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April 21 2014

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Reminiscing With…Lev Glazman

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lancome-climatBeauty Nostalgia is a weekly column on Beauty Counter in which we ask influencers, tastemakers, and some of our favorite industry experts to wax poetic on the sticks, salves, and sprays that helped shape who they are today.

The pro: Lev Glazman, co-founder of Fresh

The product: “Growing up in Russia, during the time of the Iron Curtain, there weren’t a lot of fragrances available. There was Red Moscow for men and Red Moscow for women—and both were absolutely horrible. The women’s version was like a fake Chanel No. 5, but instead of smelling like the original’s beautiful notes of rose and chypre, it smelled closer to Lysol. The men’s was pretty disgusting, too—it was a dark green color that stained your clothes when you sprayed it on. But everyone smelled alike at the time. The only way to obtain a different fragrance was on the black market, which is how French fragrances were smuggled into the country. They’re what women bought if they wanted to have a sense of individuality. I remember my mother taking me to this black market when I was about 6. It was very risky—if you were caught you would go to jail—and whatever was smuggled into the country was very expensive. I remember she bought Lancôme Climat and paid 100 rubles for it, which today would be like paying two or three thousand dollars. It was five months’ rent. Climat was a very popular scent in the sixties but never brought into the U.S. It was a rich and concentrated oriental with chypre notes. Today it would be considered old-fashioned. Still, anything that was brought into Russia and smelled different than Moscow Red was special. I remember my mom handing over the money for this fragrance and immediately taking the box and stepping aside to put it on. She was totally transformed. And that moment changed my life. I realized how powerful fragrance could be. I became infatuated with it…every time I smell [Climat], I’m taken back to this place of my childhood.”

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