I've never wasted much time with Juicy Couture's second fragrance, Viva La Juicy, the bottle of which is nearly identical to the first. So let's just move on to the latest, Couture Couture, and I'll get this right out of the way: I like the perfume enough to buy the bottle. I put it that way because, while I do like Couture Couture much more than most people seem to, I can't tell you I'd buy it without this packaging.
I can't get over how impressed I am with this bottle. I want six in six different sizes. It's like something the set department of Marie Antoinette sold at auction after production wrapped. It has an interesting shape to it, and little embellishments have been cut into the glass. It has a fancy gold cap which reminds me of things I've seen in antique stores on old flatware or religious iconography. It's like a Chambord liqueur bottle if a Chambord liqueur bottle didn't look like something you'd use as an air-freshener in your car. The ribbon around its neck is a zipper strip, and from the broken zipper pull dangle gold-plated gew-gaws, one a textured charm, the other I don't really know what. It sits on the dresser with the kind of authority only good design and stacks of cold hard cash command.
And what of the perfume itself? Look, I don't smell the grape people are talking about. It's in the pyramid, but so is amber, and I don't smell that either. Maybe it's just me. Couture Couture reminds me of things I have--not exactly, meaning it isn't redundant, but it recalls them, which is to say it's something I would own. I'm not sure I would pick it up and exclaim "Fruity" with a wrinkled nose. And it's curious to me that so many reviewers on makeupalley do, when just as many nearly faint in despair at how much it reminds them of something their mother slash grandmother might wear. This alone puts us in entirely separate camps. To anyone afraid of smelling like her grandmother, I'd say, grow up. There are far worse things to smell like. Sniff from a bottle of Secretions Magnifiques and get back to me. I've run these comments through a tween-speak translator and what they seem to be saying is that Couture Couture doesn't smell as "young" as Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy has conditioned them to expect. A further decoding of this would be: it doesn't smell like pastry without everything but the pie filling.
Couture Couture seems to update an older template in ways the original Juicy Couture did, lightening things up, but it retains some quality that looks backward, if only fleetingly. It's far from old fashioned. I smell more vanilla than fruit, and though honeysuckle and jasmine are said to be in the mix I'm getting something which is too blended to say. You might hear tell of a hairspray note. This always perks up my ears, but probably in a different direction than it does yours. I tend to like what a good hairspray note does for a perfume. I like the images of cosmetics and coiffure it elicits. I liked it in Insolence, I liked it in Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, and I rather like it here, though it's much less discernible than in those.
The fragrance is eau de parfum strength, though it lacks the tenacious vigor of its oldest sibling. It wears fairly close to the skin. I like it. It strikes me as an admirable effort. I'm not a star-rating kind of guy, but I can tell you, at least, that I bought it, and not just on the basis of the bottle alone. But the bottle was definitely a determining factor. Ultimately, Couture Couture serves as a forceful reminder of just how effective good design and packaging can be. "I always judge a book by its cover," says company co-founder Skaist-Levy, blissfully superficial. I wish other fragrance lines would take more of the same approach.