Considering how much I disliked the original Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire I didn't even care to try its flanker, Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire 2. The first Petite Robe Noire annoyed me from the very first second with its audacity to live in the classic bottle used for Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue, and then it turned into a screechy berry mess on my skin and drowned any and all of the other supposed notes. There's also the name, which is such a misnomer I don't even know where to begin. So the poor flanker, La Petite Robe Noire 2, with its (in)famous marshmallow note had very little chance.
And then, convinced by a SA at the Guerlain Boutique Vendôme in Paris, I smelled it and tried it on my skin. It worked, against all odds.
The notes of La Petite Robe Noire 2 are supposed to be Bergamot, Lemon, Galbanum, Orange Blossom, Marshmallow, Iris, Leather and White Musk. But if LPRN 1 was a weird raspberry thing, LPRN 2 is cherry. Or more accurately, it reminds me of the handmade gourmet(ish) pink fruity marshmallow I sometimes buy at Whole Foods and consume with guilt and joy. La Petite Robe Noire 2 still smells purple and absolutely not Noire, but somehow in this particular blend I can smell its Guerlain pedigree.
What I get from LPRN2 is sweet and ripe cherries softened by pale iris and greens. The somewhat floral aspect keeps the perfume from becoming too syrupy and sticky and leaves just enough space and air for the musky vanillic suede of the base, which is obviously my favorite part. It's softer than the original LPRN but somehow feels more fun and humorous, so I find this fragrance to be in better taste. It's not a classic by any criteria and the whole little black dress is a bit ridiculous when we're talking about a trendy contemporary perfume that's geared towards Guerlain's younger and youngest client-base. But when it comes to perfume there's only one rule: if it smells good- wear it. And somehow Guerlain's in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, managed to create a candied fruity floral that I enjoy and wear very well, despite my usual dislike of the genre, my age and general dislike of flankers with stupid names.
Other perfume bloggers strongly disagree with me. Read their reviews on Perfume Shrine, Bois de Jasmin and 1000 Fragrances.
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire 2 ($150, 50ml EDP) is available from Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue in NYC, as well as Guerlain boutiques and top department stores around the world.
Image: McCall Patterns, fall 1960 via myvintagevogue.com.