Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cartier So Pretty- Naughty And Nice

A couple of months ago I was wearing So Pretty as my scent of the day when my husband made the observation this Cartier perfume might be the most feminine scent I own. This isn't completely true, but there's no doubt that my shelves host more unisex, masculine or weird fragrances than delicate ladylike ones. But So Pretty is more than just a pretty little thing.

So Pretty is one of the most aptly named perfumes you will find. It belongs in the same category with Annick Goutal Grand Amour and Guerlain Chamade. They are all beautifully and seamlessly blended, not relying too heavily on any of the floral notes as to make it too obvious, smelling rich, sophisticated and drying down into a smooth base that has not even a hint of gourmand leanings. It's not that Chamade, Grand Amour and So Pretty smell similar. But something about them calls to mind a certain type of femininity and elegance which seems a bit out of place in a world where the cover of Vogue is occupied by a Gossip Girl actress and people care about Miley Cyrus.

According to the Cartier web site, the three foundations of So Pretty are rose, iris and sandalwood. Nordstom also mentions fruit and orchid, and I definitely smell both. Basenotes adds musk, but I have no idea what they're talking about. In The Guide, Tania Sanchez calls it 'a blackcurrant chypre' and compares it to Mitsouko. I think she's got it right, and So Pretty does have that classic feel, even if it's not your ass-kicking oakmoss chypre. What I love about So Pretty is how well it manages to be intoxicating without any of the issues I often have with rose-heavy scents. The iris is ethereal, not earthy, the wood more balsamic than creamy, and there's some unexpected backbone to the drydown. It's a lady, but she has a past.

For a long time there were rumors about So Pretty being discontinued. It looks like the result of Cartier getting a tighter hold over the distribution: Many discounters no longer have it in stock, and those who do, only got the EDT. However, both Nordstrom (online, too) and Bloomingdale's still carry the EDP ($100 for 1.6 oz) and both formulations are listed on Cartier's official web site, thus promising that at least for now, So Pretty is alive and well.

This review is for the EDP, which has impressive sillage and easily stays on my skin for more than 12 hours. My first bottle from around 2001 was a gift and bought at one of the local department stores (or maybe Sephora, before they began to suck). I since got another one when one of the discounters still had the eau de parfum. It smells exactly the same as my original one, and a quick testing at Bloomingdale's a few weeks ago didn't detect any changes, either.

Image: Cartier white gold pendant from their Panthere collection. Want.


  1. Wonderful review...

    I don't know why So Pretty has been off radar, but it is on now!

  2. Think I'll try the So Pretty.

    I'm glad to read your comment about Sephora. What happened there? I used to love the place, and suddenly it seemed to morph into...WalMart? The last time I went, the SA's were lined up along the shelves, arms crossed, staring down the customers as if they were daring us to shoplift something. Well, thank God for the online retailers. I'll gladly pay the shipping so as not to have to deal with yet another retailer gone bad.

  3. ScentScelf, for some reason So Pretty is almost forgotten when it comes to perfume online conversation. It deserves recognition. I'd like to hear what you think of it.

  4. P., the easy answer to your Sephora Question is LVMH. It's probably a lot more complicated than that, but it's good to have someone to blame ;)
    I still go there for some of my skin care and makeup needs, but other than that it's online shopping all the way.


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