Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vivid Perfume, Liz Claiborne-Review

What a surprisingly nice perfume this is. Somehow, I missed Vivid when it was around in the early 90's, and remained completely unaware of its existence until I was gifted a small sample bottle like the one in the (not my) photo. Had I been aware of Vivid at the time I doubt I would have been too excited by it, as my perfumes of choice were solidly in the chypre camp at that point.

Iris and violet are my twin purple nemesis (is that the plural? I'm too lazy to go downstairs for a reference book to find out). I adore them both, but unless they are very carefully done, it can get unpleasant rather quickly. Vivid makes use of freesia, peony, and a whole hell of a lot of Bulgarian rose to keep the iris and violet subtle. On paper I might not get too excited by the combination, but on my wrist I can't stop sniffing, and thinking to myself that this is an under appreciated gem.

I must admit, although I'm not a perfume snob (I will wear my cheap bottle of Jovan Woman without hesitation) there's something almost generic about Liz Claiborne as a brand. Don't get me wrong, the clothes are nice, in a casual workplace sort of way, but the fragrances never enticed me over to the perfume counter to give them a try. The bottles were gimicky, and stupid looking, and I associated them with the sort of people that want to fit in, even if it means smelling like everyone else at the country club. If ever a brand screamed, "Middling Classes", it was Claiborne. At least Ralph Lauren aspired to a better country club-and a house in the Hamptons. I acknowledge that I'm probably reading more into it than I should. That's the thing though, isn't it? The marketing is designed to sell the concept of a lifestyle. My mother wore Estee until it became so downmarket that she'd smell it on everyone riding the city buses. There wasn't anything wrong with the scent, but it no longer sold the image of herself she wanted to buy. So it is for Liz Claiborne in my mind.

The wonderful tangerine top note fades quicker than some of those "unauna" elements at the bottom of the Periodic Table. Blink, and you'll miss it. Bergamot is also listed, but hell if I can smell it. There's some sandalwood, vanilla, and musk in the base, but I never smelled them as individual notes. On my skin, the fragrance went from a lovely bit of citrus right into the florals, Freesia has a way of dominating other notes, so it could be that it is dampening the emergence of the base. I really do wish there were some way to hang onto the top notes a wee bit longer, because the tart, bright citrus note is just heavenly. I keep sniffing wanting a bit fuller experience than what Vivid is able to provide me. The overall longevity isn't bad-about six hours, but it stays close to the skin, and even after waving my wrist at Mr. ETB he had to make an effort to smell it. I suppose that makes Vivid the ideal office fragrance for the 21st Century.

Vivid was briefly discontinued, and some people feel the current reformulation is lacking something. Mine is a vintage sample, so I can't really offer an opinion on the newer bottles out there. It does seem a shame they changed the bottle design as the cobalt blue is not only useful for blocking light, but is attractive as well.

The official notes:
Freesia, violet, Mandarin orange,bergamot, jasmine, iris, Egyptian sage, Bulgarian rose, peony, sandalwood, lily, amber, musk, tiare flower, vanilla.

What I smell:
Freesia, violet, Mandarin orange, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, iris, freesia, freesia, and freesia.

Inexpensive mini bottles are all over Etsy and eBay for a couple bucks a pop, so it is worth trying if you like freesia, iris, and violet. $50.00 striped tee shirts, and application to the country club optional.


Bibi said...

Just type 'nemesis plural' and the magic oracle of Google shall provide you with 'nemeses'.
Liz Claiborne clothing was always cut a bit too short & boxy for my figure. I could handle the tasteful but boring 'career wear' styles but high water pants & midriff skimming tops I couldn't abide.
Liz Claiborne's Curve fragrance for men is also surprisingly good.
Freesia's one of those scents that has to be 'made up' from other florals & synthetics as procuring the natural freesia scent is impossible. So that being said- some freesia 'mixtures' are better than others.
I'll have to try this, it sounds wonderful.

Goody said...

Oh yeah, Google! Somehow when you live in a library it feels like cheating to use Google ;)

Mim said...

For some reason Liz Claiborne makes me think of sportswear and Gap-type casualwear. Neither of which would induce me to buy a fragrance. It sounds like the scent is more tempting than the clothing.

Beth Waltz said...

Your remarks about Liz Claiborne perched on a pedestal as the style goddess of the middling classes pierced my funny bone! Once upon a time, I sat in convention center ballrooms crowded with tables of "professional women" wearing Claiborne. Now that I think about it, that's when I started wearing vintage in daytime...and switched from California chardonnay to New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

Goody said...

It almost seems a shame they can part the clothing line from the perfume.

@Beth Waltz
Mercifully, I've never been subjected to a job fair. It sounds terrifying.