I met Nick Steward, the founder of Gallivant in Milan during Esxence 2019 in April, all smiles as he pulled out a sample of “the new perfume” and sprayed some on my hand.
Where are we going now? I asked, testing the new fragrance with friends. He wouldn’t say at first but we insisted. Los Angeles, he replied! I told him that I remember parts of LA by so many different scents, images, and memories as these started immediately to flash before my eyes – I’ve lived there for a while, and I immediately said that this fragrance reminds me of Sunset Boulevard – the famous road stretching all the way from Downtown LA to the Pacific Coast Highway, from Hollywood to Malibu.
I cruised it often long ago with my boyfriend at that time (in a pick-up, not a convertible), which made even fog coming from the Ocean and layers of smog hovering above some parts of this route seem romantic:
Los Angeles was launched with this photo on August 14th, 2019 – the right time and season to talk about endless Summer.
The whole concept of Gallivant is what you might consider very “Californian state of mind”: easy to wear fragrances, 30ml travel-friendly bottles, a concept of urban olfactory impressions of hidden corners of worldwide destinations, and a relaxed approach to travel and life.
So far Gallivant took us to seven cities: you can find my reviews here. The brand description of Los Angeles is “Sunset people, neon signs, sultry glamour.“, and the perfumer behind it is Karine Chevallier.
The exceptionally warm weather we’re having in October, l’Ete Indien with temperatures over 26C made me reach for Los Angeles again! Endless Summer…while thick strands of autumnal fog are the first thing that greets me early in the morning.
It’s opening reminded me of hot Summer mornings in LA, the air still fizzy-fresh from all the sprinklers watering the front lawn at 8 AM, just before the heat of the day rolls in, and memories started to surface while I kept sniffing my wrists. Neon-bright sunshine dancing over dry pineapple cubes and a glass of cold, freshly squeezed orange juice. The shiny asphalt of the driveway, still wet as the sprinklers tune down but you can already see the scattered dry spots becoming larger as the morning warms up. Images of peacocks walking around on the road just below the house, and the smell of Eucalyptus trees nearby coming through a wide-open window – we were living very close to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and it took me six months to get used to the shrieking noise these large birds made, mostly at 6 AM or late in the afternoon: I fed them once (what a mistake) and it took months to break their habit of showing up and asking loudly for more goodies.
This changes soon, and salty Pacific ocean breeze is floating above flowers, like mist rolling in from the ocean while you are driving along a residential area close to Malibu, with huge and well kept blooming gardens: well-tamed tuberose that is not indolic at all is swaying over bright narcissus. It’s getting warmer now, sultrier, somehow more decadent but you can still feel the salty vibe in the air, not aquatic at all. Life is vibrant with the view of kitschy architecture clashing with modernism, laughing too loud at crowded noisy bars and restaurants, too much tanned, naked skin shown in the dark, smiles too wide and bright, a nightlife too intoxicating, throbbing wildly under red, yellow, green and blue huge, pulsing neon signs trying to allure, and historical buildings standing as bodyguards of the past.
The tuberose-colored centerpiece of the fragrance reminded me of the Sunset Strip at night, glam&rock of young&beautiful, with it’s very classy and trashy parts that meld in a sizzling, bubbly cocktail. It’s a bit sweet, but smile, drink it up, straighten up your silky dress, party hard, and wish that morning never comes!
Still feeling a tiny bit of salt in the corner of my mouth that gentle marine breeze left, I’m driving home and I know well when it’s near: the familiar scent of San Gabriel Mountains foothills rolls in through an open window: the soothing freshness of dry herbs, the tender musky woodiness of scattered bushes, and traces of smoky whiffs of a recent, quickly extinguished forest fire somewhere high up in the hills, the calm and cool of a beautiful Californian Summer night.
Los Angeles feels easy to wear, with an interesting development and a lovely, soft drydown. The eucalyptus is not camphoraceous – it feels fresh, tuberose is not indolic at all, pineapple is not juicy or tropical, the salty note is not aquatic, and cade is very gentle.
Wearing this fragrance makes me California blue:
“One sunny day, I’ll get back again
Somehow, someway but I don’t know when
California blue, California blue.” – Roy Orbisson
Notes: eucalyptus, clary sage, tuberose, narcissus, cade, guaiac wood (as listed by Gallivant). Projection is moderate, as with most of the fragrances in the line: they are meant to tell stories, not to shout.
Los Angeles is available at the Gallivant website and chosen stockists, 30 ml Eau de Parfum = 65 GBP, 2ml samples = 4.50 GBP. Always test before purchase.
May you travel light, gallivant carelessly, smell great, and have fun wherever you go!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Gallivant, Google Maps
The sample of Los Angeles was kindly sent to me by Gallivant, prior to the official launch, opinions of my own.