August 24, 2016
Acapulco, photo by Slim Aaron
1970s Acapulco. Bronzed goddesses prowl the poolside while sipping champagne cocktails. Tawny, bare-chested men watch them from behind their mirrored shades. A samba is pulsating somewhere in the background, and ripe blossoms sway in the curupita trees.
Arquiste El and Ella are the latest collaboration between Creative Director Carlos Huber and master perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, who (along with Yann Vasnier) is the in house perfumer for the House. . The perfumes were inspired by stories Carlos’ parents used to tell him about Acapulco in the 1970s, then the epitome of jet-setting glamour. Nightclubs, champagne, sun-warmed skin, the beat and sweat of the dance floor find their way into El and Ella.
Catherine Wilke, photo by Slim Aarons
“Oh, wow – that smells like the 70s!” cried a friend upon sniffing Ella. Ella’s sparkling fizz of champagne and floral spray of light jasmine and curupita flower (described by Carlos as having “touches of hyacinth, petunia and rose with a characteristic green sage note”) do have a retro feel, recalling the aldehydic florals of the 1970s, such as Ivoire de Balmain, Nina Ricci Farouche and Estee Lauder White Linen. Ella tweaks the feminine gentility of its archetype with musk and animalic notes, suggesting a lady who is not afraid to get a bit dirty – in both senses of the word.
Cheryl Tiegs, photo by Kourken Pakchanian for Vogue, 1973
From the listed notes, Ella looks like a she-beast, a panther sauntering on the end of a jeweled leash. But her effect is more subtle. Ella has a quiet, self-assured slinkiness with just a hint of trash – think Cheryl Tiegs in a white pantsuit unzipped to her navel. Honey seeps into sparkly, lemony-jasmine top notes. After a few minutes, the honeyed florals are met by the snowy sweetness of angelica. But then the beat changes slightly, the lights lower, and Ella gets a touch of something darker, a paper-thin waft of cigarettes – a Sobranie exhaled from a distance – and musk. Ella dries down to dries down to a warm floral-skin scent. This is White Linen after it’s been rolled around on all night.
New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath lounges by the pool with press and fans before Super Bowl III. Photographed by Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
Ella and her male counterpart, El, share more than a few notes. But where Ella is waiting to be unzipped, El is bare-chested and unapologetic, a butch swagger of a fragrance. It is Burt Reynolds in Deliverance, Joe Namath on the prowl: musky, earthy, assertively male.
Burt Reynolds in Deliverance, 1972
A fougere-like opening, with green herbs and peppery geranium, gives way to smoky vetiver and then something earthy and animal. The civet note growls here and is amplified by musk. As it dries down, the fougere accord and animalic notes become balanced: part suave refinement, part open-shirted playboy. Don’t wear this unless you want women to wonder what you look like naked.
Disclosure: Perfume samples provided by Arquiste. Opinions are my own.
— Lauryn Beer, Sr. Contributor
.Photo El and Ella via Arquiste
Thanks to the generosity of Twisted Lily, we have two sets of Arquiste both El and Ella for two registered readers in the USA. To be eligible please leave a comment with what appeals to you about El and/or Ella based on Lauryn’s review and your favorite seventies fragrance or celebrity. Draw closes 8/28/2016.
We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option … or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume