Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lauren by Ralph Lauren (1978)- Revisiting a Vintage Perfume

One of the things I did during my first year of blogging was going back to some of my oldest perfume loves, bottles that have been in my collection since the late 80s or early 90s and that I keep wearing to this day. Lauren, the 1978 Ralph Lauren fragrance, was one of them. I've been wearing it quite often lately. Probably because I managed to replenish my supply with quite a bit of vintage juice, mostly in parfum, so I don't feel the loss of every precious drop I use. Lauren fans know that while L'Oreal owns the perfume license of the brand and keeps producing both Lauren and Safari, they're nothing like what we remember.

As a 1978 perfume, Lauren has been probably reformulated more than once. I'm not even sure that my very first bottle, an eau de cologne from 1991, was identical to the original formula. All I know is that it was so very good. Wearing (vintage) Lauren now in my 40s feels as satisfying as ever, and it's still age appropriate. I know that the fragrance was a standard among preppy high school girls in the eighties, an obvious contrast to the grownup world of Opium, Poison, and Giorgio, as well as to the common Sand & Sable or Ex`cla-ma`tion (*shudder*).

More than anything, Lauren is a wonderful green floral with a slightly bitter twist. The tagetes (marigold) note is as addictive here as it is in Niki de Saint Phalle, but Lauren is more tender. The wood and oakmoss are smooth and elegant without fussyness; unlike the newer perfumes released under the Lauren name, this fragrance was a true representation of the brand the way it was perceived back then (you know, before Ralph Lauren outsourced production of the Olympic uniform to China).

Lauren is also an interesting perfume. The floral notes have a backbone and aren't too girly (as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure a guy can wear it easily). It's loaded with wood and moss, but this isn't a dark or heavy perfume, even in extrait, where the base is even richer. Speaking of the extrait de parfum, even the top notes there are rounder, fuller, and more satisfying. That's where the pineapple shines- it's more aromatic than juicy, slightly mouthwatering and works wonderfully with the greenery that follows.

While smelling the current version of Lauren is a depressing experience, it's not that hard to find older bottles (skip anything that says EDT-- that's an indication of newer juice). That's probably the result of the perfume's mega popularity in previous decades, so yard sales and thrift stores are an excellent source.


  1. Last year, I purchased a vintage bottle (partial) because I couldn't find mine. Perhaps I used it all? I think it receives very little notice today, which is a shame. It's a stunning fragrance.

  2. Lauren brand's retail clothing is also far, far lower quality than it was pre-2000. Don't even talk about Safari. I have a recent bottle, which projects 20 minutes of a thin, but OK representation of the middle part of a chypre perfume, followed by a horrible chemical "bug spray" musk. Lauren is over, sad to say.

  3. You've described this perfectly, Gaia, both the brand and the perfume in those days. I recently found a laydown bottle on ebay to replace one that I used to have. Great stuff! nozknoz

  4. You are speaking to the choir, both Lauren and Safari are gorgeous but unfortunately, under appreciated beauties. I have an older bottle of the Lauren cologne circa 1980's and it's spectacular, one spritz brings me back to my youth: crisp fall days, filled with golden sunshine and the smell of horses. I believe this was the very first perfume I chose for myself-it suits me perfectly.

  5. Oh my! I think I still have the original in a box somewhere! So true it was a lovely fragrance but for some reason I didn't wear it much. *fingers crossed* I can find it!

  6. This was one of my first fragrances when I was younger. Much younger. I find it kind of amazing that this was what was marketed to teenagers back then. Nothing like the sweet and fruity and simple juice that is offered nowadays.
    Thanks for the review!!


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