Arpège is a perfume that can be referred as floral aldehydic together with Chanel N5, Madame Rochas, Calandre, Rive Gauche and White Linen. The base of this perfume consists of woody notes of Sandalwood and Vetiver in combination with sweet Vanilla, Coumarin and Musk. In its heart there is a classic combination of Rose, Jasmin and Lilly-of-the-valley together with Tuberose and Iris warmed with spices like Clove bud and Coriander. The top notes consist of Bergamot, Aldehydes and Neroli sweetened with Peach. Well, with another words it's a very classic French flowery perfume – elegant, stylish and very suitable for a special occasion like an evening in the theater or an reception.
Very special of this perfume is that originally it was made of a high-quality flower bases. There are finest naturals used, like huge amount of Sandalwood next to Bulgarian Rose, Jasmin absolute, Ylang-Ylang and Neroli. It gives this perfume a sumptuous character. The recent reformulation in 90’s was performed with all respect to the original attempting to keep the spirit of the perfume unchanged.
The slightly spicy floral part Arpège is less spicy than Madame Rochas or L’Air du Temps and has more natural floral character than Rive Gauche. Compared to Chanel N 5 Arpège has less striking aldehydic character. Therefore it's a nice perfume for someone who find Chanel N5 too sharp, but loves classic French style flowery perfumes. The difference between Arpège and Chanel N5 is easy to understand when you look to the main purpose of the both perfume houses. The goal of Chanel was emancipation – liberating of woman that you can smell in a defiant character of Chanel N5. Lanvin’s goal was to embellish a woman.
The embellishing quality of Arpège reminds me of The Necklace (La Parure) by Guy de Maupassant. Mathilde Loisel who is not content with her middle-class state and dreams about luxuary life is invited to an official ball at the Ministery. She has got a dress already but is very desperate because she doesn’t have any jewel to embellish her dress. Finally she borrows a necklace from a friend of her. She steals the evening completely. Arpège is such a necklace to me – a nice finishing touch of class and elegancy for a formal reception. A potion for a young middle-class girl to become a noble lady for one night.
This perfume is made in 1927 by a perfumer André Fraysse by order of Jeanne Lanvin who intended this as a gift for the 30st birthday of her very beloved daughter Marie-Blanche. The strong connection between mother and daughter you can see in a golden logotype of Lanvin. It’s a stylized picture of Jeanne giving an embrace to Marie-Blanche. Mother wanted only the best ingredients in the most precious gift for her daughter. The name is chosen for the perfume, because Marie-Blanche liked music as much as perfume and could see the affinity between both arts.