There comes a time when something pleasant is mercilessly called out for what it is: a derivative! This is one such time and I have no regrets for calling a spade a spade. The newest Hypnôse Senses by Lancôme is a perfectly all right fragrance in every respect: From the dusty pink tones of the advertising images fronted by Daria Werbowy, to the actual juice, which smells lighter and pleasantly woodier than the standard sugary Hypnôse of 2005 to which it is a flanker. But what possessed them to replicate the formula of Coco Mademoiselle, one of Chanel's greatest best-sellers? Probably that last bit...
It was during my lazy strolling through Sephora the other day aiming for a tube of Yves Saint Laurent's exquisite mascara Faux Cils in some shade other than black (was hoping to locate Prune which is subtler than black, but more interesting than brown) that I literally bumbed into the new displays of the just-launched fragrance, up on a pedestral for casual shoppers to spritz and (hopefully) buy. My suprise must have been evident on my face as a young sales assistrant accosted me thinking I was inspired into a purchase. Sadly for her, no... It was the surprise of déjà vu!
The official blurb talks about "sensorial femininity", "a perfume with a playful sensuality, a hymn to the lightness of being" which would produce a ‘second skin’ feel, thanks to a spare and luminous interpretation of the chypre accord; a message that is well communicated through the visual cues given, both in the flesh-coloured liquid within the diaphanous bottle reprising the classic design of Magie, as well as the soft-focus advertising images; something tells me that the chromatic choice was primarily focused on an already mapped out advertising that would be anchored in "nude" colours. After all Hypnôse Senses just debuted and if the make-up and fashions directions for the hot summer are anything to go by, then this could be the only explanation. The structure is of chypre floral (register this as a "nouveau chypre", click the link for more information, which usually means a floral woody in fact with patchouli and/or vetiver base), composed by perfumers Christine Nagel, Ursula Wandel and Nathalie Feisthauer.
Hypnôse Senses opens on a richly citrusy and fruity note which immediately takes sweeter and powdery hues thanks to the swift repurcusions of vanillic and coumarinic balsams from the echoeing bottom (benzoin and tonka)with what I perceive as a hint of blond tobacco. The chord throughout is competently made with the usual feel of modern chypres, a perfumey composition that has a vague earthiness beneath the floral accents, like the reminder of warm clothes taken off at the end of the day; a honeyed silkiness over more austere elements. Like I said, it's well made, no doubt, but since Coco Mademoiselle is already successfully positioned and with no fear of discontinuation, what's the point besides repetition for repetition's sake?Lancôme have some older treasures in their hands, such as the fabulastically and most elegantly named Kypre, they could have exploited them. My sympathies to the renowned perfumers...
Notes for Lancôme Hypnôse Senses :
mandarin orange, pink pepper, osmanthus blossom, rose, honey, patchouli, cistus labdanum/rockrose, benzoin and tonka bean
Hypnôse Senses is available in 30, 50 and 75 ml bottles of Eau de Parfum in major department stores.