Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills is the embodiment of all that was loud and tacky in the 1980s. Giorgio was meant to make an impression, and, boy, it did. Like a giant plastic flower arrangement in colors not available in nature. You just had to stand there and stare at it in disbelief.
Giorgio is a floral perfume, of course. It also smells like a milk and fruit smoothie that was left in room temperature for an hour and seeped into every corner of my nose and mind. On my skin there's a level of sourness that makes it even harder to stand, but I remember distinctly how on someone I knew in 1989 Giorgio was a giant inflated orchid. When researching Giorgio's notes for this review I discovered that, indeed, orchid is listed in the heart. Ten points to my 19 year old self, I guess, for identifying it so clearly.
Back in 1989, my Giorgio-wearing coworker was a minor beauty queen and catalog model. She was my age but only dated much older guys who had lots of money, sports cars and lavished her with expensive gifts. It was the first time I came face to face in real life with logos such as Gucci and Armani. Our male coworkers circled around her begging to be allowed to come closer and sniff her Giorgio. I sprayed my Paloma Picasso and cursed.
Sometime last year I came across a vintage bottle of Giorgio in extrait de parfum. It joined my collection for the sake of nostalgia, research and out of spite. Since then I've tested it numerous times only daring to dab a tiny drop on my wrist, each time it ends up sucking up all the air around me and taking over. I'm not modest in my perfume usage. I like to spray with abandon, marinate in juice and fill my living space with the sillage of everything from Miel de Bois to vintage Shalimar. But this... this... creature from Beverly Hills... how could people back then spray themselves silly with this monstrosity?
Notes: orange blossom, peach, apricot, bergamot, ylang-ylang, tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, rose, orchid, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, amber, cedar, oakmoss and musk.
Giorgio Beverly Hills has been downgraded from its original boutique exclusivity and hefty price tag of the early 80s to a cheap drugstore perfume. I'm not willing to risk my nose and sanity by testing the current incarnation, but if you're familiar with it, please chime in and tell us how it fares.
Photo of Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington from somewhere on the web. Giorgio Beverly Hills adverts (1989 and 1990) fro couleurparfum.com.