporting the dark decadent flowers with an uplifting sparkle. Something almost dark and dense leathery also apperars in the backround in this stage and it’s discreetly present even thereafter.
In the basenotes a dark and wet vetivernote that mediates a dark green almost mossy impression dominating. The vetiver reminds me of the dense and dark accord Encre Noire by Lalique and Route de Vetiver by Maître Parfumerur et Gantier, both gendered as masculine fragrances. As I remember it, the vetiver is more prounanced in this Arpége formulation compared to the one before in the transparent bottle where the mossy, woody notes were much more apparent. But the same expression dark, mossy, woody texture and image of the fragrance is preserved. To me Arpége is feminine but it’s also unisex, the opening aldehydic accord leaning at the feminine side but when reaching the basenotes it’s whichever.
Arpége was created 1927 by the perfumer Andre Fraysse in collobaration with Jeanne Lanvins daughter Margurite as a gift from Jeanne to celebrating the thirtieth birthday of her daughter. But tom me Arpége don’t exactly mirrors the elegant enviorment of the mother and daughter Lanvin rather to me it mirrors the decadant setting of the 1920s legendary cabarets and nightclubs in
. Arpége is THE fragrance for the 1920s wild artist Anita Berber , the predesessor to artists as Madonna and Lady Gaga. Berlin
Arpége is an interesting fragrance, a darker, warmer, woodier and rougher than Chanel No 5 It has stood the test of time and reformulations very good. Even if a bit oldfashioned it’s in the same time eternal and a great frag to wear when the urge to wear something different that stands out from the clean, floral, fruity, patchouli, peppery, woody, odors of contemporary perfumes. Arpége is also resonable priced especially compared to new launches and it definitly provides value for money.
Rating: 4 (on me if positive a 3, but considerating the history and peculiarity of the fragrance, the character the ability to create images and the smell on the sample strip, all together a 4)
Notes: Bergamot, aldehydes, peach, orangeflower, honeysuckle, orris, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, coriander, sensitive plant, tuberose, violet, geranium, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, vanilla,musk