I refuse to call a perfume bottle from 2000 "vintage". No way, no how. Yet, in fragonerd jargon, a perfume in its original formula that has since been altered and tweaked is often labeled "vintage" simply to make it clear that one is talking about the real thing. In any case, this review is based on my old bottle of Givenchy Hot Couture in EDP concentration from the year it was released.
In her review on NST, Jessica identifies Givenchy Hot Couture as a perfume that feels more like a 1980s leftover than a modern perfume looking back on the house of Givenchy and its mid-century elegance. I agree. The opening and much of Hot Couture's development is one shoulder pad away from a big flashy 80s extravaganza. It's a musky fruity perfume with a big warm ambery base, and considering my intense dislike of L'Artisan's Mure et Musc, I was not supposed to enjoy, let alone wear, Givenchy's raspberry mousse cake.
But I do.
There are several moments in Givenchy Hot Couture that catch and keep my attention. The pairing of raspberry and pepper keeps it from going all the way into soft-serve territory and has a little more grownup appeal. It's still sweet and cute and could have gone horribly wrong had Alberto Morillas and Jacques Cavallier chose to go with what later became Givenchy's house rose note (Very Irresistible on all its satanic spawns). The restraint shown in not making Hot Couture a fruity-floral cleared the way to a funky honeyed tobacco core; that's the reason I wear this perfume.
There's nothing subtle about Givenchy's Hot Couture. It also sufferers from a lack of editing: it's a little all over the place with references to the house's 1950s Audrey Hepburn Heritage (without backing it up in the actual juice), the 1980s aggressiveness, the art deco design of the original bottle and the modern gourmand tendencies. It was meant to attract yummy-lovers and be as sexy as a nice girl dares to be. The fragrance is an easy compliment-getter, something to wear (with caution and restraint) on a first or second date, especially if one wants to smell approachable.
Sometimes girls really just want to have fun.
Notes: orange, bergamot, raspberry, magnolia, vetiver, peppercorn, amber, musk, sandalwood.
The current version of Givenchy Hot Couture is available from Sephora, $88, 3.4oz EDT.
Top photo: Charlotte Rampling in a silk organza ruffled dress by Givenchy, photo by David Bailey, Vogue UK, 1972.
Givenchy Hot Couture perfume ad from an online auction.