When I think of La Prairie, I don't think of expensive face creams. Instead, I think of Georgette Mosbacher, the powerhouse bombshell who bought the languishing La Prairie in the 1980s, ratcheted up its profits and visibility, then sold it in 1991. Although Georgette runs Borghese Cosmetics these days, a few lessons from her book, Feminine Force: Release the Power Within to Create the Life You Deserve, apply to La Prairie's new line of fragrances, Life Threads.
Perfumer Constance Georges-Picot developed all three of the Life Threads Eaux de Parfum: Life Threads Silver, Gold, and Platinum. According to the La Prairie website, each of the fragrances represents a different time in a woman's life.
Silver is the romantic scent of the trio, capturing "dreams and aspirations". Its notes are green leaves, bergamot, tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang, pimento, orange blossom, sandalwood, vetiver, solar musk, and moss. To me it's a buoyant tuberose scent, not as vaporous or dry as Robert Piguet Fracas, but not as fruity as Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia. Silver embodies Georgette's Feminine Force Principles #25 "I expect to be treated like a lady" and #57 "I know how to interest a man".1
Gold represents the active, passionate times in life and includes notes of tangerine, plum, clove, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, rose, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, cedar, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla, and incense. The result is buzzing jasmine and spicy fruit with a smoky drydown. Gold is warm, loud, nicely balanced, and would pair nicely with a satin Scaasi gown with ruffles and a whopper bow at the shoulder. Georgette's principle #13 "My appearance is talking and I like what it is saying", unfortunately does not apply here. What Gold says to me is "My beauty routine never recovered when the Reagans left the White House." Perhaps Principle #43 is a better fit: "I make mistakes — so what?" For the same feel with a tropical twist and a much lower price tag, try Balenciaga Rumba. (Georgette might point me toward Priniciple #45 "I know I can't be a winner and a whiner at the same time".)
La Prairie classifies Platinum as a floral chypre. Its notes are plum, violet leaf, galbanum, jasmine, rose, leather, cardamom, iris, patchouli, vetiver, golden amber, oakmoss, and labdanum. Platinum is touted as the sophisticated scent of the trio. To me, more than a floral chypre, Platinum is a dry leather chypre. It's not the oily leather of Grès Cabochard or the sharp leather of Robert Piguet Bandit, but a leather with an edge of galbanum and iris to keep it clean. It doesn't last long on my skin (Principle #49 "I finish the job — then move on"), and I have other leather chypres, such as Dior Diorling, that I like better. Georgette's take? Principles #70 "My expectations always exceed my circumstances", and #3 "Life isn't fair — so what?"
All in all, although this may not be a rave review, I'm happy to see Life Threads. They seem nicely made and smell expensive, and although none are real surprises, they aren't the same pink pepper, light florals, and clean musk, or sticky fruit and patchouli fragrances that roll off the assembly line these days.
I'll let Georgette have the last word: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a lipstick is just a lipstick. Sometimes looking great is just looking great."2 How does that apply to this review? I'm not sure, but it sounds good.
The La Prairie Life Threads fragrances come in 50 ml bottles for $125 each, and can be found at Neiman Marcus and other La Prairie retailers. Also, I've seen testers available at internet discounters.
1. All of the Feminine Force principles are from pps. 283 to 286.
2. Ibid, p. 176.