Party girl : LOU LOU by CACHAREL (1987)



‘Pandora’s Box’, a silent film from 1929, stars Louise Brooks in the role of Lulu: a ravenous, naughty fille fatale who leads all those who fall for her irresistible charms to catastrophic ends. That is, until she herself tumbles into the greedy hands of one Jack The Ripper – and we all know what happens next.

This lithe, luscious character was supposedly the inspiration behind Cacharel’s oozy ’87 blockbuster, Loulou, a fragrance that made no effort whatsoever with restraint (some might say taste, either): a thick, gorgeous, but airless block of scent by the creator of Obsession – that other 80’s, giantesque sex kitten which it resembles like some exotic, Polynesian cousin.

On the right girl, however, (and strangely enough, on me), Loulou is simply one of the most instantly feel-good perfumed things that there is: fun, disinhibiting, and gleefully sexy.


The perfume’s addictive, shock-sweet main melody is a seductive, powdery, almost furred, tropical flower: Tahitian tiare, coconut, cherry-bomb heliotrope, iris, vanilla, ylang ylang, and a darker, woodier base of sandal and incense that is the perfume’s master stroke, tempering the leis and pina coladas with a plunge into ambiguous island shadows. The whole is perfectly constructed; though sweet, and very extroverted, it never really tips over the edge. Rather, it is a knowing, sloe-eyed cocktail of undeniable erotic presence that trails a girl like a challenge. You up to this?

If all of this sounds somewhat vulgar, it is. But it is great nevertheless, and if worn now, something of a tongue-in-cheek 80’s classic. I have been draining my bottle in the last few weeks as the Japanese spring has heated up and I crave something beachy and ‘up’; and in fact on Sunday, at Rainbow Pride in Tokyo, I  practically doused myself in the stuff, with touches of other exotica (Yves Rocher’s Malaysian coconut; a spritz of Montale’s Intense Tiare), to get into the party spirit – a silent Mardi Gras of scent that I took as my costume.  Despite my semi-ironic wearing of Loulou however, several people kept grabbing me close to smell it again saying how lovely it was.

The best thing about this perfume, apart from its depth and richness (unusual now, where even many of the best niche scents exhibit a certain anorexia) is its price: a 100ml bottle can be purchased online for practically nothing from discounters, and you can be sure that hardly else will be wearing it. For fun evenings out, and as an instant serotonin booster – and if you can carry it off – Loulou is very highly recommended.


Filed under Floriental, Perfume Reviews

19 responses to “Party girl : LOU LOU by CACHAREL (1987)

  1. brie

    In my lifetime I have worn many Cacharels (Anais Anais, Noa and all of its flankers, etc) but Lou Lou was the one that got away. It was a signature scent of an elderly woman in my American Lit class in college and it took me the entire semester to get up the nerve to ask what she was wearing. Lou Lou was promptly added to the running tab of perfumes that I “must have” yet I never got around to purchasing a full bottle.
    Flash forward ten years later when I discovered online discount perfume shops. I planned on purchasing some scents of my past (Joop! and Nikki de saint Phalle) and I saw that they were also selling Lou Lou so I purchased a full bottle. When the three bottles arrived they all smelled “off” (must have been poorly stored in heat/humidity) and so I gifted them all away 😦 !!

    • ginzaintherain

      It IS a dodgy one, but I personally just adore it. So fun, so up, so rich…I think you should re-consider it as a possibility!

  2. Cath

    This was my cousin’s signature when we were younger, so it felt like I couldn’t wear it, it was hers, not mine. Now, some 20 years later, I got a bottle of the reformulated version in a swap, and I ADORE it. Now I’m making it mine 🙂

    • ginzaintherain

      Funny how we both used ‘ADORE’ in capital letters for this one! I am glad you came on here!

      • Cath

        LOL. I didn’t even notice that, the word just seemed so naturally befitting to talk about LouLou.
        I’m glad to be here. This is a good and fun read.

  3. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:


    • serafinarose

      Never really tried Lou-Lou! I will spritz some when I am out n about today! Have a fab party n Tokyo Pride! Xx

      • ninakane1

        Wasn’t it at (or on your way to) Rainbow Pride last year that you found that strange but wonderful Cuir de Ruisse?xxx

      • It was…….brilliant that you remembered that, and how foul and weird and fascinating that perfume is..

      • It is the purest, highest, trash. Gorgeous. Like Open Your Heart or True Blue in perfume…(or perhaps, even, La Isla Bonita…)

      • It most certainly is. I was utterly intrigued by it – massively absorbed in that strange chamois leather, but it grew like a strange creature on my arm and I just had to wash it off! For some reason when I think of it, it just conjures the sheepskin rug in your film room – cuir de ruissie and sheepskin are now synonymous for me. I want to smell it again though. In some ways it reminds me a little of Guerlain Green Vetiver. Songwise – definitely ‘Open Your Heart’ – but La Isla Bonita….yes, I think you’re right! I take it la reine was played excessivement hier soir. xxx

  4. brie

    I adored Lou Lou but the version I had was not in pristine condition so it smelled slightly off… fun that you are wearing it today…perfect for Rainbow Pride…..enjoy!!

  5. Lilybelle

    Lou Lou was never for me, but I agree it is fun and I’d love to smell it on someone. Enjoy!

  6. Dubaiscents

    I am wearing this today in honor of you! Thanks for reminding me about this gorgeous scent. And don’t forget to mention the out of this world plastic blue and red spaceship bottle which, only adds to the fun. Enjoy the parade!

  7. Katherine

    Omg I love la Isla bonita! My mum wore this, I don’t think I was ever tempted to wear some, my mum’s perfume choices were always slightly strange to me, but yes definitely fun. Have a great time sounds lots and lots of fun!!

  8. Reading this, and your update, and saddened by the report of death by reformulation. A moment of silence . . .

    • But then again I am actually wearing it, as we speak (and we are speaking), and so far so good. However, I know that within an hour or two what I wrote will be true, whereas l’originelle just goes from strength from strength.

      So it is sad, yes.

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