Chloe is not a brand that really speaks to me. Ultrafeminine, very floaty but proper, the house specializes in high end women’s Parisian pret a porter and matching modern fragrances that tend to be at the primmer end of the scale.
The eponymous eau de parfum from 2008 which re-launched the brand into the public consciousness, was hugely successful and is a best seller in Japan to this day. Fresh, brash, chemical roses and freesia, it remains one of my ultimate betes noires, a scent that can literally anger me when I come into contact with it (this happened recently at a herbal apothecary : an assistant had sprayed on too much (one spray) and for me, it ruined the natural ambience).
The recent eau naturelle of Chloe from last year was interesting though, in the way it proposed a new interpretation of the original theme with lighter, clearer, purportedly ‘all natural’ ingredients ; it was like meeting someone you think you used to know but are not quite sure. I much preferred this greener, more delicate take, even if the notes do eventually coalesce into a recognizable Chloe.
The Atelier Des Fleurs collection, light, sheer, is in a similar vein. Excepting the curious aberration of the very heart-on -her-sleeves femme fatale that was ‘Chloe Narcisse from 1992’ – cloying and sweet, a perfume that could give divas like Ungaro Senso and Moschino Moschino! a run for their money, Chloe almost always goes for transparency and bite; a ‘chic clean’ to go with the veiled beige pussybows, and these flowers are no exception. Narcissus Poeticus, a name I love for obvious reasons, is a shiny bright bubblebath of ‘ethically sourced’ French narcissus; powdered, soapy – uplifting and easy, without the obvious indolic facets of this troubling, narcotic bloom :I could happily have this one on standby for perfumed levity.
Ylang Cananga I found a tad sickly and synthetic despite the natural claims : using ylang ylang oil from the Madagascan island of Nosy Be, there is something too Chloeish about this one that I can’t quite ride with, even though I am usually drawn to ylang ylang flowers theoretically .
Chloe Iris, using a special Moroccan iris from the Atlas Mountains, combined with violet, sandalwood/cedar and musk ambrette, is one of those ‘not quite there’ perfumes – it feels almost unfinished – but I think that is probably why I like it. The Iris top note is gorgeous; just the cool, papery crushed orris bulbs you were hoping for; as this fades, a dry, sullen wood musk takes over with echoes of Feminite du Bois ; androgynous, a little empty ; you are left with the feeling that there could have, and possibly should have been more, but as so many perfumes these days feel so overfinished, , packed to the rafters with no breathing space, it is quite nice, for a change, to just have a private, daylight, churlish and moody natural iris to which you can nuzzle, switch off to — —and drift.