When Lancome released La Vie Est Belle last fall, many people, me included, compared it to Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb. Both are very sweet concoctions, but are they similar enough to be dupes? Let’s see:
Flowerbomb is, like the name suggests, an explosion of flowers. It is a bouquet of sambac jasmine, rose, orchid and freesia, with a patchouli base and a sprinkle of bergamot in the opening notes. But to my nose, it smells more like candy. It is one of the sweetest scents you’ll ever smell, which will either delight or disgust you, depending on how much sugary sweetness you can take in your fragrance.
La Vie Est Belle is a fruity floral gourmand scent with patchouli.A high-pitched accord of tonka bean, vanilla and chocolate pralines is enriched by sweet raspberries and sparkling bergamot in the top notes, jasmine and orange blossom accents in the heart, and tame patchouli in the drydown. Although from the description, you’d expect it to smell sweeter than Flowerbomb the opposite is actually true.
Flowerbomb reminds me of a classy lady in a little black dress, with a string of pearls around her neck and her hair pulled back in an elegant chignon, who accidentally found her way to a child’s birthday party where the tables are covered with all kinds of sweet treats. La Vie Est Belle is, instead, her little sister. She’s classy and polished, but in a more understated, youthful way and has a sweet tooth but won’t indulge it for too long. It is also more powdery and less crisp than its big sister. But it’s not very original. Its fruity patchouli sweetness is clearly derived from Flowerbomb.
Sillage and staying power
Flowerbomb really hits your nose with an explosion of candied flowers. At first it is very strong and overpowering, which could easily give you and those around you a headache, but overtime it dries down a bit, which makes it easier to wear. La Vie Est Belle is, instead, more wearable from the start. It’s by no means a skin scent, but it never becomes too loud either. Both linger on your skin for the whole day.
Both have very pretty bottles. Flowerbomb is aptly housed in a bottle shaped like a bomb, whose aggressiveness is sweetened by its pink colour and the black flower attached to it. Very rock chic. La Vie Est Belle is, even in its packaging, more understated. Its sleek bottle is adorned with an elegant organza ribbon. Sweet and feminine, just like the juice inside.
Availability and price
Both Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and Lancome La Vie Est Belle are easily available at department stores and online. But while Lancome will charge you $58.00 for a 1.oz bottle (the smaller size available), a bottle of Flowerbomb, in the same size, will set you back $80.00! The latter is, however, also available in 0.68oz for $50.00, or in a 0.33 rollerball form for $29.00
So, which one is better?
It’s difficult to say. Fragrances are personal and subjective, and the only way to know for sure which one will suit you best is to try a sample of both. However, Flowerbomb will appeal more to women who are into sugary candy sweet concoctions, while La Vie Est Belle, while very sweet too, is more polished, understated and mature. Both have good staying power and sillage, although Flowerbomb, with its initial burst of sweetness, may give you a headache,
Have you tried Flowerbomb and La Vie Est Belle? Which one do you prefer?