Continuing with our ‘Wind Series’- we last looked at Balmain’s exquisite Vent Vert – which, translated into English, we find to mean ‘Green Wind’ – a name that might be construed as a colicky baby burped on her mother’s shoulder, the uncomfortable result of too much Vietnamese, or even strong gales recorded around derelict and mouldering building sites in Chernobyl, but which any case, loses all the poetry of the original French when the English speaker comes to understand the proper definition; equally, Ma Robe Sous Le Vent – ‘My Dress In The Wind ‘ sounds, and is, stupid. Is this a humdrum polyester casual maxi just blowin’ on the line, in the breeze, after it comes out from the washing machine? Or could it be that this wan and worthless concoction is designed to be an evocation of Marilyn Monroe’s immortalized sewer moment, as gusts of underground gases come billowing up in and around her underpants?

Whatever Thierry Wasser’s intentions, I am in all honesty quite DELIGHTED that this crap little perfume exists. According to Monsieur Guerlain, a website I very much enjoy for its exhaustive Guerlainophile attention to the tiniest detail, a bottle of the most venerable French house’s most successful contemporary perfume, La Petite Robe Noire, is sold somewhere in the world every three seconds, and this recently rejigged version, a supposed eau de parfum intense, was created by Guerlain’s in-house perfumer to be sweeter for the American market, for those who found the original incredibly uninspiring French version too unsugared. SWEETER? What, the faux-black cherry caramel of the original synthetic dessert just wasn’t quite enough?

Apparently not! So, as a result, this more recent edition of the neverending fruitchouli bandwagon, allowing Guerlain to compete for market share with Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, Mugler’s Angel, and Lancôme’s abominable La Vie Est Belle, has notes (allegedly: they elude me) of blueberry, Bulgarian rose, candyfloss, patchouli, white musk and vanilla that smell even cheaper, and tackier, than any other perfume I have possibly ever smelled.


Still, if this new version, of what is already a global success for Guerlain, makes major inroads into the North American market ( you can imagine some lady living in the back of beyond, when asked what perfume she is wearing, and answering in full, in god knows what pronunciation, “Oh, it’s just a spritz or two of GUERLAIN LA PETITE ROBE NOIRE MA ROBE SOUS LE VENT EAU DE PARFUM INTENSE ( and someone gunning her down in response ) – becomes a mega-hit, then I am glad.

YES. Keep my beloved perfume house afloat financially. Let the spondoolas from the trash that sells wildly flood the Champs Elysees so that the precious vaults of beauteous perfumes can be properly archived and maintained. If people have no taste, that is FINE. Let Guerlain rake in the coffers from their cheap-as-chips concoctions with disproportionately high prices, so that all the perfumes that we DO love by this house, and there are so many, can be kept alive, nurtured, and preserved; and that new ones, perfumes with imagination, creativity and fine ingredients, are still to be created.


Filed under Antiperfume, Floriental, Fruity Floral

20 responses to “MA ROBE SOUS LE VENT by GUERLAIN (2016)

  1. I love you bitchy. Also love that shot of Charlie’s horse.
    Portia xx

  2. Just the thing to read first thing in the morning with a nice cup of tea. Amusing. And spot-on. Oh, god, can you imagine. La Peetight Robay Nore Sooz Lee Vente Oh dee Perfoom Intense. The French can be so cruel.

    Yes, indeed, if it keeps the mouldy oldies in production. But do you think it will? Or will the Guerlain accountants decide to ditch them and put all their efforts into more cavity producing fruitchouli and Mon-CottonCandyMeringue-Guerlain blockbusters?

    • I’ve been reading Monsieur Guerlain all day and somehow I believe there is still some integrity there and genuine pride in their traditions. It seems very multi-tiered to me and I think that dross like this ( it is SO cheap and simplistic this one it beggars belief ) could well be the fuel to the engine in my view. Plenty of people still love real perfume.

      • That’s a great website. I agree with you; I think there is room for optimism. There are so many venerable Guerlains to love, so many decades of creativity and production and still so many still available (nope, not all their reforms have been successful, but whose are?) and Wasser is both gifted and plainly aware of — and not exactly delighted with — the market-driven forces constraining his output on the mainstream front.

        I’m just trying to think of the last really good — great — release from Guerlain. Probably any number in l’Art et la Matière series, imo, and Les Dèserts d’Orient trio, and Les Parisiennes et al. I have several and love wearing them. Ric’s a fan, too. But I flinch at the prices. (Few wouldn’t, I suspect.)

        As far as something bread-and-butter, hmm. Idylle, no. l’Instant, no. Insolence, maybe yes, maybe no. And if yes, that was over ten years ago. La Petite Robe Noire, not for this woman. Samsara was a long time ago indeed.

        But that’s me. What say you, Neil?

      • I have come to love Insolence: I think Idylle is the worst kind of chemical bilge imaginable, truly foul; Petite Crap Noire I can’t help writing like this about because I just KNOW in my heart that it is just such cheap, cheap trash, even if I phrase it slightly too aggressively (this was a very unpopular post but fuck it, I can’t be pierced heart poetry all the time); The Orient series did smell rather lovely, but as you said, at ABSURD prices.


        I have just remembered. Their best perfume and one I ADORE, which is also their cheapest, is the one I wrote about in hospital, Terracotta Le Parfum. Totally gorgeous, totally over the top, extremely natural (I find it blissful) summer white flower ecstasy. And really inexpensive. It is an inexplicable, beautiful, anomaly. Too sweet for you, probably, but for me it is just delightful.

      • Oh, yes, Terracotta. I’d forgotten. I guess I’d filed it under Limited Edition, a seasonal thing, which it was when I bought it, but now it’s year-round. It goes so, so well with really warm weather, when that sweetness and ripeness reads as voluptuous, not cloying. I can imagine it smells great on you.

      • It does! I absolutely adore it. It is too much in a way, but the first few seconds just take my mind away. What I can’t understand is the price/quality thing. Doesn’t it smell high quality to you? How can it be so cheap? What does that say about everything else, both low and high end?

      • And after reading about Insolence right on this very blog (there has got to be a better word) quite recently, your persuasive powers worked their magic and I went and bought a bottle, the heavier, woodier EdP. I’ve owned it for a couple of weeks now. (When it first came out a legal colleague wore it and she wore much too much. It also didn’t suit her and it was far too loud and sweet in that context. I wrote it off as too juvenile.)

        It was love at first sniff, dark and surprisingly mysterious and not overly sweet. Unfortunately, I have to wear it by myself. Ric gave it a “40/60” (he likes 40% of it and dislikes 60%) and it’s got to rate a 60/40 or better or I feel unkind subjecting him to it.

      • Interesting. It IS quite ridiculous. I think the edp is objectively probably better in terms of smoothness but I like the wildness of the edt personally. Right now I am stuck downstairs and my perfumes are upstairs. I have to ask D to go and get me something I want, or to surprise me, and I want Insolence but he can’t see it. He came down with Laroche Clandestine which I love in a both ironic and unironic eighties way but he couldn’t find the Ysatis parfum I was craving.

      • It says something about the arbitrary nature of pricing, I reckon.

        I just wish it worked like that more often. Sadly, it’s frequently the other way around: things can cost a lot and smell cheap. Whole lines can be like that.

        By the way, this post was popular with ME.

      • And Duncan! He thought it was quite funny. That’s all I need, really. Just one person to react in some way. But I understand that not everyone likes this ruder, more irreverent side. Most prefer to wallow in my psychological suffering.

      • Must try the EdT, then.

        I know Clandestine. I feel the same about it, and about a lot of And vintage Ysatis: now there’s one that a colleague wore in the eighties and made me follow her around, it was that enticing. Dominique Ropion. It wasn’t really right “in context” either but it transcended appropriateness. And she didn’t wear a tablespoon at a time, which helped. It’s such a rich floral on the face of it, and yet the incense-y element rises up from the skin so gloriously.

      • Ysatis :did you ever read my piece on that one? Quite good, if I say so myself.

      • Just found it now and I’m starting to read it. . . Oh, goody, a trip down the Chapman family’s memory lane. Love when you do that!

      • I’m happy to wallow along with them, too, but I do find your criticism wonderfully pithy. And accurate. And very satisfying to read.

      • This is great to hear, thsnkyou

      • I do believe, now that I recognize the Ysatis post, that it was the one that made me start to follow you. I love how you can write so poignantly and yet still maintain some bit of perspective, affectionately but not self-indulgently, if that makes any sense, towards your young self.

        And Rupert Graves had THE best floppy hair then.

      • I watched Room With A View again the other day……..(sigh)

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