Pedicure time! And you know that means a hefty dose of magazines. Hit the jackpot today reading Marie-Claire (not nearly as good as the original French magazine, but fine for my purposes) where I learned about Ralph Lauren’s new fragrance, Notorious.
Evocative, sexy, brooding – just the right kind of name for a perfume. And then, while researching Notorious, I found he’s also got one out called Pure Turquoise, which, IMHO is pure genius. But then I learned more.
Here’s the deal. I don’t for a moment begrudge Mr. Lifshitz’s having changed his surname. I think “Lauren” balances out Ralph nicely, and the full name has obviously acquired tremendous cachet. Certainly naming a perfume “Lauren” was a no-brainer. But “Ralph” alone? Sorry, not the equivalent of “Lauren.” This is one case where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’m at a loss to understand how a name that is slang for “vomit” can form the anchor of a line of perfume marks. Yes, there’s not only Ralph, Ralph Hot and Ralph Wild, there’s also Ralph Rocks.
I’m all over vanity marks in the perfume biz – I see nothing wrong, for example, with Michael Kors naming his fragrance line Michael. (A scent l can actually wear without succumbing to migraine, in fact.) But that’s Michael, and not Ralph. My guess here is that the Ralph Lauren brand has such cachet and draw for the young adult market that the slang meaning is irrelevant to the purchasing decision. I can just envision that unfortunate conversation though:
A: What’s that perfume you’re wearing?
A: That makes sense.
A: Because that’s what it makes me want to do.
UPDATE: In discussing this post with my brother-in-law Paul, aka the Funniest Uncle on the Planet, we came to the horrifying realization that Ralph Rocks would be a great name for a brand of petrified vomit . . . that is, if such product existed.
Fun fact: A family friend almost married the then-Mr. Lifshitz. Her parents discouraged her, however, as he was in the shmatte business and they thought he wouldn’t amount to anything. Oh well.