Friday, January 23, 2015

Ralph Lauren- Tuxedo (Vintage Perfume)


Ralph Lauren Holiday, 2005

When I started writing about vintage perfumes here I called it "The Lost Perfume Series". I felt that some these treasures from our perfume past were not only gone, but close to being forgotten. Or in the case of bad reformulations, their true nature was being forgotten. Then there are the ones that truly slipped through the cracks of time, and most people don't even know they existed.

Case in point: Tuxedo by Ralph Lauren. The 1979 follow up to Lauren's classic (now badly reformulated) Lauren, meant as its evening counterpart. It didn't live to see much of the 80s.  Amelia on The Vintage Perfume Vault shares her thoughts about why Tuxedo was a flop. I agree with her about the gender confusion, to a degree. But I think it's also an issue of brand identity. Back in the 1970s and even today to a degree, despite Lauren's Black Label line and evening wear, the designer's image is horsey and outdoorsy. Is the woman who aspires for the life depicted in the original Lauren ads the same as the one who buys a leather-floriental named Tuxedo? A woman in a tuxedo is very YSL, not necessarily Ralph Lauren's customer.

Which brings us to the perfume itself, the lost Tuxedo. The bottle is a black version of the classic preppy Lauren, with a red logo. It's the only color combination possible for this dark and sexy beauty. It hits you from the very first whiff with a vintage vibe that was probably already considered dated by 1979 (the seventies seem to have been more about green chypres than about smoky leather ones). I smell the oak moss right away, a leathery moss or a mossy leather. It's probably due to the perfume's aging that it takes a bit for the floral bouquet to unfold and show its grandness. The blend is smooth and quite seamless, an animalic floral fortified by wood and a sweet thick ambery base. It hints towards the big-boned florientals of the approaching decade, but in my opinion Tuxedo is superior.

There's certainly a gender-bending element here. The aged leather, hints of a smoky library with its worn Chesterfield couch and a glass of aged cognac are not necessarily a typical seventies or eighties perfume, which is another reason to love and appreciate Tuxedo. It was unique back when it was created and it's even more special now. I think of it as an incredibly romantic perfume. How ironic it is that Ralph Lauren's anemic, scrubbed-clean Romance is the one that people know and recognize everywhere, while Tuxedo is lost forever.

13 comments:

  1. I miss Ralph Lauren day and night cosmetics and the perfume for day and night. Those were the days.

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  2. Oh, I had totally forgotten about Tuxedo! It WAS beautiful, and I so wish I had held on to my bottle of it from the seventies. I was always under the impression that fragrances went 'bad' after a time. Obviously, from what you have written, that is not true! And Lauren is my all time favorite fragrance. I would love to know the notes that appeal to me - is there carnation in Lauren? I have always thought of it as a 'green' fragrance. I absolutely love your blog, and read it faithfully! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge of fragrance and other cosmetics!

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  3. Tuxedo was the first perfume I bought for myself with my own money. I was on a school ski trip in Vail and I quickly discovered that I hated skiing. I spent the rest of the trip wandering into the foofy boutiques and blew my Christmas money on a Polo rugby shirt and a bottle of Tuxedo. Oh, how I loved it. It gave me visions of myself as a sultry femme fatale. Though I was only 15 and still had braces on my teeth, I started wearing deep red lipstick every day. With the Polo shirts, of course. Boys claimed to love it. I didn't waver from the femme fatale presentation until fairly recently. Tuxedo ignited my love of chypres and inspired me as no perfume has since. I moved on to Diva and Eau du Soir after that.

    Years later, scouring the internet for it, I discovered some outfit that allegedly recreated lost perfumes and ordered some. This was before my fumehead awakening. Gah! It smelled like old ladies to me, then, and nothing like I remembered from high school. It remains in memory as a lost dream of some glamorous ideal self. The suburban housewife fumie me now smells like a different woman every day.

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  4. *soft weeping* I really truly miss my old bottle of Lauren from when I was a youngster.

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  5. I wore this back in those halcyon, innocent days when I still had no anxiety about favorite scents being d/ced or reformulated. Loved it, went through multiple bottles. Never thought about stockpiling. Ugh! Never dreamt that one day in the future I'd be gnashing my teeth patiently (well, not so patiently) searching for it on an internet auction site and, finally, feeling lucky to get a small bottle at a fairly exorbitant price. Just looked at that site again and there is an *empty* sample vial being sold for $45. WTH? Insanity. *Why* didn't I stockpile? Obviously, I was not asking psychics the correct questions about my future at that time.
    Anna

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  6. OMG! I remember how much I adored Tuxedo but there was also a day version that had a different name and I wore them both!
    Thank you for remembering this unforgettable beauty!
    I love this blog so much.

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  7. I can't even remember what it smelled like. All I know is that it was my magic potion of the young, dating, career girl era. Every time I wore it, magic happened. No one else I knew in Texas wore it and everyone asked what it was. I've never had that happen since. I would love to smell it again. I still have a tiny bit of the original Lauren from that era and it is still wonderful. Something so assertive and sophisticated about it, unlike the sweet treats on the counter today. If I were wealthy i would have them both remade for my personal use. Thanks for remembering my all time favorite lemming. (I almost never finish a bottle, I have so many, but that one was long gone before the 90's hit, and by the time I needed more it was long discontinued).

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  8. I still have a small bottle of this that I bought in the early 80's. I cherish the small amount that's left.

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  9. Thank you for taking me back in time. This was my favorite perfume of all time. I worked at The Broadway in Arcadia, CA and when it came out, all of us wore it faithfully. I never imagined at 17 years old that it would be discontinued. I will also never understand why Ralph Lauren never re-branded and re-released our beloved Tuxedo. This scent brings back so many wonderful memeories and thank you again for taking me back.

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  10. I feel absolutely blessed because I still have my two-ounce black bottle of Tuxedo safely hiding in the dark of my lingerie drawer, and the bottle that's at least 30 years old is about half full. The perfume smells as good today as it did when I received it as a present. Today, I only wear it for "state occasions": weddings, graduations, and my son's college concerts. And, every once in a while, I wear it just because. . .

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  11. Loved this perfume!! I started wearing it because I wanted something different than what everyone else was wearing. It felt like I had super powers when I wore it because magic happened every time! It gave me such confidence. It was one of those fragrances that every time I wore it someone commented and/or asked what fragrance I was wearing. Haven't found one like it since!

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  12. This was my favorite perfume. I felt it truly complimented my love of getting dressed up with my love for the outdoors. When I wore it, I felt the power behind it which was evident by the fact that men always commented on it. Sometimes following me around whatever occasion or location I was at to do so. Unfortunately I was not as frugal with my usage of my last bottle like some of the commenters and have non left. It is definitely missed.

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  13. Tuxedo was awesome, I miss it a lot. Also miss the day and night makeup. I had blush in a shade called "Chutney" and a lip gloss that went very well with it. Miss that a lot too. Oh well.

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