Pretexte, a 1937 Lanvin perfume, is clearly a fragrance from a long-gone era, even though ambery florals are popular to these days. I'm not entirely sure what it is exactly about Pretexte that makes it so prim and proper. I smell carnations and roses, sandalwood and vetiver and also a powdery base that is not without a hint of funk, so I suspect a nice helping of tonka bean and an animalic of some sort. Still, the overall impression I get here is that Pretexte was not meant for the same woman who wore Scandal or My Sin.
Don't get me wrong- I really enjoy wearing this perfume. It might come from a time period I'm grateful to have missed, but I love the aesthetics even if the husband is clearly not a fan Pretexte (he likes My Sin, though). I wear this vintage Lanvin for myself. The same way I do with the one flouncy blouse I own and he finds utterly ridiculous.
My bottle is pretty old (no idea when exactly Pretexte was discontinued) and was bought for half a song before prices shot into the stratosphere. I'm not sure what the top notes used to be- I suspect not citrus because the perfume smells smooth and thick from the very opening with no awkward moments of dead bergamot. It also lasts all day long, something that My Sin never does, no matter how much of it I apply. Pretexte has a nice quality of opening an old cedar chest and ruffling through precious mementos, pressed flowers in an scrapbook and dusty lavender sachets from another time and place. So what if these memories are not really mine?
Vintage Lanvin ads for Pretexte (1937 and 1956) from hprints.com
Lanvin fashion, 1951, myvintagevogue.com