Can we just not call these sophisticated patchouli perfumes "chypres"? Please? Chypres as we used to know them are dead and we can either hoard vintage perfumes or move on. Or both. Just let's not lie to ourselves about what's currently on the market, because perfumes like 31 Rue Cambon deserve better.
31 Rue Cambon, one of the original 2007 Lex Exclusifs, is a beautiful fragrance. It's a "designer" scent in the best sense of the word- something that goes with a perfectly tailored outfit from the poshest of boutiques, elegant, elaborate and a bit aloof. I'm not sure it relates well to the way modern Chanel, headed by celeb-friendly Uncle Karl has immersed itself in pop-culture, but those of us who have a thing for bygone days when it comes to fashion and style can easily embrace it.
Like most Chanel perfumes, 31RC is an abstract floral with quite a bit of understated iris -not too rooty, not too powdery, nothing that crosses the lines of wearability into weirdness. It's feminine when I wear it, but there's nothing girly or frilly there and I'm sure that many men can easily pull it off, as long as they're dressed right and feel comfortable showing their urban metrosexual side. 31 Rue Cambon is deceivingly soft spoken and pale, but there's an edge there and it actually wears much longer than one may suspect at first- it's more than a skin scent, though and when applied lavishly enough remains there for at least 8 hours, becoming part of me and moving around with my dresses.
31 Rue Cambon ($210, 6.8oz EDT) like the other Chanel Les Exclusifs is available from select department stores and Chanel boutiques around the world. The Posh Peasant and the Perfumed Court sell samples and more reasonable sized deacnts.
Photo of a 1957chanel suit and accessories: myvintagevogue.com