In these times where transparency is valued in perfume there is a basic question waiting to be asked. How far can you go in that direction before you stop being a perfume? If you think there isn’t a market for this I remember being in Sephora and hearing three women extol the virtues of a perfume because they could, “barely smell it”. So far, the big perfume brands have kept from looking for that line. Now Chanel Coco Mademoiselle L’Eau Privee seems to be asking.
I have been laudatory at the effort in-house perfumer Olivier Polge has made in adding in a lightness of being to his newer Chanel releases. I would say he has been one of the most successful at balancing trend and brand aesthetic. Where I am a bit conflicted with Coco Mademoiselle L’Eau Privee is it is a fragrance designed to be worn to sleep. Sheer should be a large part of its design. M. Polge delivers a perfume like a grand four-poster bed surrounded in diaphanous material.
If I were having a discussion of best designer perfumes of this century Coco Mademoiselle would be part of it. The beautiful sophistication of the orange-rose-patchouli felt completely Chanel while being accessible. A couple years ago M. Polge designed an Intense version where he latched on to the patchouli to achieve that effect. Coco Mademoiselle L’Eau Privee is the flip side of that. It is a delicate version of the original with one slight change in the middle.
L’Eau Privee comes together rapidly. The moment it hits your skin the orange and the floral and the patchouli all rise. Notice I didn’t say rose. That’s the change I mentioned. M. Polge gives jasmine the lead over rose. For a perfume meant to induce sweet dreams letting night-blooming jasmine have the floral part seems natural. This is then given even more space through some white musks taking the lightness out another level or two.
Coco Mademoiselle L’Eau Privee has 4-6 hour longevity and is primarily a skin scent.
For a perfume designed to be worn to sleep L’Eau Privee succeeds on all levels. It is the kind of calming fragrant embrace almost anyone would enjoy drifting into dreamland with. It also has the longevity of an average good night’s sleep. Something this sheer is not meant to last for hours. As I wore this I wondered if Chanel could create a market by designing a perfume for this specific use. Then I remembered those women at Sephora. There is a part of me that thinks for them Coco Mademoiselle L’Eau Privee would be the perfect office scent. As to the answer to my thesis Coco Mademoiselle L’Eau Privee is as sheer as I want to see things go. Any further and it will be as fleeting as a dream.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.