Arpège by Lanvin

Another classical elderly French lady, created in 1927. The origin story makes me feel a bit mushy and moist eyed, as a mother of a daughter. Jeanne Lanvin commissioned it as a thirtieth birthday gift for her musician daughter, Marie Blanche. The name refers to musical arpeggios: that individual notes would be clearly distinguished in order as they developed on the skin, thus an ‘arpége’. And it contains over 60 floral notes.

Close up of Lanvin Arpège bottle with gold mother daughter Art Deco illustration
Mother and daughter logo

The bottle is stunning, a satisfyingly round and chunky black globe that thunks into the palm, with an elegant gold top and beautiful gold graphic design. The graphics also reference the mother-daughter relationship concept; the flowing, Art- Nouveau type gold figures are illustrations of the mother and daughter of the perfumer, preparing for a ball. I guess a perfect mother’s day present.

The graphics artist was Paul Eribe; an illustrator and designer with an unpleasant line in anti-Semitic French nationalism, and lover of Coco Chanel until his death. Coco herself was a possible Nazi collaborator – a fascinating essay on this here. Some perfume houses don’t smell so good when you start digging.

It’s an incredibly smooth, blended, glossy, perfume. Refined, aldehydic (those sparkles again) and floral, and almost a nutty milkiness to it. It lasts well and I enjoy a lovely leftover gleam of it on my wrist the morning after I’ve worn it.

An elegant Parisian mamma teaches her daughter scales and arpeggios. Disney’s The Aristocats, 1970.

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