Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gucci Eau de Parfum (2002) & V'E Versace (1989) - Two Forgotten Gems


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.


10 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for remembering V'E by Versace. I love Italian perfume and I owned 2 bottles back then. I still have them at my mother's place but unfortunately they're empty. Your description is absolutely accurate - I'm not trained to recognize the notes, but I remember it being rather green and cool, the ylang-ylang was soooo prominent. And yes, there were the woody notes which gave a warmth to the composition. And now that I know what aldehydic means I would definitely say it's a good example of it. An adorable scent! Oh how I wish I had some drops left...

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    1. I also have a major thing for Italian perfume (also Italian fashion and Italian food...).
      Your best bet other than eBay are yard sales and such. I was delighted to find my bottles this way.

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    2. Gaia, I'm so jealous when I hear the words "yard sales". It's a concept I've learned abut when I started reading perfume blogs. I live in a European Mediterranean country and people around here are not familiar with yard sales. Unfortunately. I know that Ebay is THE source, but a) I've spent my perfume budget for 2015 b) I should be layering at least 3 perfumes to be able to spend everything I've hoarded so far...I'm sure you know what I mean ;-)

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    3. I understand. I grew up in Israel where to this day there are no estate or yard sales. People just chuck everything out. It's really awful.

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  2. It's sort of incredible to realize there was actually a time when I would be really excited about a perfume release from a designer I liked. Sad. But love both of these and actually still have a bottle of each of them, but I think I'm running very low on the Gucci and should get a back up.
    Anna

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    Replies
    1. Anna, I dread getting low on my discontinued gems. It always sends me into a frantic and expensive eBay search.

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  3. Thanks for bringing me back memories of Gucci Eau de Parfum. I bought it when it was launched, and used and used, even if it was very different for the stuff I love most. I remember that in the humid summer of Mediterraean Spain this scent was marvelous.

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    Replies
    1. I can imagine! Serge Lutens has a similar effect and I couldn't get enough of it last year when I was in Italy.

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  4. I agree about not calling a scent from 2002 vintage, then again, with all the reformulations..

    I've not tried this but as a long time lover of Gucci scents, my first love was Gucci III, then L' Arte di Gucci, in both edt and edp, I'm sure I'll love this one. A lot.
    I bet this harkens back to Jill Sander No 4, powdery, with spices and resins. I managed to find a bottle for under $60 US, I just may pull the trigger

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    Replies
    1. Liz, I also love the older Gucci perfumes. No. 1, III, and I'd sell my soul for L'Arte in every concentration. If we can only turn back back time and go shopping...

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