The best of the late 1970s-early 1980s, 7e Sense and Gianni Versace offer a glimpse into a subversive, glamorous and elegant world...a world that is a mix of Francoise Sagan and Anais Nin, nonchalant and intense, lightheartedly promiscuous and heartbreakingly erotic.
Sonya Rykiel's 1979 creation, 7e Sense is a play of sparkle and darkness, of overripe sweetness and sharp spiciness. The lighter side of 7e Sense is composed of bubbly aldehydes, of tingly piquancy of coriander and carnation, of the seeming innocence of jasmine and narcissus. The dark side is represented by sinfully luscious prunes (the note I adore in perfume), peach and honey, by the languid ylang and the indolent rose. The two lines run through the composition, sometimes parallel, sometimes intertwining, with the second one eventually taking over and ultimately finding its closure in a lush, animalic, fantastically sexy, nocturnal base of amber, musk, civet, patchouli and castoreum. Brooding and smoldering under its deceptively calm surface, 7e Sense is one of the most sensual fragrances I have encountered.
Gianni Versace's original scent, dating to 1982, has less of the heavy-lidded tragic feel of 7e Sense and all of its sweet sexiness. Brightly aldehydic and fresh in the top notes, Gianni Versace quickly morphs into the most sophisticated candy of a scent, with honeyed flowers, in particular, the creamy, almost fruity smelling tuberose and gardenia, lending it the feel of leisurely playfulness. In the drydown, the sweet leitmotif is carried on by myrrh and amber. The near-childishness is balanced there by oh so grown up leather and oakmoss. Blithe and seductive, a perfect scent to wear when re-reading Un Certain Sourire.
Both can be found on ebay. Many thanks to L for allowing me to get to know these two obscure gems!
Images, Charlotte Rampling at the Hotel Nord Pinus II and Charlotte Rampling as Venus in Furs, by Helmut Newton, are from style.com.