Lancome Idole is a fragrance that celebrates women and their power. Created by three female perfumers (Shyamala Maisondieu, Nadège Le Garlantezec and Adriana Medina), and fronted by the phenomenal triple-threat of a talent Zendaya, Idole is a perfume that makes a statement. Now, by “statement” I don’t mean that it boasts a bold and divisive olfactory message, in fact, quite the opposite. Idole is incredibly affable, no, what I mean is that Idole wants to make the point that, in a male-dominated industry, it is a fragrance made by women for women. That, my friends, is worth celebrating.
But it’s not just about female empowerment and modern twists on classic codes of perfumery, Idole is about beauty too. Housed within the world’s slimmest perfume bottle (designed by architect Chafik Gasmi), it’s a contemporary vessel in a shade of rose gold that catches the light like nothing else, and feels tactile in hand; Idole is an essay in attention to detail. It feels like Lancome has painstakingly forged something beautiful from every perceivable angle.
Top: Bergamot Essence
Heart: Rose Essence, Rose Absolute, Rose Water, Jasmine Infusion, Jasmine
Base: Patchouli Essence, Cedar Essence, Vanilla Extract
How Does it Smell?
Idole is a modern chypre that centres on an olfactory dynamic powered by rose, jasmine and patchouli. What does that mean? Well, historically a chypre (the name is French for Cyprus) is a fragrance with citrus notes on top of a mossy, resinous accord of labdanum, patchouli and oakmoss. Today, this style is somewhat out of fashion, and the chypre has evolved to focus on the interplay of florals (rose or jasmine) patchouli and musks. Making for something cleaner and more architectural – this is what we call the modern chypre and Idole is a perfect example of the style executed in a delicate and diffusive way.
In the opening, Idole is fresh, cool and shimmery. It gleams with a soft glow of bergamot, all juicy and clean with that refreshing, zesty quality one associates with freshly brewed Earl Grey tea. Hints of pear amplify the cooling, dewy facets of Idole, creating a perfect sense of calm by evoking the first few moments of daybreak; as the bright sunlight captures the dew-tipped grass, making each drop glisten like a bright diamond.
At the central point of Idole, two materials merge; rose and jasmine. Blending rose essence, absolute and water with jasmine and a jasmine infusion, Lancome has managed to do something unexpected; create a rich floral accord that is neither heady nor overpowering. Instead, the Lancome Idole perfume presents a misty trail of sweet floral facets where the dewy, citrus nuances of rose seamlessly intertwine with the creamy, intoxicating petals of jasmine. It is floral perfection.
In keeping with the codes of the modern chypre, Idole pairs the earthy richness of patchouli with clean, spacious musks. Where it diverges from the norm is with the addition of vanilla extract, which brings an unexpected warmth that glows from the base of the fragrance right up to the top notes. In the dry down, it smells creamy and slightly nutty (boasting the subtle almond facets of tonka bean) with an airy breeze of musk that keeps it cool and delicate. It’s a seamless transition.
Idole is beautifully put together. No, it doesn’t offer something wild or weird, but therein lies its strength. It’s a versatile, genial perfume that has been created to be an accent rather than a statement. Idole wouldn’t feel out of place worn to work, around the house, at a wedding or just every day – it’s easygoing and effortlessly pretty. Idole is diaphanous and clean, transparent and golden. It’s a perfume that smells smooth and expertly finished. And, if I would sum it, and it’s message up in one word I would choose “coherent” because Idole speaks clearly and with determination.