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 country, may 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.