The two heavy perfume bottles sitting side by side inside a drawer of my perfumes-with-no-box antique dresser have little in common, except for their Italian labels and being discontinued. But for some reason I feel that they belong together. They serve as a reminder of the time that perfumes launched under fashion designer labels were not just spectacular, but also represented the brands faithfully.
V'E from Versace was released at the tail-end of the 1980s, but it doesn't scream shoulder pads nor is it a harbinger of the 90s. If I were pressed to define it I'd go with a "creamy woody floral", but this elegant fragrance is more than this. Heavy on the ylang-ylang, it brings to mind the signature yellow gold of Versace. But it does so under a canopy of green aldehydic florals that are surprisingly classic and classy. Hyacinth and daffodils keep the perfume cool and almost aloof, like Tatjana Patitz's profile in the Versace 1989-1990 ad campaign. The progression from the rich floral bouquet to a very luscious sandalwood is smoothed by the ylang that adds its typical fruity facet. While it sounds like a simplified (modernized?) Chanel No.5, I think V'E is actually somewhere between the awesomely weird Kenzo King Kong and the pulled-together Patou Sira des Indes.
V'E is also quite rich and condensed. It goes a little wild in hot weather and becomes more structured and formal when it's cold outside. I also smell more rose and jasmine (and ylang. Always ylang) on a windy fall day. The connection to the original Gianni Versace perfume from 1982 is more obvious on such days. Was it a big success? I can't remember. Nor can I point to the exact moment it disappeared from the shelves. I was actually surprised when I realized that it was no longer around and that my bottle (an estate sale find) is somewhat of a rarity.
Gucci Eau de Parfum from 2002 is an odd one (not to be confused with any and all the other Gucci EdPs. It's hard to keep them straight, so your best bet is to memorize the bottle shapes). I refuse to refer to anything from the 2000s as "vintage", but this gem is already discontinued and not as easy to find as it used to be. In the decade that saw the meteoric emergence of niche and indie perfume companies as well as the shocking decline of the big brands, Gucci EdP is a rarity. It's an interesting and sophisticated perfume with a sexy twist. Of course, this perfume was released during the reign of Tom Ford, so it actually makes sense.
Gucci Eau de Parfum is a (very) spicy oriental. The caraway seed note dominates a big part of the fragrance. It's roasted and toasted, almost to the point of cumin-ness. The dirty vibe is further enhanced by a naughty and somewhat Lutensian orange blossom (I think that Tania Sanchez called it "sleazy"), but quickly subdued by a sweet powdery iris-heliotrope combination that make it more perfumy and quite cuddly. You won't be far off if you think of a very low-cut yet still high quality and expensive cashmere sweater. The fragrance becomes woody with a touch of sweet smoky incense that's even more delightful than all that preceded it. Gucci EdP was abandoned and forgotten in the mess of multiple flankers and ads featuring Blake Lively. But it's worth the effort of locating a bottle, because it's good to remember Gucci of that era.