According to Wikipedia, Menley & James Laboratories was the cosmetics subsidiary of SmithKline & French-- the wonderful folks who brought us Thorazine, Dexedrine, and Contac Cold & Flu tablets. High-schoolers of the 1970s adopted the latter as their sixth period study hall pick-me-up of choice. But when meth-making came into vogue, SmithKline was forced to swap out Contac's pseudoephedrine for something a little less... hackable.
Thorazine may have made it into at least two Ramones songs, but history will remember Menley & James for something equally addictive: Love's Baby Soft, the ubiquitious scent of female adolescence. Along with Love's Fresh Lemon and other drugstore delights, Baby Soft came packaged in a retrofabulous glass bottle that resembled a dome-top roll-on deodorant, inviting lavish application. With super-affordable pricing to boot, the entire line was designed to appeal to teenaged girls eager to give their mothers' girdle-bound sensibilities the slip.
This is the way Love is, the ads proclaimed. Innocence is sexier than you think. And how!
But there's always room in a girl's arsenal for a good, "grown-up" leather chypre-- and so debuted Love's Khaki Cologne, a fragrance less successful but more sophisticated than either of its pretty sisters. While Baby Soft suited high-rise jeans and Candies platform clogs and Fresh Lemon complemented tennis whites and beach bikinis, a young lady looking to make an evening date a hit could easily pair Khaki with a retro wrap dress and her older sister's ankle-strap disco heels. That's the way (uh huh, uh huh) I LIKE it!
I must admit I'm pleasantly surprised by the smartness of Love's Khaki, which I'm sure dovetailed quite nicely with the vintage boom of the early 1970's. It starts off like My Sin Junior and ends somewhere in Rive Gauche territory-- and since I'm currently working on reviews of both of those classics, I believe I'm in the right neighborhood. There's some galbanum in here to instill Second-Wave-feminist backbone, and a dash of aldehydes to keep things perky and bright. And best of all there's a wonderfully dry and peppery rose which lasts and lasts like a sweet sixteen dream.
I never wore any Love's products during my high school days -- by that time they'd been replaced by Lauren, Poison, and LouLou -- but had I known about Khaki, I would have adopted it without hesitation. Had the powers of foresight and judicious hoarding been mine, I'd have spent a pretty percentage of my babysitting wages laying in a surplus that I might still be enjoying today Ah, misspent youth!
Scent Elements: Rose, leather, galbanum, oakmoss, vetiver, incense, sandalwood, aldehydes