Monday, 29 July 2013

Hervé Léger Femme Eau de Parfum (review)

Hervé Léger Femme Eau de Parfum

Hervé Léger are a brand most famous for their signature bandage dresses, made to flatter a woman's shape, enhancing and disguising in all the right places. Originally launched in 1989, they made a comeback in 2007. I refer to Hervé Léger as 'brand' because the man behind the fashion house changed his name to Hervé L. Leroux in 1998 when he lost the rights to the Hervé Léger brand to an American company who ousted the designer to take full control. (Strangely, the 'new' Hervé Léger company has excluded all references to its founder in their website's heritage page.)

To complicate matters further the brand was relaunched in 2007 under new management, marketing itself as Hervé Léger by Max Azria, and has nothing to do with Monsieur Leroux these days, who designs exclusively under his new name.  Hervé Léger branched out into fragrances after the takeover but never developed the range beyond 1999's Hervé Léger and Rose Léger from 2006, both made in association with Procter & Gamble Prestige Beauty and since discontinued. In 2010 they tried again and teamed up with Avon who licensed the name and launched the fragrance tested here: Femme.
The striking advert, shot in Paris

First things first, the design - I love it! What draws me in is the simple rectangular shape of the bottle enhanced with distinctive 'bands' enveloping the width (a definite nod to the dresses that made the company so successful). This gives the bottle art deco overtones and a more expensive aura. The appearance is brightened with the beautiful pale pink coloured perfume. The overall look is pretty, soft and very feminine. And, significantly, it looks like a cut above all the other standard issue perfumes Avon sells. The only downside is a lid that feels cheap and wobbles about – the fit is poor and it's too light weight.

You might expect some bodacious, striking scent bearing in mind the dresses it evokes, but alas I find the perfume somewhat underwhelming. It is sweet and powdery in its make-up, with softness the heart, mind, body and soul of Femme. It conjures up everything nice and inoffensive: baby powder, a basket of flowers, cotton wool, candy floss, fairy cakes and kittens. For some this may be ideal, when you don't want to come across as too outlandish such as going to the theatre or visiting friend's for dinner, for example; here Femme would be perfectly suitable.

Avon describe it as 'modern, sophisticated, confident and sexy' and 'will make an unforgettable statement, whether walking the red carpet or painting the town red.' Perhaps if the real Hervé Léger had created this scent we might have a product to match the blurb, but as it is it's a wallflower scent. Designed to appeal to as many people as possible rather than make a statement that might divide opinion. It's worse off for it. Interestingly, Hervé Léger don't sell this in their luxury boutiques, it's marketed exclusively through mass-market retailers Avon.

Top Notes: magnolia, pink grapefruit, orange blossom
Middle Notes: honeywood, benzoin, cypress
Base Notes: musk, vanilla

That is not to say I find it at all offensive or unwearable. While it is too bland for my tastes, and lacking in personality and depth, it is pretty enough and suitable for daytime use either at the office or for a little shopping. It should also appeal to a wide range of people; I can see this being worn by anyone from 20 to 60, but it will strike a chord mainly with the very feminine rather than power dressing business executives or glamour-types!

Femme is only available in 50 ml eau de parfum and I've yet to see any matching body products on sale. If you'd like a man you care for to compliment the Femme fragrance with a cologne of his own, Hervé Léger kindly created sibling scent Homme which sports a black and gold design.  I've not tested it and it's not featured on the Avon website (discontinued already?) so can't describe it for you.

As mentioned, Femme may look like a cut above Avon branded perfumes, but it is not really priced as such. Yes, it is slightly pricier than the rest, but £20 for 50 ml is hardly expensive. At this end of the market the Hervé Léger brand counts for a lot and could justify a much higher price, so it's nice that it's so affordable, even if that does betray its mass-market aims.

Oh so feminine!
Too overtly feminine for some!
Classy bottle and pink perfume look very attractive
No guts or vibrancy to the scent which lacks oomph
It's very affordable
Some quality issues with the cap


Brand: Hervé Léger

Size: 50 ml
Price: £20.00 (£40.00/100 ml)

Manufactured: Poland

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat. (68.8% Ethanol), Parfum, Aqua (Water), Benzophenone-3, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, CI 17200, CI 60730, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citral, Geraniol, Farnesol, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone,

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