13 febbraio 2013

Italian Perfumery (3/4)

Among the successful Italian brands of the 80'sI remember Nino Cerruti, a woody, warm and welcoming man's scent that would be a hit even now, then Armani Pour Homme (1984) all cold citrus and aromatic notes encased in a background of oakmoss, an excellent, fresher and more natural alternative to Eau Sauvage (yes, I prefer this one): give it a try you won't regret. If you have a taste for classic lords dressed in tweeds, keep in mind Trussardi for Man (1983), an aromatic, green, "country scent" that becomes spicy and leathery as the hours pass by.
Among those “for her” I love Paillettes (Enrico Coveri, 1982), one of the first fruity floral: a sparkling opening of citrus and pink pepper flirts with freesia, orchid (?), iris, and sandalwood, a combination really suggesting colourful, sparkling sequins, euphoric as a glass of champagne, full of the same joy and humor this unlucky stylist (died in 1990 at 38) used to infuse his clothes with.
La Perla (1987) was a classic chypre with lemon and bergamot leading a handful of cold spices (coriander, cardamom), a classic floral accord (rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, iris, honey), patchouli, vetiver, benzoin and sandalwood. A “fur” fragrance, with a projection and a persistence really incomparable.
Byblos (1990) in the famous round blue glass bottle: a decidedly modern fruity floral, less balanced and therefore more interesting than a lot of stuff running in the shops today, a splash of berries with a floral heart (mimosa, lily, lily-of-the-valley, iris, heliotrope).
And I wish to remember also the Krizia group: K, Krazy, Teatro alla Scala were fragrances wich smelled so distintively “Italian”... so as to be out of fashion now. Unfortunately, because Italian taste in perfume allowed the creation of fragrances with a soul, and smelling again the best from 80's and 90's it's impossible not to notice it. In fact, the risk is nostalgia, thinking about how perfect La Perla or Theorema were, especially comparing them to what perfumery offers today. Italian brands didn't only know how to have their perfumes composed, but they also knew how to treat them: they seemed to consider scents as an extension of their couture: it is impressive how much correspondence there was between a fashion brand and the scent it launched on the market! Sniff, and you'll notice immediately. Depending on the brand that asked for it, the perfume could be elegant and golden as a premiere at the Teatro Regio in Parma, or understated as a white linen shirt, but always with a recognizably Italian touch, referring directly to the couture of the brand. 
If I had to define this Italian taste in perfumes, I would define it as a tactile characteristic. Italian fragrances share qualities of presence, thickness, texture, offering sensations similar to those of a dress or a coat (perhaps the fact that they were realized for Italian couturiers highlighted this feature). They enveloped the wearer with an exuberant, outgoing personality. If they were women, they would have wide hips and loud laughs, be generous but woe to not take them seriously! They would show the sumptuousness of Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci, or would be angular and interesting as Fiorella Mannoia or Sabrina Impacciatore. The "white musk/Fresh & Clean" fashion could never be born in Italy, we are perpetually exposed to the naked flesh by Michelangelo and Raphael velvety colors ... we're addicted to shades, layers, aspects; the infinitely adjustable hiding-or-revealing chiaroscuro marks the individuality of each of us. And so was Italian perfumery: a work around facets of human personality.

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