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Monday, March 10, 2008

Chloé: New vs Old

There are perfumes that know what they are doing and there are perfumes on an identity crisis. The latest Chloé belongs to the latter category. You're probably asking yourselves "the latest? Isn't there only one Chloé"? No, actually there are three of them simply named Chloé! Confusing, isn't it? Let's help make the disctinctions.

Michael Edwards lists five Chloé fragrances in total in his compendium: Chloé Narcisse, Chloé Innocence, Chloé Classic (presumambly the original by Karl Lagerfeld: a white floral),Chloé (Collection 2005), and one just called Chloé listed among rosy fragrances (therefore the newest one, out February 2008). The first two are easy to distinguish, the rest not as much.
But let's take matters at the top.

Jacques Lenoir and Gaby Aghion were the designers responsible for the prêt-a-porter fashion house Chloé, founded in 1952. The fashions focused on a romantic vein inspired by the art which had been prompted by the bucolic idyll of antiquity by Longus, Daphnis and Chloe. The dreamy ballet Daphnis et Chloé by French imporessionist composer Maurice Ravel, often collected in romantic compilations helped consolidate an oneiric inpterpretation of what Chloé stands for: fluid, gauzy designs, chiffon and mousseline fabrics, pastel colours.

And so in 1975, when Karl Lagerfeld was designing for them before going on to Chanel, the house came out with its own perfume, simply named Chloé by Chloé : a white floral centered on tuberose, flower of spiritual ruin, carnal, feminine and feisty.
Taking its name from the Greek, which means "green shoot" it was composed by Betty Busse. The original Chloé married the subtle green tinge of leaves and aldehydic peach on top of an avalanche of jasmine, ylang-ylang, honeysuckle and narcissus, with just a whisper of exotic coconut. The drydown of warm skin and a little dry orris powder was indeed memorable. Thus it managed to mark an era, becoming a cult item, none the less because of its weird award-winning bottle designed by Joe Messina which was depicting the stem of a calla lily on the extrait de parfum stopper. It could also be interpreted as an aorta sprouting from a heart, if one is twisted enough...

Although the original Chloé has had many ardent fans through the years I always found that warm, radiant and feminine through it undoubtedly is, it possessed a tad sticky vulgarity that announced its wearer a bit earlier than would be the height of good manners: when within an arm's length, that is! Rumours have been circulating about a reformulation in the 1990s that left something to be desired for those who were devoted to the scent of their youth.
Compared to other tuberose vignettes,the original Chloé is an amateur 9mm to Carnal Flower's 3D-Techicolor and it lacks the rubber gloves of kink that Fracas is hiding beneath its femme façade. Nevertheless it executed its message with conviction and admirable flair.

The new version after 10 years of seeming inertia, alas, does not; and on top of that it marks the discontinuation of the old, classic tuberosey Chloé. The press release by Coty promised:

"The amber floral by Michel Almairac and Amandine Marie at Robertet is meant to embody the classic modern scent. It features a bouquet of powdered florals composed of peony, lychée and freesia. Notes of rose, magnolia and lily of the valley make up the heart over an amber and cedar wood base".

Personally I would not categorise the new Chloé in the ambery floral family. In fact it starts with an hydroponic* freesia accord that reminded me of the intense aqueous opening of L'eau d'Issey as well as its fantasy woody base. The pastel fruit-jelly accord (of which lychee is officially mentioned) has a passing resemblance to the fruity floral character of Cool Water Woman. Bearing in mind that those two are fragrances which I have smelled to death in the 90s, I could do without. There is also no prominent rosiness, at least no next of kin to the noble Bulgarian attars and the whole expires in little saccharine puffs of no great consequence. The attention which had been given to the exquisite, hefty bottle showing love for the detail (the grosgrain ribbon) was sadly lacking in the production of the jus.

No less than three egeries front the new Chloé campaign: American cult icon Chloë Sevigny, model Anja Rubik and French actress Clemence Poesy — "each chosen to represent a different facet of the Chloé woman: romantic; edgy, and sexy and sensual" — they all star in the black & white ad campaign, which you can watch here.


(uploaded by carriefan8890)

It is especially interesting to note that Chloë Sevigny, notorious for her outré performance in the Brown Bunny by Vincent Gallo is from now on and for as long as her contract is valid forbidden to star in comparable projects that might harm the reputation of the fragrance and consequently its sales. "It's very flattering," said Sevigny on being picked to represent Chloé Eau de Parfum, before adding, with a laugh, "I'm concerned that the customers might be confused, though; I have the umlaut in my name while they have the accent. I'm Chloë, not Chloé."
I was also surprised by her comment that Chloé has an edible quality about it in the above clip: I certainly didn't detect anything of the sort!
No wonder Chandler Burr slain the new fragrance in his article in The New York Times.

There is yet a third Chloé fragrance that might be confused with both, usually referred to on etailers as Chloé collection 2005, from the year it launched (it was a spring edition). The info from Parfumessence states that it features
"top notes of water lily, passionfruit, and pear, with a heart of tuberose & gardenia over a base of white woods and musk".
I haven't tried it but it is worth bearing in mind, should one be before a counter on which the sales assistant is not completely in tune to the goings-on in the house of Chloé . And why would she?


{*Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil}.


Pic of ad through Threadtrend.com, of original bottle through Amazon, of new bottle through Glam.com and of collection 2005 through Parfumessence.

43 comments:

  1. Anonymous14:06

    The old Chloé made me nauseous, Chloé Narcisse was a hysteric re-interpretation of it with exactly the same physical effect on me and the new one smells identic to a popular German fabric softener. Enough said.
    Chloé is not for me.
    Lillie

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  2. Classic Chloé used to be the one perfume I would have wanted to totally eradicate from this earth. There have been many more since. :-(

    I've had not desire to test any other fragrance bearing that name.

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  3. Never really smelled the original Chloe scent nor do I really want to smell the new one; I will admit the new bottle is gorgous. And could we use some non-white blond European models?! What would have made the ad interesting is if they had actually used a variety of different looking women to represent the "facets" of the fragrance. Interesting Chloe I remember reading somewhere was quoted for loving Commes des Garcons Rose (this pairing makes more sense to me).

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  4. Dear N,

    Chloé Narcisse in particular is one of my bêtes noires! I can feel your pain.

    You have a point in the new one smelling like fabric softener!
    And taking into account that such products often take their cue from previous fragrance bestsellers, my references take new validation in my mind (so thanks for confirming a hunch!)

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  5. Bela,

    I think it was especially overdone at some point in its course: I distinctly remember several acquaintances wearing it. Some overapplying sadly.

    I so agree that there have been so many that have provided such a visceral response: for some reason after a certain point in history fragrances -especially designer fragrances- became something of an everyday indlugence for just about anyone (contrasted to before, when it was rather an occassion that demanded one wore perfume, leaving the rest of the time one with only deodorant and perhaps a splash of light hesperidic Cologne).

    You're not losing much by not testing the newest one ;-)

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  6. Jen,

    thank you for a most interesting comment!

    The bottle has been given much attention and it looks and feels expensive, solid, hefty. The formula however mustn't have cost as much :-(

    It always made a negative impression to me the fact that fragrance advertising never used black models. There were so many gorgeous-looking black women models and I don't recall one single non-celebrity fragrance choosing one as their spokeperson!
    Do you?

    Weird, isn't it? Bordering on racist.
    Asian models were not used outside the Asian fragrance market either.

    I hope that attitude soon changes.

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  7. Oh dear, original Chloe doesn't get much love here. I used to wear one dab of parfum back in the day. I felt so sophisticated. It didn't hurt that the crystal bottle was striking in design. Yes, bottles used to influence my choice of fragrances.

    I have no desire to revisit Chloe or the flankers. Without sniffing, I can tell they're so not me anymore.

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  8. No, dear Iris, it's not a badly-made perfume! The original that is. A little loud perhaps and so many we knew perhaps overapplied (I can think of one, myself).

    The bottle was indeed very memorable!

    I can understand how you have moved on, though. How life goes on and sometimes things of the past remain there: in the past.

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  9. Helg,

    I think Armani is one of the few that has used a black woman for their fragrances, Beyonce,was used for Armani's Diamonds. Probably a more interesting model choice though is Tom Ford's choice of Erykah Badu for his up coming fragrance. Good grief this man is love hate with his advertising loved the Black Orchid ads, hated Tom Ford for men with a passion, and rather loving that he has chosen Erykah Badu for his next fragrance. You know who should get some credit though for going beyond the usual model: Avon. Selma Hayak has been the face for many of their fragrances and Jennifer Hudson was used recently for another. Still there is a huge deficit in the variety of women chosen to represent fragrances or modeling in general.

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  10. Jen,

    true about Beyonce! (although to my mind this always registered as a celebrity fragrance for some reason, LOL!)
    She is trully gorgeous!!

    Erykah Badu is an excellent and intriguing choice, however till I see it, I am a little hesitant: I just can't see the two of them clicking, somehow...

    Kudos to Avon then: those two ladies are very pretty and worthy of being the faces of fragrances. Thanks for mentioning it :-)

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  11. Well, I love the old chole ! Great sillage and that is something I do not get alot because of my bad circulation.
    Sad day for me.

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  12. LJ,

    I didn't know that about bad circulation! Sorry about that, yet interesting info.
    Indeed it's a sad day when an old favourite gets discontinued ~and on top of that for something not that much.....

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  13. I'm with lady jicky--I feel a bit sad at the passing of old Chloe, though my bottle has gone untouched for years. It's a memento of its era, that's for sure. Can't say I feel the slightest desire to sniff the new.

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  14. I understand what you're saying M. It did mark the era, it was so popular at one point! I think many will lament its passing... (Even if some of us have been subjected to too much of it)

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  15. Anonymous06:44

    I absolutely adore Chloe and have worn it for about 17 years. I have tried to find alternatives but perfumes that smell wonderful on other people don't suit me. Now that the original Chloe is gone forever more....I'm left searching for an alternative. Any suggestions??

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous01:04

      Funny! I'm a book seller from Ebay that found a Chloe vintage eau de toilette bottle in a state sale and got here trying to get some information about it to sell it on-line since I know that a lot of perfume makers are trying to copy the original scent and for what I found out it can be done on old perfumes. This one is almost full and believe me I think my entire house is smelling like Chloe. I'm getting flashbacks from the 80's! I think I'm going to have to go and try to find some Anais Anais by Cacharel (also the old one) before they change the formula... that was my 80's poison ;)

      Delete
  16. Anonymous18:55

    Now, i have dissed it before here, the new Chloé but must row back now, a few weeks later: if you're in the mood for a fabric-softener, a calm and clean fragrance in times of stress, THIS one might be worth a sniff! Just got my first small bottle. My big mouth stroke again... ;-)
    Lillie

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  17. Anon,

    veeeeery late in seeing this, so sorry. I don't think I have a suggestion for this other than trying the usual tuberose recs: Fracas, Amarige, Carnal Flower, Tubereuse Criminelle (latter two are harder to get but perfectly wonderful).

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  18. L,

    if it weren't that I love you so, I'd be scratching my head now, but I will test it once more for your sake! (you even make it sound good)

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  19. My goodness, I had no thought in my mind that I would find a forum regarding the New Chloe where everyone disliked it.

    I personally adore it, for years I have searched and searched for the right fragrance for me, I've been through countless brands and noted that the scent wears off almost immediately (it must be my skin) But the New Chloe was the first to last all day and when I went to sleep at night I could still smell it. I think the scent is beautiful, it's not to flowery or fruity, it's just undescribably feminine and that's what makes it so beautiful.

    On the plus side I'm almost glad that it's not for everyone, I've finally found something that suits me and I won't have to worry about running into people wearing the same fragrance :-P

    Give it another spin, forget about the old Chloe's for a moment, and try to appreciate this one for what it is - sophisticated, feminine and beautiful

    -Jennifer

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  20. Anonymous13:39

    There are few scents I wear. Classic Chloe was my go to when I felt extra feminine. A drop lasted the day, even smelled richer as the day wore on.

    What a terrible surprise on Christmas when I opened the new bottle and smelled something like an over-alcoholed Hollywood trollop.

    Back to Saks it went. Just terrible.

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  21. Jennifer,

    thanks for stopping by and commenting and of course you're perfectly entitled to liking what you like! Don't mind us! If it suits you so well, by all means, go ahead and enjoy. You're making me want to give it another go myself :-)

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  22. Anon,

    the old Chloe was a typhoon, but I found I liked a faint whiff of it caught from a distance. I can see how the new one might disappoint a fan of the former. Sorry about that and thanks for commenting :-)

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  23. Anonymous08:02

    The only time I liked the old Chloe was the next day-before I showered. It became part of my skin and radiated perfectly. The NEW Chloe however is completely different. In a sea of HEAVY scents, ALL trying to out-do one another in complexity Chloe shines in it's clarity and purity!! It's a cool whiff of gentility not angst or self loathing! I'm a pale blonde and haven't seen the ad campaign but this is a scent I identify with. I don't WANT to smell like leather, cigar, tar or rubber. I want to smell clean, friendly, positive and happy. The newest Chloe fragrance fits the bill!!

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  24. Please enjoy!! Sounds good for you.
    Some of us have a perverse hankering after smelling like leather, cigar, tar, or rubber. I guess you can call us weird ;-)

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  25. Anonymous05:12

    Just a thought I wear Chanel #5 the original. Time and time again people ask me if I'm wearing Chloe. Obviously they mean the original because I've been wearing it for over 20 years! Hope that helps as an alternative?

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  26. Thanks Anon!

    Yes, I suppose they're assuming the older one. Interesting as I never perceived it as too close to NO.5 but you gave me ideas.

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  27. Anonymous09:21

    The authors writing style is unnecessarily ostentatious and pressured. In an apparent attempt to sound smart and knowledgeable, she ends up sounding contrived and silly. I think simple, straight talk would be better. You handle your writing style very clumsily, like a peon trying too hard to be royalty.

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  28. And how utterly brave and straight talk of you to sign this off anonymously, eh? :-)
    Might I also point out that for a native speaker from Leicester (unlike the author), your grammar is a bit lacking? It's the author'S style! But I'm sure you knew that already.
    Thanks for your opinion!

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  29. Alexandra09:24

    I just wanted to add to all this that there are 2 old Chloes. One is Parfums Lagerfeld, and that is older and original, real thing, and another version is labeled Parfums Chloe, that is reformulation, very soapy, not creamy and not good at all. If you try that one you will have the wrong picture of the original.

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  30. i love your blog- youre my touchstone for all things fragrant- i was so sad to read that you and Chandler- who is my friend in the real world- gave this a bad review, too. i feel almost guilty that i like it! somehow it goes really well w. my skin, plus it has great sillage. my mum used to wear the original Chloe back in the day- i hated it- even the thought of it makes me shudder now. x shayma

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  31. Alexandra,

    how very interesting!
    In talking of the old one, I meant the tuberose one, with the intensity and creaminess you speak of. Not for the meek but certainly not soapy, so thanks for adding to this.

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  32. Shayma,

    awww, what a lovely compliment, thank you very much!

    Yeah, the new one seems rather sterile to me, which is an association I personally shy away from. Chandler really loathed it, LOL!
    Then again, if you're enjoying it and you don't get a negative vibe from it, by all means wear it. I think sometimes people who apply just so or who have a certain something can make us (at least) accept something which on the paper blotter seems unacceptable.
    That said, I can see how the old Chloe can be "too much" for someone; it's no shy violet for sure.

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  33. I too wasn't a fan of the original, but wow just love the new fragrance. I smelt it first on a colleague and when she said Chloe i wasnt aware of the redo. But its lovely and lingers all day. I can put it on in the morning and ppl still comment on it in the afternoon. I love perfume, my sense of smell is something i like to please, whether in the house or on my person. I've used so many perfumes over the years. Some i can no longer find. Faves over the years, Opium, Poison, Paris, Tresor, Beautiful, Escape, Nocturnes du Caron (a fave but hard to find) Lolita Lempika but can't find the one i used to wear, even the old Ma Griffe i got as a gift. So many perfumes i went off for various reasons, a few i couldn't stomach whilst i was sick and just couldn't go back to. Chanel No.5 was one to i recall. But these days its Daisy, Jean paul Gaultier Classique and now Chloe. Im sure ill replace those with something else before too long. Soz bit of a tangent there. Lol

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  34. Shelley,

    thanks for commenting!

    This is what happens when too many versions with similar names abound, huh?
    The old KL one is a typhoon of tuberose, the newer one is rose, but a very chemical rose, as if it has no relation to the essence or absolute of rose, probably intentionally to give a "fresh" modern feel for everyday and also to cut down on costs. However lots of people like the new Chloe editions, so...(I only liked the Fraiche which is greener, FWIW)
    I have to say Chloe seems plenty different than your older faves! Nocturnes is still made and still lovely in the aldehydic floral genre. You might also like the newer Rive Gauche (YSL)?

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  35. I have no experience of the old Chloe but, someone gave me a sample of the new fragrance and wow I'm hooked on it. The fragrance is so feminine and lingers on all day. I get a lot of positive comments on it from my colleagues at work.

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    Replies
    1. Obviously (and with the time lapse happening since reviewing/comparing) lots of women feel the way you do. I found it harsh, personally, but it does linger on all day (a plus) and it's "familiar" in a pretty way for people, so not surprised at all at the positive comments. Enjoy!!

      FWIW: The old one was a typhoon of a tuberose scent, but perhaps respected for its guts! ;-)

      Delete
  36. Anonymous21:14

    I absolutely adored Chloe Narcisse...perfume, not the EDT. While it's true that a little went a long way, it seemed to be a perfect match for my body chemistry..and nothing since has been comparable. I have never before or since received so many compliments. One man even stopped me to tell me I smelled exactly the way a woman should smell. I've tried over the years to find something that complimented me so well, but sadly have not.

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  37. I have never received more compliments than when I wore the original Chloe Narcisse PARFUM not edt like it is now. All fragrances change on me and smell.....yuck! The original Chloe Narcisse parfum mixed beautifully with my chemistry. I have yet to ever find a fragrance other that tbe original Narcisse that smelled incredible on me. I was always careful to never put too much on. The scent lasted all day and into the next. It was quality crafted!!!! The newer version nust plain and simple SUCKS! It has a hint of the original tones but barely a hint. The fragrance doesnt last more than an hour or two. It's obviously a very cheaply made knockoff of the original in similar packaging. I am so disappointed in the change. Id like to smell lovely again like I did with the original version. Had I known the manufacturer's were going to stop making the original quality version, I would've stocked up. Very very disappointing to learn and realize my signature scent is gone.

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  38. I have never received more compliments than when I wore the original Chloe Narcisse PARFUM not edt like it is now. All fragrances change on me and smell.....yuck! The original Chloe Narcisse parfum mixed beautifully with my chemistry. I have yet to ever find a fragrance other that tbe original Narcisse that smelled incredible on me. I was always careful to never put too much on. The scent lasted all day and into the next. It was quality crafted!!!! The newer version nust plain and simple SUCKS! It has a hint of the original tones but barely a hint. The fragrance doesnt last more than an hour or two. It's obviously a very cheaply made knockoff of the original in similar packaging. I am so disappointed in the change. Id like to smell lovely again like I did with the original version. Had I known the manufacturer's were going to stop making the original quality version, I would've stocked up. Very very disappointing to learn and realize my signature scent is gone.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have never received more compliments than when I wore the original Chloe Narcisse PARFUM not edt like it is now. All fragrances change on me and smell.....yuck! The original Chloe Narcisse parfum mixed beautifully with my chemistry. I have yet to ever find a fragrance other that tbe original Narcisse that smelled incredible on me. I was always careful to never put too much on. The scent lasted all day and into the next. It was quality crafted!!!! The newer version nust plain and simple SUCKS! It has a hint of the original tones but barely a hint. The fragrance doesnt last more than an hour or two. It's obviously a very cheaply made knockoff of the original in similar packaging. I am so disappointed in the change. Id like to smell lovely again like I did with the original version. Had I known the manufacturer's were going to stop making the original quality version, I would've stocked up. Very very disappointing to learn and realize my signature scent is gone.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi there, my name is Aline, 30 years old and I´m from South America. Been reading most comments and as somebody had previously said, I am somehow surprised by the amount of negative reviews about what I consider to be "the perfume of my life": the Chloe EDP (new version). First of all I appologize for my not so good English, as I´m still learning. So I´ll briefly share with you my personal experience with that perfume, and why I like it so much. I traveled to Peru in 2013, and on my way to Machu Picchu (by train) I happened to sit by the side of a guy who, after some time, turned to me and kindly asked if I was wearing Chloé. Yes, he knew the name of it, and said he had smelled it once and had never forgotten that scent. Despite of the approach have sounded a bit cliché the fact that he noticed it was Chloe made me feel "unique", maybe?? Hahah. After that day we kept seeing each other, for the time I stayed in the country, and had a great time together. We unfortunately are no longer together, but I´ll never forget that day on the train, and the coming days, whenever I wear this perfume. Thank you =)

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  41. Why does a company try to fix something that works? Chloe Narcisse was IT!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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