Sleek Italian design: Trussardi by Trussardi
It's funny how styles in perfume change over the decades – there was a time when women - adult women and teenagers alike, believe it or not - wore fragrances that were not hyper-sweet and “feminine” like so many mainstream offerings of today. Sometimes I think if I see one more Pink Boopsie Bling Princess Sugar Cookie Caramel Sparkle Dream thing launched I will just run screaming into the night, clutching bottles of Knize Ten and Lonestar Memories to my chest. Fortunately there are alternatives for women who don't want to smell like a candy store, and not all of them are to be found in niche lines. Let's revisit an old friend from more than thirty years ago, Trussardi by Trussardi, the first fragrance from the eponymous Italian leather goods and luxury fashion house.
Trussardi is a fragrance for women, but if it were launched today instead of in the Eighties, no one would blink an eye if it were designated as a masculine. It has the classic Italian character of good bones, clean modern construction and very little sweetness. Of course it is a leather chypre, being the flagship scent of the company, and it lands right in the center of the spectrum of this genre. It is not rough and unisex/butch like Knize Ten (which I love) nor is it as refined and obviously feminine as Bottega Veneta (which I also adore). It opens with a classic chypre blast of moss and “ladies handbag” which always reassures me that I am in the presence of the real thing. In this case, the handbag aroma hangs around, since this is indeed a leather scent. It is very green up top, featuring aldehydes, styrax and galbanum, with the spicy kick of dry coriander. The florals in the heart are of the sharp, fresh spring variety including geranium and hyacinth as well as a touch of jasmine and tuberose, and the leathery base is emphasized by the punch of patchouli and cedar. I find the leather in this fragrance, dry and spare, to be quite close to that of Cacharel's Anaȉs Anaȉs, which was launched a few years before it; that perfume had a “stealth” leather note that was hidden by the heady aldehydes and white lily until it gradually became apparent in the drydown. It's more upfront in Trussardi so you know right away what you are getting. Its aquiline elegance is an easy fit for casual wear, business or special occasions.
I have to assume that Trussardi has been affected by the wave of EU-mandated reformulations, but my mini of recent vintage still smells fantastic. It has always been a sleeper scent, and I would encourage anyone who loves chypres to go find some. You might even get lucky and find a vintage bottle. It's available for a fraction of niche and luxury line prices at online discounters; you can find a 100 ml bottle of eau de toilette for well under $50.00 USD. Get it while you can, and stock up if you love it; classics never go out of style.
Image credit: The 2011 special edition BMW-Trussardi collaboration Series 5 Gran Turismo Trussardi in Heraldic Brown with Leather Glove Beige interior via trendhunter.com. Yes, I want one too.
Disclosure: the fragrance I tested for this review was from my personal collection.