Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lancome Tresor (1990 Eau de Parfum)

I used to hate Tresor with the power of one thousand suns. It was the chemical peach bomb with a side of fake rose that did me in every time. I'd still prefer not to be stuck in an elevator with a person wearing this Lancome perfume, but I (sort of) get it now, and if I had to choose between Tresor and Angel, this Sophia Grojsman creation wins.

The story here is about peach and rose, both are ultra sweet and very powdery. There's also some violet, which is the finishing touch that makes Tresor so very femme it's almost a cartoon version of the idea. Sort of Jessica Rabbit in perfume form, just without the irony. But Tresor is also pretty in its own very loud way. I've come across a woman or two who pulled it off beautifully, radiating the softness and warmth promised in the ads and in Isabella Rossellini's face. On them, the harsh synthetic notes disappear, leaving them with all that is good in a rich fruity floral.

A 20 year old cousin who recently played with my perfume collection saw the old(ish) mini of Tresor EDP I keep around for reference and commented that it was her grandmother's signature scent. She was surprised when I told her Lancome launched this version in 1990 (the original 1950s Tresor was discontinued long before that). When it first came out, Tresor was my sister's favorite. She was in high school and used it with abandon (at one point she also had the lotion and used to layer them). The scent filled the air of her bedroom and wafted in the hallway for a couple of years. It was a slight improvement from the daily fumigation of LouLou that preceded Tresor as her favorite, but not by much.

It's funny how smelling it now is actually pleasant exactly because it reminds me of my sister in her junior year. She's going to be here next week and I'll have her re-sniff it for fun. We'll see what she's going to think now, twenty years later.

Tresor ($48.50, 1 oz)  is available everywhere under the sun- from Lancome counters to the usual websites. The formula was probably tweaked at some point but as far as I can tell (without skin testing) the changes weren't very significant and Tresor is still as recognizable and tenacious as ever.

Isabella Rossellini in the 1990s Lancome ad.
Fashion photograph by Karen Radkai for Harper's Bazaar, February 1950 from


  1. In agreement with you on this one. I've been a Lancome fan for a long time - fell magnificently in love with Magie Noire when it was released and wore it for years. I looked forward to trying Tresor, however it just never measured up. The strong synths overpower and I could just never "woman up" and wear it. Unfortunately, synths in general have taken their toll on my body and I now mostly wear naturals - which somewhat saddens me, because Magie is still one of my favs.

  2. I used to adore Tresor. But not anymore. It seems that they changed the initial composition and the ingredients that are surely 100% synthetic. Tresor in 1990 is not the same Tresor in 2010. :-(


  3. Tresor was my mother's signature fragrance and still is. She also use to LOVE wearing YSL Paris. She loves the florals. I will admit that I was in High School at the time Tresor came out and I use to spray myself in abandon thinking that was the only way it would last a full day. I apologize to all the teachers' noses I may offended. Isn't there a new Tresor coming out soon? I think the ads will feature Isabella's daughter.

    Sometimes, I do stop to smell Tresor again and think about my mom and my early teenage years. I don't always have the best memories but at least that whiff will bring a smile to my face.

  4. I love this perfume for memories of my teen years (Loulou on the other hand, not so much, bleurgh!). I'd love to be able to wear it but I only enjoy it once it has been on for a good 4-5 hours. Before that point it has been known to give my violent headaches. I wore Miracle in my twenties but I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it now. It's nice enough and doesn't give me a headache but there's something not quite there about the mix.


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