No matter how effectively a New Yorker has hardened their heart against Los Angeles, there’s one of its features that we can’t help being jealous of: its perpetually sunshine-y weather. This point was emphasized when I took a trip to the west coast in April — I left 30-degree temperatures in New York City to step off the plane and immediately be smacked in the face with intense heat and blue skies. It felt like I had just arrived in heaven.
I was in town to check out Louis Vuitton’s City of Stars fragrance, the newest addition to the brand’s LA-inspired perfume collection. I basically spent my entire 72-hour visit in a star-crossed daze: poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel, walking along the boardwalk in Venice Beach, bumping elbows with celebrities on the roof of the Academy Museum, and hiking Runyon Canyon, all while enjoying the 90-degree heat that was defrosting my winter-ravaged self. As I gazed out the windows of my Uber along Wilshire Boulevard at the towering palm trees, I asked myself what many other New Yorkers ponder when visiting LA: Why do I live on the east coast when I could be here?
That exact feeling is what Master Perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud sought to bottle up in fragrance form. After spritzing City of Stars onto myself for almost a month, I’d have to say he was successful. Keep reading for my honest review of the unique perfume.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.
- Price: $280 for 100ml
- Best for: Those who love citrusy perfumes
- Notes: Blood orange, lemon, red mandarin, bergamot, lime, tiare flower, sandalwood
- ur rating: 4.8/5
- What we like: Its fresh unisex scent combo
- What we don’t like: The cost is on the price side
The Louis Vuitton City Of Stars Fragrance
City of Stars is the fourth LA-inspired fragrance by Louis Vuitton, and joins California Dream, On The Beachand Afternoon Swim — each of which represents a different time of day in the city. With City of Stars, Belletrud specifically wanted to capture LA at dusk: when, perhaps, you’ve just finished washing off the beach and you’re getting ready for an evening event. It’s sensual, as Belletrud describes. But the scent is also meant to symbolize the romantic idea behind the city itself. “Los Angeles is a city of performance. People move here from all over the world to reinvent themselves and become the person they want to be,” says Alex Israel, an artist who collaborated with Belletrud on the fragrance. “I hope this fragrance translates this idea of Los Angeles at night as a place of performance and creativity.”
So what, exactly, does a vibrant and sensual LA night smell like? The overall theme Belletrud went for is freshness — so the perfume is a light but intoxicating combo of citrus and florals with added warmth by way of sandalwood.
To further embody the city at dusk, the packaging features an ombre sky of vibrant purples, pinks, and oranges above Mulholland Drive, complete with palm tree shadows and searchlights. There are no stars in the sky, though — and this is something Israel did on purpose, as he believes the people of LA are the true stars of the city. The perfume itself is housed in a gorgeous pink to purple ombre bottle that matches the box.
The heart of this fragrance is tiare flower, a sweet and tropical floral that works to draw you in. Then there’s the quintet of citrus notes: bergamot, lemon, blood orange, and mandarin, all of which bring a fruitier vibe that’s part sugary, part tart. Lime extract adds a touch of “sparkle,” according to Belletrud. But if you’re not so into citrus or flowery perfumes, there’s more to the scent that might appeal to you: Serving as a contrast to the fresh notes are sandalwood oil and musktwo moody choices meant to ground the fragrance and infuse it with warmth and sensuality.
My go-to fragrances all contain either musk or amber, so I didn’t expect to really like City of Stars — but my first whiff opened my olfactory system up to a whole other world. The first part that hit me was the blood orange, an intense citrus that, IMO, captures the zest and energy of LA. I think it was the tiare, though, that won me over. It’s a not-overly-sweet, creamy floral essence that — to me — evokes old Hollywood glam.
As the perfume absorbed into my skin, I picked up on the sandalwood oil and instantly felt sexier. Though I’m obsessed with the enigmatic allure of musk, my all-time fave smell, City of Stars’ enticing blend swirled together to create a fragrance I couldn’t stop sniffing. I was enchanted and couldn’t wait to spritz it onto my pillow that night.
Unlike many perfumes, this one doesn’t fade or leave you wanting more. I love how I’ll catch a whiff of its fresh blood orange or effervescent lime throughout the day, momentarily transporting me back to Beverly Hills despite being in the middle of NYC. Overall, I’d describe the scent as softly floral, sophisticated, romantic, and warm — a combo I’d say makes for a stunning fragrance.
My answer to this is a definite yes. If it’s the price tag that makes you question adding it to your cart, remember that perfumes in general tend to fall on the more expensive end of the beauty product spectrum. The City of Stars is worth buying because it lingers, sure, but it’s also a unique concoction that’s sure to turn the heads of all who get to smell it as you walk by.
Louis Vuitton’s City of Stars perfectly embodies a beachy sunset in LA, and it does so without being overly floral or too citrus-y. Whether you’re a fan of watching the sun go down over the ocean or you dream of moving to the west coast one day, I’d highly recommend snagging for yourself. Though I’m not (yet) convinced I need to move to the west coast, wearing this perfume allows me to channel that driving-through-LA-with-the-rooftop-down-at-dusk feeling regardless of where I am.