Tag Archives: Cacherel

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

ANAIS ANAIS by Cacharel ( 1978 )



For the writer Anaïs Nin, if you dare enter the diluvial self-obsession of her journals, life was a neverending rush of hypersensitivity.  She was  too precious, almost, to live. With complete contempt for the trivialities of daily life,  she survived on her emotions, indulged her impulses and crushed conventions – seducing even her own father on a sudden morbid whim of narcissism. For Anaïs, to be desired was to be alive: without sex, the mirror glass of her soul would shatter. She was sensuous, fragile; huge-eyed.







A woman such as Anaïs, then,  might seem unusual inspiration for an unthreatening perfume such as this – Cacharel’s first fragrance from 1978, a classic that went on to great success in the eighties and remains ever popular today. Yet despite its commercial appeal (she would have been horrified), the scent did in fact succeed in capturing some aspects of this creature’s nympho-purity with its spray of white lilied delicacy. It is a very romantic perfume that inspires devotion in its admirers because few scents are of comparable mood; a scent for women who seek reticence, or almost  studied shyness in perfume: delicate, feminine, and young.



Under the pallid white and pale pink tendresse of the opening chords lie more carnal, shadowy undertones though – veils of musk, patchouli and Russian leather – a dusky quality foreshadowed in the perfume’s original packaging: I have the parfum de toilette concentrée from 1979 in my collection, a wonderful, somewhat eerie dark velvet grey box adorned with creeping flourishes of dark green leaves and pink petals, the scent inside also darker, more ambiguous than the current cleaned up version with its neat, white, perfect-for-bathroom cylindrical flacon.















Anaïs Anaïs’ floral wistfulness comes from a concentration of glorious white Madonna lilies interlaced with other white flowers: crisp, vernal meadows of fresh hyacinths, blackcurrant leaves, galbanum, muguet and ylang, a bridal bouquet softening gently to a warmer hue of lilies and rose that always retains something of its rather insistent chastity.






Your reaction to this mélange might therefore be of rapture, if breathless tendrils are your thing: irritation perhaps at its undeniably conservative tones (it is a somewhat tame scent that renders a woman pliant and demure in an instant): or, like me, you may enjoy its mysterious, immaculate form, its creamy melancholy – the cool, sepulchral sweetness of a funeral bouquet.









‘The new self she offered him, created for him, appeared intensely innocent, newer than any young girl could have been, because it was like a pure abstraction of a woman, an idealized figure, not born of what she was, but of his wish and hers. Outside of this room, this bed, was a black precipice……’










(Anaïs Nin, ‘A spy in the house of love’)


Filed under Flowers, Lily, Perfume Reviews