How do you pay tribute to a legend? In the case of a fragrance like Guerlain’s Habit Rouge, the question also becomes how one celebrates a masterpiece without simply creating something that hews so closely to the original as to feel dated and shallow. It’s a difficult task, one which Thierry Wasser resolved in the case of Habit Rouge Dress Code by cleverly opting to create a completely separate fragrance that gives only the faintest nod to parts of the original, while also including modern elements consistent with the current Guerlain aesthetic.
The result is a bit of a mixed bag, in my opinion. There are parts of Habit Rouge Dress Code that are very appealing, especially from a distance, and other parts that I’m not so fond of, particularly up close. That said, I think this is one of the better Guerlain releases in recent years, maybe even the best as compared to the last few, and it will be popular on its own merits, irrespective of the original. It also has the virtue of feeling significantly more unisex and less overtly masculine than Habit Rouge, so I think it may appeal to women as well.