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Charlie perfume, retro-chic after 36 years

Revlon's iconic Charlie fragrance seems retro-chic again given it's heady Oriental vibe. $21 (62.8 mL)

Revlon's iconic Charlie fragrance seems retro-chic again given it's heady Oriental vibe. $21 (62.8 mL)

Charlie perfume, retro-chic after 25 years

Flared trousers, hipsters, bohemian jewellery – all have cycled back into fashion during the last few years. So too have Oriental fragrances, those strong, spicy scents characteristic of the 1970s and 80s. Which got me thinking about Charlie, that Revlon classic launched in 1973. I think Revlon has missed an opportunity to relaunch the toilette, or at least add a lighter but still sassy secondary take on the perfume.

It seems so right for now.

I loved that long-haired working woman who strode across the brand’s ad campaign, all independent and happy and sexy. I had a bottle as a kid – and a whiff of the heady perfume (it’s got a strong floral top note and middle notes with a musky, spicy base of sandalwood, vetiver and vanilla) takes me back in an instant to my cords and turtleneck-wearing youth.

I admit, I like the spritz’s dry-down now more than its in-your-face greeting, but I still appreciate its unapologetic working-girl brand – and democratic price point. It still sells at drug stores and mass-market retailers, with the very accessible ticket price of $21. Makes me think there’s room for a sprightlier, updated version inspired by today’s spirited, multitasking, creative, hardworking, feminist-leaning young women. I’d prefer that over a perfume evoking the lifestyle of a cleavage-baring, rehab-going celebrity. Hmmm. Revlon, you interested?

– Deborah Fulsang

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