Friday, May 07, 2010

Fashion by Leonard (Vintage Perfume)

I don't know why the French fashion house Leonard is only a faraway rumor here in North America. Looking at runway photos from Paris of silk dresses in colorful prints with a vintage vibe (think Emilio Pucci with an ethnic flair) makes me want to order an item or two on the spot. But it seems like Leonard never had much of a presence here except in perfume, and I suspect even those were never all that popular. I used to wear Tamango when I was in high school, though even back then I felt it was too safe and tame for me. I just don't do cute all that well.

The Leonard perfume I should have worn is Fashion, a 1970 release. The notes according to are: plum,  tarragon, violet, raspberry, peach, bergamot, neroli, lemon, lilac, carnation, tuberose, iris, orchid, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, rose, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, patchouli, musk, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver and cedar. This list reads like they dumped the content of an entire perfumer's organ, gave it a quick stir and bottled the juice. But Fashion is a complex oriental with quite a bit of dark spicy fruit. Some might regard it as too busy and opaque and not very modern. Personally, I adore the retro feel and love the way a real perfume smells in all its womanly, powdery glory and velvety smooth amber base.

Fashion belongs to an era when the use of fruit notes wasn't meant to smell like spring break in a tropical hell full with Girls Gone Wild. Surprisingly, it's not very sweet, maybe because the top notes are perfectly balanced with green herbs. The only fruit note that really stands up to my nose is plum, which I adore, and find that it morphs beautifully into dry powder and woody amber. I have the vintage EDT, which is light enough for casual wearing, but I would dearly love to find the parfum. I'm sure that even in this lower concentration some would feel Fashion is dated. As a 1970 launch myself, I just ignore them and have fun wearing whatever I want.

While Leonard is still making/selling perfumes, Fashion was discontinued at some point, but can still be found online quite easily.

Fashion by Leonard 1975 ad:
Model at the Leonard ready to wear runway show, October 2009:
Leonard catalog cover and handbag:


  1. Wow, I never even heard of this one,and I wore some other Leonard scents back in the day! I must find some, it sounds perfect for me! I adore a good plum note as much as anything.

    I love the fashions too, and I am equally mystified that they were not as well received her as they should have been.

  2. I never heard of this house either but I WANT that bag. :)

  3. I've been a Leonard fan since I snagged a mini of Leonard de Leonard...lovely, high quality stuff.

    Adding Fashion to my test-list!

  4. Interesting and I do sort of like the dresses. If you like plum, have you tried Keiko Mecheri's Ume? I bet you'd love it!



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