Do ballerinas secretly stuff their lithe forms with cherry-pie flavored cupcakes? If models routinely consume tissue paper in order to satiate their hunger, as infamously stated by Australian Vogue ex-editor Kirstie Clemens, I'm willing to believe anything. Powdery woody florals are a direction that is ripe for the picking, judging by recent releases such as Love, Chloe, See by Chloe, Esprit d'Oscar, Burberry Body perfume and the like, but in Repetto the direction is tilting the scales into gourmand fragrance nuances which seem incongruent with the associations we -involuntarily- make of dancers. Musky roses (with the odd white floral mixed in) with sweet nuances, reminiscent of such girly accessories as lip cosmetics, goose feather down and tutus, date at least as far back as Drole de Rose by L'Artisan Parfumeur (1996). Perhaps what seemed new then looks derivative now, but I wasn't wowed by the newest Repetto fragrance.
Maybe it is that the brand has such an iconic pull that you expect more, more, more. In this case, however, it was a clear case of wanting less, less, less.
The cult brand of ballerina shoes the world over is without doubt the French Repetto; not only have they decked everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Vanessa Paradis, they're prized for being as comfortable as wearing nothing on your feet without sacrificing style. Just in the space of last year Repetto has seen an increase of 20%, mainly outside France where the brand is a national standby (the company is also present in 60 countries), which highlights the enthusiastic reception that this classic Gallic brand is enjoying in the domain of luxury and export. Let it be said in passing that Japan is their second biggest market outside France and they're planning on opening a boutique Repetto in Shanghai, China in September 2013.
"My goal was to create a handmade effect and bring together luxurious and authentic bases, suhc as powdery musky rose, which is the spirit of femininity. The result is a purified formula with essence of rose and vanilla", elaborates Olivier Polge. The fragrance also includes pear, cherry tree flowers and orange blossom notes, underscored by vanilla and amber woods.
The effect is powdery with the characteristic almond "fluffiness" of heliotrope and macaroons (if I were blindfolded and hadn't received info of the launch I would have pegged it as a Ladurée fragrance more than Repetto), soft, sweet with Frambinone, maybe rather heavy if you're sensitive to sweet notes like I am; heavy like an overweight ballerina in the unfair, politically incorrect world of classical dance where teachers are routinely drawing their nails along tender backs to make you stand straight. Could the Repetto-scented ballerina personification survive in that environment? Not if she shed her Dawrinian advantage, she would not... But the crux of the matter is that Repetto isn't but a ghost of ballet. It is a brand divested of its reality, it's fantasy.
Whereas Michel Almariac chose to instill an inedible element into the scheme of the powdery musky floral in See by Chloe, opting for the bitter sheen of soap, even though the brand could do with sweetness, Polge, armed with his recent experience in La Vie Este Belle, looked into cupcakes. In fact cupcakes are part of the promotion of the fragrance (I kid you not!) In that regard, it sounds like sacrilege but Guerlain presented a better "contemporary taste" perfume with La Petite Robe Noire.
It's not required that wearers of Cabaret by Gres burst out in spontaneous songs by Patachou, but when the incongruence between brand, finished fragrance and market demographic is so diverse you have a fine mess in your hands.
Repetto eau de toilette is presented in eau de toilette concentration (39 euros for a 30ml spray bottle, 79 euros for 80ml), accompanied by a matching body lotion, while the bottle is adorned by a medallion on a pink ribbon like the one in the emblematic Carlota ballerina flat. The fact that the fragrance is inspired by ballet dancing is emphasized by keeping as ambassadress the star dancer Dorothée Gilbert (who claims “Le parfum Repetto a du poids, du charisme”). The signature fragrance hit French counters on Monday July 1st and is set to create buzz in the international market soon after.