Life is beautiful. Even in name, the new Lancome La vie est belle L'Eau de Parfum has the character of an optimistic and oh-so feminine scent. I sought it out in Sephora a while back with high hopes. However, after a cursory sniff, I dismissed it as a an easy-to-wear light floral formulation that typifies Lancome. Fortunately, I was given a second chance to experience La vie est belle through a sample leaflet sent in a care package from my good friend Ponyo. I wanted to blog about it, so I shook the little vial out and gave it a go.
The novelty of Lancome la vie est belle lies in the idea that it is the first ever iris gourmand. Iris and gourmand is a unique combination, however, it should be considered that not all combinations were meant to be. An airy powdery iris flower mixed with a heavy dessert-like gourmand could potentially lead to a muddled mess. Imagine tossing a green stem of iris into a simmering pot of creme brulee. The combination doesn't seem palatable. For further illustration, one can imagine the strange aroma that would result from a combination of Prada Infusion d' Iris (Iris scent) and Prada Candy (dessert/gourmand). So, how can the two decidedly contrasting scents coexist? The answer is: they don't.
The structure of Lancome La vie est belle is a brief opening followed two-part experience that I would liken to reverse flight. After an ephemeral sweet floral burst, the first prominent scent experienced at dry-down is the gourmand. It is then followed by the flighty scent of iris, the second scent. This is peculiar, as most floral fragrances follow a top down approach. Typically, you'd expect your florals to burst out of the bottle singing, mellow out, and then settle into a musky (or other) base. Lancome La vie est belle has a delicious base followed by a flying floral; it's a floral fragrance experience in reverse.
Lancome La vie est belle begins with a yummy gourmand with a light/medium strength. This gourmand base has the hints of amber spice, traces of patchouli, and the smoothness of musk. There is a sweet stickiness and vanilla to make things delectable. Warmth from jasmine blends in seamlessly add an extra air of femininity. This gourmand base can be experienced with a smooth, even, inhalation. However, towards the end of said breath, a new scent makes itself known: the flighty iris. The iris takes off, as if lifted faster and faster by an invisible gust of wind. I find myself inhaling at increasing speeds, following it almost to the point of stitches, to try to reach a conclusion that just isn't there. That's iris.
I've seen some say that Lancome La vie est belle does not have a true iris scent. Perhaps it doesn't, when compared to scents like Prada Infusion d'Iris, which is more like an iris magnified and personified. Iris is a modestly scented flower. It's green, a little powdery, and kind of like too-fresh air. The uplifting smell of the flower is almost more of an experience than a scent. I do think iris has a contribution in La vie est belle, in the initial watery green burst as well as in the second half of the scent despite the lack of an overt 'power-flower' type character. I believe iris to be the too-fresh airy scent I find myself chasing in vain at the end of La vie est belle. It's also working alongside orange blossom, which has a similar upwardly mobile character. The combination of iris and orange blossom and iris really propel this scent higher and finally out of the reach of my nose.
While trying to wrap a finger around my Lancome La vie est belle experience, I found a visual that kept surfacing behind my shuttered eyes. The experience of this iris gourmand was much like holding a white ribbon securely in the warmth of my palm, until a sudden a gust of wind blows and the ribbon all too quickly slips and dances away from my outstretched fingertips. After several iterations, I can back down to earth and prepared to write this entry. I gently tore open the paper leaflet and gasped. There, facing me was the bottle. There was the ribbon swept off to the side, as if a silvery gust of wind was keeping it a flight. The pretty pink fragrance sat elevated, seemingly cupped in an invisible palm.
Packaging is a personal obsession of mine, as I find repetition across the senses to be a fascinating topic. (You may have picked up on this preoccupation in previous posts in Cute and Mundane). The uncanny similarity between my imagined analogy and the shape of the bottle just blew me away. Could the ribbon analogy have been influenced by my subconscious knowledge of the bottle shape? Possibly, but most likely not, as I typically don't expect things to be so literal. The surprise of my olfactory and visual observations walking hand in hand was the cherry (or should I say bow) on top of a cool fragrance experience.
Lancome La vie est belle is a light, pretty, and pretty delicious floral. It's an easy to wear fragrance that will be a crowd pleaser. While the appeal may seem too everyday given a casual sniff, it's worth delving deeper and chasing down the 'iris gourmand' notes offered. I found the sequence of the scent to be fascinating, and was happy to find the spirit of iris present, as I am quite taken with the flower at the moment. With La vie est belle, life is beautiful, and well fragranced too. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Lancome La vie est belle? Do you have any favorite Lancome scents? What are some flowers or fragrances you're loving right now?