It’s a wonder that Givenchy didn’t enter this market sooner. Whereas we’ve had Chanel’s Les Exclusifs and Dior’s Collection Privee for some time, not to mention the beautiful superior exclusive offers from Guerlain such as the show-stoppingly gorgeous No. 68, Givenchy lagged behind in its niche and exclusive or as they term it, couture offer. Strange from a fashion house where designer Riccardo Tisci has wowed fashion press and couture clients non stop for the last 10 years with his blend of heritage Givenchy techniques meets futuristic vision RTW and couture that has the world’s elite clamouring for more (even if the now Mrs K West does her best to thwart its uber coolness by choosing a Tisci wedding gown for her recent nuptials. Note to Kimmy, boobs way too big and false for plunging, sleek, beautiful Tisci flowing lines).
But back to the perfumes. Inspired by the essence and heritage of its Haute Couture lines, Givenchy have released seven new fragrances entitled, L’Atelier de Givenchy. The perfume line up evokes the feel of the House’s sumptuous fabrics and character that appeals to both men and women. The names of the perfumes combine the primary elements used to create the scents and reference their high fashion origins. Each fragrance is accompanied by a couture sketch.
The collection includes: Néroli Originel, the fragrance inspired by a dress worn by Hubert de Givenchy’s muse Audrey Hepburn; Cuir Blanc, which combines the notes of white pepper, white musk and leather and reflects the historic connection between perfumery and glove-making; Bois Martial – inspired by Givenchy’s geometric cuts and androgynous looks, the fragrance includes notes of cedar wood, pineapple sage and coconut wood, an element rarely used in perfumery; fresh and delicate Chypre Caresse; woody floral Ylang Austral; strong and mysterious Oud Flamboyant and passionate Ambre Tigré.
From the off these are a class act. The pure white, rough-hewn box, the pared-back typeface, the heavy glass cubist square-lines of the bottle topped by a glossy black cap embossed with the Givenchy logo and the atelier-like single, coloured thread (to reflect the olfactory concoction enclosed) that is wrapped around the bottle’s neck, these are all signs of superiority. And Givenchy state that the collection will be added to over time, making way for further releases inspired by vintage and modern gowns.
Néroli Originel is the ultimiate swathe of billowing ivory taffeta (as worn by Hepburn). Strapless, floaty and as elegant and original as the actress herself, the sketch gives rise to imagination of Cannes red-carpet film premieres of old, where grace was the prime persona and gowns where topped with sparkling diamonds care of Cartier, Mappin & Webb and Harry Winston. The scent has a hint of green sharpness that fades to a huge powdery husk of the most divine iris that only serves to highlight the neroli’s sweetness and radiant light. The rustle of skirts is almost heard in the scent’s curves and rustles as fine fabric and fragrance collide in the mind’s eye. Satiny soft vanilla wraps around the contours of the composition, leaving a luxurious luxe trace on skin.
The whiteness and downy softness of Néroli Originel leaves one with more than a hint of feel good factor. This is radiant perfume for the couture maven. The affordable version. Well, nearly.
L’Atelier Néroli and the other Givenchy Atelier Fragrances are available exclusively at Harrods price £140 for 100ml