Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day: Vanderbilt Perfume

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl. Her parents were rich but that didn't matter to her... What did matter, of course, was what she couldn't have- namely, their love for her and more importantly, their love for each other. Instead Gloria grew up, as many children from broken unions of real wealth and import, a pawn in the lives of the adults around her, reared by a doting nanny or nurse. In this case, a nurse she nicknamed Dodo...

Of course she grew up and Gloria went on to do many marvelous things, including enjoying a career as a fashion designer and artist of some renown. But today, most folks know her best as the mother of the equally gorgeous and now inestimably more famous, Anderson Cooper. Not me, though; I came of age at the exact moment that Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans hit the scene. You say 'Gloria Vanderbilt' and all I see is a huge swan logo and a sassy lass strutting around in some tight-fitting denim.

And, of course, in this moment- my moment of revelry, the air is redolent of VANDERBILT PERFUME. I swoon, I float... I loose consciousness and come to in an embrace of scent. Released in 1982, Vanderbilt perfume was introduced to us arrayed in a hazy gauze of mauve, imposed over a regal and serene swan logo.

As I recall, the perfume was a smash success. It was everywhere in the 80s and I seldom left the house without a full size bottle of it sloshing around in my rainbow leather purse:

In many ways, I am a sentimentalist but I've grown beyond the bitter charms of Valentine's Day. Romance is a fickle thing and in my own experience, resents being nailed down to anything as trite as a day circled in red on the calender. But if I were celebrating V-Day, Vanderbilt is what I'd choose to wear. The sharp, melancholic yearning; the gentle gracious air of an ugly duckling transformed into a beauty; the misty powders of cherished memories; it's all there, in this one scent.

Vanderbilt is an overtly feminine scent composed by Sophia Grojsman in 1982. According to MsLeslie from BaseNotes:

Top notes: aldehyde, bergamot, green notes, lavender, orange blossom, pineapple
Middle notes: carnation, jasmine, orris, rose tuberose, ylang-ylang
Base notes: cinnamon, civet, musk, opoponax, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver

Some people find this scent difficult to wear but not me. Those who do have probably never smelled the vintage version and shame on them; it is not at all expensive or hard to find! As for the comments that it smells cheap, please... Ambroxan, cashmeran, galoxide, those are just a pile of cheap chemicals, too, but they go into some of the most costly and critically acclaimed fragrances made. If you find the genuine stuff, I promise you will not come away thinking or smelling of anything cheap.

I generally love sharp floral fragrances and the tension created when a dose of powder or other soothing agents are used to provide respite from the pleasurable pricks of flower and spice. Whether you celebrate with chocolates and champagne, feathers and leather, or powder and lace (or maybe a mash-up of all...), enjoy this Valentine's Day!

And if you're not too busy, why not let us know what you're wearing (vintage or not)...

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.


Vintage Lady said...

I remember having had a bottle of this perfume. It was very romantic, it could be from the time I used Anais Anais. I could not wear it now. But everything has its time and place, hasn't it. much love

Cheryl G. said...

I am wearing the very delish Champagne de Bois by Sonoma Scent Studio. And...I couldn't love it more!
I do plan on wearing Mariella Burani to bed however.

Amelia said...

Vintage Lady: Yes, you are right- it really isn't important how it smells, or even if it's a good scent; it's all about memories and the time it brings me back to. It's hard not to like something that makes you smile so much. XOXO:)

Amelia said...

Cheryl: Champagne de Bois sounds perfect for Valentine's day... And Mariella Burani: Yum! Very stylish choices;)XOXO