Monday, February 04, 2008

Giorgio Beverly Hills

How could Giorgio be considered a classic? It's so unique, it's instantly recognizable. It's a song with a hook called gardenia and it still sells. I was reading Michael Edwards' Perfume Legends the other day and learned why the French do not like the way American perfumes are made so much stronger than they would normally make perfume, and the reason for this is astounding--it's because the French like to refresh their scents through the day while Americans like to spritz it on in the morning and be done with it! We and our active lifestyles! I can see how this becomes a huge problem if Americans then go on to overspritz these potent formulas that could be considered parfum strength in France! That might explain Obsession, Eternity, White Diamonds, and the French comebacks with Opium, Poison, Tresor, etc. The most unfortunate thing about Poison is that people were confused by the term Esprit de Parfum, which really is so potent it's parfum strength, meaning literally one drop sufficed. Giorgio EDT also could have been sold as pure parfum, and never offered as a spray. Why did they do this with such strong perfumes? Clinique Aromatics Elixir is another one that came as a spray, and it was one concentration: pure perfume! Molinard Habanita parfum now comes in a 3.3 fl. oz. atomizer spray, too, so beware.

Today, Giorgio is owned and produced by the prestigious American fragrance company, Elizabeth Arden. Giorgio didn't get a FiFi in its year which I think is unbelievable considering how popular it was. Giorgio was an independent creation. Even more specifically, you could say it came from a woman named Gale Hayman who grew up where I grew up in Queens, NY, and her then-husband, Fred Hayman, a Swiss-born maitre d' who knew how to run parties. They were brilliant New Yorkers and knew exactly the kind of fragrance Americans would love, because let's face it--we're here, not overseas, so we have more of a clue. The sunny So Cal vibe was the way to go. They also came up with the ingenious idea of putting paper sample strips in magazines. One sniff and people were hooked--the rest is history. Anyway, in 1984, it was given a "Special Recognition Award" to make up for the lack of a FiFi.

Have you ever been made fun of for liking Giorgio? I've come across a review on a makeup board that all Manhattanites with posh addresses scorned it. I, the "bridge and tunnel toxin" from the boroughs of New York City, had a most un-gauche friend in Manhattan (a teenager at the time) whose signature perfume was Giorgio in the late '80s, and she was fabulous wearing it (discreetly). If you're a lover of Giorgio, don't be discouraged. It's a gorgeous white floral leaning on the green spectrum like Estee Lauder Beautiful or Perry Ellis. It's basically a tuberose-gardenia scent, like the Juicy Couture of the '80s but bigger. I boldly wear my favorites, whether it be a "synthetic" new launch or a vintage "old lady" scent. In this case, it's the biggest, most outspoken floral that ever was. Should we put people down for their lack of taste in music, especially non-musicians who have no clue how to even judge a piece of music based on musicianship in the first place? Does it matter if people like it and it makes them feel good to hear it?

I believe Giorgio is a true classic and a great perfume--granted, it's not a high end art fragrance I'd put alongside Serge Lutens, but there's a reason it sold so well and still does--it smells good to people who generally go for white florals (tuberose, jasmine, gardenia), and that's a pretty large majority. It's an excellent fragrance provided you don't spray with abandon! Try dabbing one drop like I did with Christian Dior Poison perfume. Giorgio is a bright floral with a happy, candylike overtone. It's a heady, jubilant scent with a full, absolutely free and dynamic, emotive, no holds barred floral heart. It may take a strong, self-assured, sexy attitude to wear it (and a judicious one to not overdo it) and if you're shy, Giorgio is not. Giorgio is still here kicking butt, and it's the quintessential all-American classic, one of the bestselling perfumes of all time, so if you love it, wear it. I know tons of people who still wear it--it's still Giorgio or Happy, Beautiful, Angel or No.5 about 90% of the time I recognize a scent. Speaking of the megapopular Thierry Mugler Angel, I'd be hardpressed to say it's any less potent than Giorgio.

From Index P: Perfumes and Colognes:
"Which of these popular perfumes was designed to celebrate the lifestyle of California and is considered to be an all-american perfume? Giorgio. Although the wrong answers might seem more modern and all-american, Giorgio was the biggest American success in perfumery, and epitomises the American style of sheer perfumes." (i.e. perfumes without head-heart-bottom note definitions)

(I think they meant linear, not sheer, but I could be mistaken.)

Notes on
Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills (1982 Floral)
A floral feminine fragrance with no less than 450 ingredients. Contains camomile, gardenia, honey, musk, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, tuberose and vetiver notes.