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Friday, February 12, 2016

Dior Poison Girl (2016): fragrance review

One can blame LVMH for many things, but not for not knowing how to milk a thing on their hands. The Poison fragrance brand is a huge success for Parfums Christian Dior and not without good reason. Distinctive, aggressively noticeable, innovative at their time, the Poison perfume series has provided us with memorable fragrances. The new Poison Girl, out in February 2016 in my countrymay fall short on the memorability stakes, but there's a clever twist inside to reflect one of the cleverest (and most enduringly popular) in the canon, the almond-powder feel of Hypnotic Poison inside a "youthful" sweet fruits and caramel medley.

collage made by Le Coeur Gothique (on parfumo.net)

It has been said that pop songs consist of recycling the same handful of chords, as one smart reader reminded me the other day, and the universe is well aware of my belief in fragrances' intertextuality (there's no parthenogenesis in art), so it comes as little surprise that I don't deem that bad in itself if the resulting collage is eye-grabbing. On the contrary it's a smart move by perfumer Francois Demachy, who oversees the creation process at Dior (no stranger to artistic influence themselves). Hypnotic Poison has created its own history and legend, and like Mugler's Angel basic chord before it, serves as a pop reference that pops up everywhere. Why not in the mother of all Poisons, aka Dior?

Poison Girl starts with a sweet, toffee like fruitiness of orange hard candy which vaguely recalls half the current market (La vie est Belle, Tresor La Nuit, Black Opium, Loverdose, Flowerbomb...), with a cherry cough syrup hint, that predisposes an avid Poison lover for toothache, but thankfully cedes to a powdery almond within the hour where it stays for the duration. Seeing as Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle got to the good part straight away, I can only surmise that the intent is to grab a specific demographic interested in the rather tacky gourmand top note and who might come to love the development regardless.

LVMH needed something to spar with L'Oreal and they got it. Not bad.

A footnote on the ad campaign:
Rather lost on the advertising and naming of Dior's Poison Girl, personally speaking.
"Girl" sounds demeaning (would they have called a masculine fragrance "boy" if it would appeal to young men? Edit to add: Apparently they would, but there's a reason). The night club pictures with model and actress Camille Rowen holding a cigarette in her nubile hands under the No Smoking signs and her defiant (try stoned) look under her $200-posing-for-bed-head haircut looks as rebellious as a straight A's pupil going for an Anthropology major instead of the prescribed Law School.  Is "no bras" the fighting field of young girls today? I very much doubt it.
At least the previous Poison editions had bold, imaginative, suggestive advertising. This is lame.

30 comments:

  1. I am not even going to bother to try it. Love your review anyway.

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    1. Thanks H!
      I suppose there's only so much one can "move" within a given brief. Demachy did the same with Sauvage; competent work, but the brief/concept was "faulty" to begin with. I just wish they had gone for something off center for the opening, because the powdery almond isn't bad at all (lots of coolish, dry coumarinic facets)

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  2. Anonymous23:39

    This sounds like Poison's La Vie Est Belle...will sniff but not really interested. I guess Hypnotic Poison only went so far...and they needee to cash in on what everyone else is doing, designer wise. Wish they had a better name...even if it is lame..the name is really lame but direct to the people they want to sell it to. If Dior was too 'grandma' for some..it may not be now. Meh. Still want to sniff but meh. I hope classic Poison isn't disco'd

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    1. It's kinda off because young women, quite young women, do buy Hypnotic Poison, and they enjoy it.
      And they have been "young-ifying" Dior for quite some time, now. Ever since Dior Addict actually, with those outre images with the girl being high etc.
      Usually issuing flankers is a good move for the original fragrance, it rejigs the brand, rejuvenates it, so people might be again interested in the original Poison from the 1980s; especially now that the new generation doesn't have the associations with ladies dousing with it. Though it still is pretty potent for today's "touchy touchy" sensibilities...ah, I don't know....

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  3. Where can one find a sample of this? And which stores is it at now? Thanks

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    1. I found it on the shelves of Sephora, Athens, Greece. It's launched in Europe. Not going to launch on US soil for some time, from what I know.
      Samples should hypothetically be found at European stores and Euro-sourcing decanters? Hope this helps.

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  4. annemarie08:26

    I'll try it, but I'm outraged by the smoking reference. Where I live governments have poured money into very successful, life-saving campaigns to discourage young people from taking up smoking. LVMH is happy to turn this around just so as to improve its bottom line. Reprehensible. Sorry for the rant.

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    1. Smoking has glam connotations still (and am not immune to them, hell I wrote an entire article about them) but advertising WITH smoking as the punch line is indeed not as smart as it should be. There's nothing rebellious about smoking really. Trust me, I live in the smoking capital of the world.

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  5. Susie09:25

    Sniffed this yesterday. The young SA offered to spray some on my hand. When I declined, mentioning there was nothing new here, she firmly stated, "oh, but Poison Girl really IS something new and different. If the 80's smelled of Poison, 2016 will smell of Poison Girl." I walked away. The ad is just dumb. The whole rebellious/addict chic has been done to death. A shame that a once great house has let its name be dragged so low.

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    1. She sounded really desperate. lol

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    2. Even the line they taught her is faulty. If Poison is the scent of the 1980s (and it was) then surely just one short year for Poison Girl is a big failure?

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    3. Yeah, I am so tired of rebellious rock chic, Kate Moss, lips apart, I'm oh-so-cool sh*t. Times have changed people! It's not the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's or even the first decade of the 2000's. PPl don't get the same message they used to get from such advertising.

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  6. Miss Heliotrope09:29

    Another why encourage smoking?

    Also, how much does it cost? How many "girls" without generous parents or trust funds can afford it - that image seems to fit with your anthro not law rebel more than not -?

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    1. annemarie21:40

      Good point. And the idea of the marketing suggests that you would not want your parents buying it for you anyway. What sort of 'rebel' would that make you? Still, I suppose the actual buyers will be young women in their twenties on their first real job, looking to splurge ...

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    2. Miss H, it's a wonder why rebelliousness should appeal to Dior buying audiences indeed. Dior has a revamped "youthful" image, true, but they're not exactly miles away from bourgeois buyers. It's not exactly the kind of stuff that a true bohemian would buy. Surely?

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    3. Annemarie,

      yes! Exactly! You wouldn't want having it given to you by your parents "here, take some rebelliousness and have a gurgle with it". I deduce it is exactly as you're stating then. Young women buying their own perfume with their first "real" money. One should think they should go for Hypnotic then. ;)

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  7. Anonymous23:20

    I just noticed the smoking thing, as many law cases with the tobacco industry as there has been...not sure why Dior did that. Remember the character, Joe Camel? There would be animated Joe Camel bucks/points or whatever in packs of cigs. I think Camel was sued for advertising to youth..not sure. This ad is pretty bad..and yeah...waif addicts ain't all that...plus smoking wouldn't mix well with caramel, toffee puff just guessing.

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    1. I don't recall the Camel bucks/points, because I never purchased Camels (detest them actually, one cig brand I truly detest) but I believe you all right.
      Tobacco actually mixes well with caramel or toffee flavors. IF this contained tobacco notes, which it doesn't. It's like a fruity-toffee opening on the almond-vanilla base of Hypnotic. Not bad, like I said, just what's the purpose of the exercise again?

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  8. I have lung /heart disease .... congenital .... no fault of my own .... so why , oh why promote smoking ???

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    1. *pat pat on the back*

      Yeah, I mean, one would hope there would be a more imaginative campaign. I'm really picky with campaigns. I have dissed Dior campaigns of recent years on these pages repeatedly too. ;/

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  9. Miss Heliotrope08:25

    On the smoking - try coming out of chemo & walking past the smokers outside the hospital (I never smoked) & not punching them. Have started making snarkiy comments when my heads off for a smoke. She looks sheepish...

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    1. Miss Heliotrope08:26

      my sister in law. Does chemo brain count as an excuse?

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    2. There's a place and time for everything and hospitals are really not one of them. Even outside, I suppose. Though I do realize that smoking is an addiction.

      Sorry about the sister in law. I guess she does feel the urge and needs to satisfy it. Hard to reconcile with your own much, MUCH greater ordeal.

      Hugs to you!

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  10. Mimi G20:23

    I have no interest in Poison Girl ! The War of The Brands ....
    I'll stick to the original and Hypnotic Poison .Not very happy with LVMH lately anyway

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    1. Nah, it's nice enough, when the first sweet hit passes, but since there's Hypnotic (and the original) on the shelves, the purpose isn't really to offer something truly new, but to appeal to a younger demographic. All right I get it.

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  11. Very funny, insightful and something to think about! Thanks!
    Jean
    dear lady jicky, I am so sorry. hugs xox

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  12. Anonymous20:42

    This girl obsession, everyone should be a 16 year old Kardashian trashy slut, or you're a loser and just a worthless old broad.
    I was at Sephora the other day wearing Chanel Misia, I asked the SA if she had something similar, just for the fun of it. I told her to be honest, she thought my perfume smelt like an old lady, she wouldn't wear something like that. I replied she probably wears something much younger like Armani Si, well guess what she thought that sickly sweet fruitchouli also smells like an old lady, too mature for her. This is past the point of crazy, or I must be delusional living in my own fantasy world! What do you think? I don't understand what's going on anymore and u couldn't give a flying figue!

    Please email me, I have to send you pictures of my Chanel double flap. I returned the Boy (Capel) bag, the chain is too heavy and masculine, I got the red 16C lambskin jumbo with pale gold hardware and yes its an eye catcher, everyone stares at it, both men and women, I love it!

    Emma

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    1. Emma,

      very true on how the perceived "femininity" works in socio terms. The greatest "sin" of a woman is to become "unfuckable" by opting out of what the current male gaze is conditioned to prefer. (Kim and her clan are not slutty looking if you get out the bells and hoops, but their constant being in front of the camera makes them appear so in a calculated manner).

      The "girl" moniker bothers me a lot. It bothers me because it's ageist, true, but more than that it bothers me because it seems to trivialize the status of a woman. Older men are also chastised for looking their age or older (and they're trapped into an impossible pursuit of eternal youth and dynamism conflated with youth) but one would never in a million years dare name a product for young men "boy". See what I mean? It's demeaning. It would almost sound like you're calling on a waiter or something (psst, garçon!). If they had named it with a French term, youthful and nubile, like Mademoiselle (but that's taken, no?), there would be no problem, because that denotes a sort of status within itself. It's not ideal, but it has a certain official stamp of approval to it, it's a term of address. Girl is NOT a term of address in the English language.

      I find it very hard to believe that an SA would be *that* honest. Really? What, did you prime her with a secret glass of champagne off your Chanel double flap or something? They invariably say silly things to me when I ask anything.

      To be frank, I have heard of Si being derided by a 30 year old, but she just didn't like sweet scents, didn't correlate it to smelling "mature" (what the hell does that mean? that mature women wear it? and what will mature women wear in 20 years' time?)

      Misia (which I like a lot!) smelling old is rather odd, given that many, many young gals love Love Chloe which is practically its cousin.
      Of course I do live in the land where powdery scents are synonymous to grooming and feeling "dry and clean" (a Greek summer can be daunting in the city). Still...

      It is not due to lack of wanting to email you that I haven't so far. It's due to lack of email time, mostly. I promise I shall email you very shortly, though, since you ask for it so nicely. I will make the time.


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  13. One of the very few perfumes to give me a headache, and it last and lasts and last, it's really bad.

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