"I'm incredibly sexy and more rock than ever," touts the slogan of Black Perfecto, Guerlain's new addition to its La Petite Robe Noire series. A hip mix of English and Spanish, the name is borrowed from one of the shades in the LPRN makeup line, which was named after the classic Perfecto motorcycle leather jacket by Schott NYC. The Perfecto jacket was popularized by Marlon Brando, who wore it in the 1953 outlaw biker movie The Wild One. To promote the launch, Guerlain collaborates with French sports equipment company Le Coq Sportif on a pair of La Petite Robe Noire tennis shoes. A LPRN leather jacket would have made more sense in the context at hand, but we guess that a pair of LPRN sneakers isn't any more absurd than a LPRN car, a LPRN iPhone cover, a LPRN bag, LPRN gloves, or LPRN tea, just to name a few of the LPRN spin-offs marketed in the past. According to the latest business reports, all high-end brands are now releasing sneakers, because they're cheap to produce and sell like hotcakes despite a retail price of around 400 €. Let's try to rise above our dismay about Guerlain using silly marketing gimmicks that completely degrade the refined luxury image that LVMH otherwise strives to convey.

Featuring an all-black version of the heart-shaped stopper bottle decorated with little studs and a circular "leather" label, it's the first La Petite Robe Noire release not to include a black dress or girl pictogram. We might think that it's yet another limited edition bottle with the fragrance unchanged, as a few months ago Guerlain issued a similar black bottle with a clear cap, containing the regular 2012 juice and adorned with fifteen different pink and red label designs of the fashion girl silhouette.

But no, La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto is not just a new bottle, but a whole new formula. Or is it? Guerlain fans, rejoice! This smells like a resurrection of Delphine Jelk’s greatly missed original version of La Petite Robe Noire from 2009, which was evidently more charismatic than the reworked 2012 version that followed: a gorgeously rich "Musquinade" blend of raspberry, amarena cherries, bitter almond, Bulgarian rose absolute, licorice, and burnt sugar, well worthy of the Guerlain name. Back then, Guerlain's former artistic director, Sylvaine Delacourte, explained that La Petite Robe Noire was inspired by the flavour and chewy texture of a raspberry macaron, and Black Perfecto makes us remember why. According to official PR, Black Perfecto sports a "touch of leather", but we assume that it's the original black tea note, which has a certain smoky tinge, that has simply been renamed to fit the new "rock and black leather" slogan. In short, this Black Perfecto is hands down the best La Petite Robe Noire currently out there, at least if you don’t want to splash out for the luxurious Parfum version, a rather costly option available only in a ridiculously small 7.5 ml size. We're crossing our fingers and hope that Guerlain doesn’t discontinue it just as quickly as the wonderful Couture version was removed from the market.

The official name of the fragrance is "Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire", as if La Petite Robe Noire were a brand. We guess it sort of is as this is the ninth La Petite Robe Noire release. It reminds us that the naming of flankers is one of the more challenging aspects in contemporary perfumery. The fragrance is labeled as an "Eau de Parfum Florale", which is quite misleading because it's not particularly floral. As indicated on the back of the box, the rose may be more pronounced compared to the 2009 version, which only adds to the beauty of the accord, but the dominant notes remain cherry, licorice, and musky almond. If there ever was a floral version of La Petite Robe Noire, it was French Kiss in the Elixirs Charnels line, but we assume that Guerlain wanted a fragrance that would draw attention away from LancĂ´me's La Vie Est Belle Florale. It would have been more logical to call it La Petite Robe Noire Intense since that’s what it is in the strictest sense of the term, while last year’s Intense flanker was in fact a rehash of La Vie Est Belle and completely unrelated to La Petite Robe Noire. Whatever the actual inspiration was, La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto is, well, just perfect! Read more about La Petite Robe Noire and its flankers
(May 2017)

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