Friday, March 07, 2014

Escada- Escada Margaretha Ley

My father's old office was around the corner from an Escada boutique. I used to work for him during school breaks and while in college in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I remember walking past the store every day, looking at the power suits, colorful printed silk shirts, and the ladies with the frosted hair who bought and sold them, knowing with certainty that this was never going to be my style. The same was true for the perfume Escada launched in 1990 and was beautifully displayed near the entrance.

Escada Margaretha Ley is actually a child of the 1980s. A big and exuberant floral with a tropical vibe. In later years, Escada took the beachy element and released a never-ending stream of rather insufferable summery fruity-florals. But the original perfume was a rather delightful thing with big hair, shoulder pads, and the walk of a supermodel on the catwalk.

Escada was a creamy white floral, sweet enough to produce a certain cleavagy sexiness but never going into the yummy territory that took over the 1990s by storm. Ylang-ylang and coconut can be as silky as those yellow Escada blouses I remembered. I used to think that the perfume also had quite a bit of tuberose, but apparently it's a phantom note. All the other white flowers and coconut make me feel tuberosy even when that's not the case. Escada is a loud and not very refined, perhaps,  but it's sexy in its own way. Sometimes even touching the bottle feels like over-application, and the ripeness of the fruit can be too much in the heat (never ever ever wear it to the gym. Just take my word). But by the time the sweet sandalwood milk and musky vanilla dry-down arrives, wearing Escada is quite enjoyable.

The original Escada Margaretha Ley was re-orchestrated and later discontinued. It's still possible to find the original heart-shaped bottles here and there (the reformulated version came in a taller and leaner bottle). I suspect that the mini I have will last me for the next few lifetimes.

Notes (via Nigel Groom): bergamot, hyacinth, peach, coconut, jasmine, ylang-ylang, orris, orange blossom, sandalwood, musk, vanilla.


  1. My then boyfriend bought me a bottle of it for for my birthday one year when it had not been out too long: we were both very, very disappointed.

  2. Happy International Women's Day, Gaia!

  3. I was excited to see this review, as I got a mini just last weekend with no knowledge of it. It was in the "featured" display case at a local thrift store, and the red, gold-embossed box, plus the fact that the maker put her name on it, made me think it would be worth a $1. I didn't remember Escada nor recognized Ms. Ley's name, but after I googled, I do remember the look from the '80's. I second the opinion that the dry-down is worth the wait. I wore White Linen back in those days, and this reminded me of it some, except with the tropical notes you point out. I still like White Linen, and after I tried this on, thought it a fun find, so it was great to learn about it!!


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  5. You don't have any catalogs from that time do you?


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