Can I just say how much I hate referring to perfumes from the 1980s as "vintage"? With this out of the way, we can move on and talk about the 1982 original Versace feminine perfume, originally named Gianni Versace (not to be confused with Versace Woman, Versace, Versace Homme and who knows what else). It's one of those perfumes you smell and know with certainty they don't make them like this nowadays. Well, of course they don't- Gianni Versace is a full-bodied floral chypre, loaded with oakmoss. Good luck finding anything that smells even remotely that wicked.
The opening of Gianni is decidedly green and aldehydic. It's what some would call "dated" and others would proclaim "classic". I think it's charming but try to avoid the husband's company for the first five to ten minutes, just in case. Later it becomes full-on floral, almost extravagantly so, and you can smell and see each and every flower in the blend. Almost touch it really, as though it was an elaborate floral carving on your wall. No, this Versace perfume is definitely not for the meek. It enters the room like a diva, commanding attention and giving everyone else the stinkeye because they cannot possibly measure up to her standards.
Eventually things calm down a little. A wood-patchouli-oakmoss with a touch of leather. It's not any less femme fatale and still wears the eye shadow of the 80s, but you can feel and see the bone structure of this perfume. It's not quite patrician, but it has its fine moments and is a delight to wear.
Notes (from fragrantica.com):
Top notes are aldehydes, spices, fruity notes and bergamot; middle notes are carnation, tuberose, gardenia, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and narcissus; base notes are benzoin, leather, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, oakmoss, incense and myrrh.
Like just about any big perfume from that era (and the designer himself), Gianni Versace has been among the dead for years now. Lovers of chypres and 1980s perfume who happen upon a forgotten battle would do well to scoop it up as it's come harder to find.
1982 and 1985 Gianni Versace perfume ads via couleurparfum.com
Debbie Harry for Italian Bazaar by Patrick Demarchelier, 1980
Versace fashion ad photographed by Richard Avedon, 1987