ERL sunscreen: the $ 115 cologne that smells like sunscreen is worth every penny
A good cologne or a good perfume promises a bottled dream, but the scents that have captured the hearts and wallets of cool guys in recent years have been less fantastic than careerists. You know: you’ve got your cologne for the post-Coachella ayahuasca retreat (Byredo Mojave Desert). One for the afternoon matcha break at Nolita (Under the lemon trees of Maison Margiela). And the unofficial scent of coworking spaces reserved for members (Le Labo Santal 33).
In this scent landscape with no day off sweeps ERL’s sunscreen, a $ 115 bottle of eau de toilette that smells like, yes, sunscreen. Spray a bit on your wrist and cute bikini-lined Coppertone flashes before your eyes, along with pools, teen soap operas and maybe those opening chords from Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin”. ERL, the brainchild of creative director Eli Russell Linnetz, is easily one of the most evocative brands to emerge in recent fashion memory, both vague and entirely on the nose: its wispy soccer jerseys and Multi-colored down jackets serve as a portal to the lost world of Abercrombie-clad youth, when sex sold, fashion was innocent fun, and the mall was the village chapel. In other words: the clothes are almost like a perfume themselves. So why not add a scent to top it off?
Much like Linnetz’s clothes, her tiny bottle of sunscreen instantly evokes the Americana of the late ’90s and early 2000s, a pre-9/11 dream landscape of overheated blacktops and boy groups, and sunset wallpaper in mall nail salons, a time when we millennials had it’s good. It’s very innocent, arriving in a small, transparent pool float or retro styrofoam box. (By the way, the time he remembers is when a summer song was a graduation speech about the benefits of sunscreen, set to music by director Baz Luhrmann. “Enjoy the power and of the beauty of your youth! … Believe me, in 20 years you will remember yourself and you will remember in ways that you cannot grasp now how much the possibilities were open to you and how fabulous you looked. ”)
In fashion, image is everything, and therefore perfume usually takes a back seat. But smells can be even more graphic, more telling, than images, which is the thesis of a book that arrived (like ERL’S Sunscreen), at the end of July, by historian Karl Shlögel. The scent of empires traces the twin stories of two of the defining scents of the 20th century: Red Moscow and Chanel No. 5. Both derived from related fragrances created at the turn of the 20th century in Tsarist Russia to celebrate the 500th birthday of Catherine the Great, and yet a ( Red Moscow) ended up embodying the thwarted Soviet promise, while the other (Chanel # 5) embodies the ruthless triumph of capitalism. The other thesis of Schlogel’s book is that perfume is inextricably linked to the aura of power – that perfumes evoke “the violence and seductions of their time”.
ERL sunscreen squints at that statement like a surfer staring at the sun and says, “Huh.” Sunscreen is all about doing nothing other than reapplying that cologne to your body – the wrapper floats, so you can take it into the pool and keep spraying. This is for constant consumption, and no exit. Unlike the wrestler scents mentioned above, it celebrates the synthetic world: chlorine, sunscreen chemistry, the Californian dream. “Go west!” he says, full of naive possibility. Its slightly cloying tan oil scent – top notes of solar accord and base notes of coconut – is trash and horny. It doesn’t work to live or live to work. Instead, he has a summer job mixing frozen yogurt while The Offspring is playing.
Would it be an exaggeration to say that sunscreen is the smell of the American dream, a little chemical, totally fake, more expensive than you think, and yet somehow innocent? Or maybe it’s just an awesome scent that smells like … sunscreen. Don’t think about it too much, man!
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