When it launched in 1987, Cacharel LouLou was a sellout. Its glamorously dark advertising campaign full of classy Louise Brooks images and its whisper of Bohemia have made it a steady success for nearly 25 years. I recall buying it by the armful and wearing it by the bucketload as a goth-ish student in the late 80s and even now, whenever I wear it, it takes me back to those heady early years after leaving home and finding my way in the world.
LouLou seems to be loved and hated in equal measure, a bit like the ubiquitous Thierry Mugler Angel, yet it is highly rated by perfumistas, if not by early morning commuters.
So what does it smell like? It’s different for everyone but on me, the highest note at first spray is anise, followed by dark plum, blackcurrant, incense and tuberose. On paper, this may sound like a list, but it always makes me visualise some kind of Parisian nightclub in the 1920s. To me it’s a musky licorice, on others it’s vanilla and incense. It changes constantly throughout the day, although I still maintain it’s an evening scent, Oh, and do spare those early morning commuters, it’s way too much before cocktail hour.
The bottle is deliberately retro: it recalls Art Nouveau cinemas with their chunky and elegant towers and entrances. This is not surprising considering its muse was silent movie star Louise Brooks, star of Pandora’s Box, whose glossy chic bob started a phenomenon Either way, it’s distinctive, and the thrill of buying the cellophaned box with its dark and naif flower motif has never left me.
I often find with LouLou that wearing it influences what I wear. Once I put it on, I have to wear black, with pillar box red lipstick. And I have to have adventures….