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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forgotten Chypres: 7e Sense by Sonya Rykiel and Gianni Versace

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

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Blogger tmp00 said...

THat whole Charlotte Rampling/ Helmut Newton thing made me want to move to NYC when I was a child in the 70's. I asked for a subscription to "Interview" for my birthday and imagined I'd be at 54 with all the cool people. Ah well..

12:40 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not quite on topic but...the event happening this week:
If lucky enough, you might score 4 fragrances, one of which is in 1 oz. size

3:18 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Ah, Marinochka.
We share MANY common tastes, honey.
What a marvellous review- spot on....

Septieme Sens was iconic, and I wore it relentlessly when it was released; I wish I had a bottle of it now.

It was leathery and fruity and lethal.

The perfect accompaniment to knee-length dark straight hair, thigh-high boots, and an old dark -brown natural Persian lamb coat with an immense mink shawl collar-

And nothing else.
Sauntering down Charles Street, or in Harvard Square.


6:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...


Let's go back in time and live the life

8:04 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Good to know

8:08 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

:-)) Our tastes are largely identical, I see. :-)

8:09 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Разврат! ) Но как красиво написано! Саган и Нин- ядерная смесь...)

9:28 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Я рада, что Вам понравилось, Аноним. :-)

9:29 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved both of these! And still wear them occasionally. Septieme Sens was tweaked at some point or there were two versions of it - one for Eropeand another for North America. I still have one of each. The earlier version (bought in Europe) was more noticeably leathery and civet, very dry and almost masculine. The second version has a sweeter fruity accord running through that tones down the leather.
Thanks for mentioning them.

9:33 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Interesting! I think that maybe my sample is of the American version then.

9:53 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Entering the conversation a little after it started means that not only have you tempted me with Seventh Sense, but now I have *two* versions to hunt down. Arrrr. Two weeks ago, I had settled into an acceptance stage...enjoy what you have, explore it fully...and now Lil' Ms Curious is stepping out again.

I need a playdate with perfume friends, where we all bring show and tell. (Tell and Sniff?) :)

11:35 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Acceptance stage never lasts, I find :-)
Come to NYC for a play-date :-)

11:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wore Gianni Versace (the fragrance) in the 80's-- hadn't thought of it for some time. Thanks for reminding me. Must admit I never cared for la Rampling though; the haggard look never appealed. Two versions of 7eme Sens? I've been trying to avoid falling for d/c fragrances, but I may have to explore these. . .

12:41 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I must say I do dig the haggard look :-)

12:51 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Oh, I *love* Charlotte Rampling! Those eyes! That body! Such a cat. I remember reading that she just goes into twisty yoga poses all through the day - in meetings, whatever. Charlotte truly is the perfect match for both these scents - both of which I could mainline. Can't believe I only discovered the 7e Sens when reading my beloved H&R Guide, but the Versace has been a long time love.

5:21 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I love her too. She IS a cat :-)

5:25 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opium smells different on me now and I've been wanting a late 70's/early 80's perfume replacement.
I neeed to try these

8:47 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

They are definitely worth a try

9:22 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Wow, I had nearly forgotten about these! I really liked that Versace back then,and I don't think anything that good has comeo out of the house since Gianni's death. That was one Eighties scent I would like to have back.

Not sure I ever tried that particular Rykiel, but of course I want it now!

(And put me down in the Charlotte Rampling fan column too - Rrrowwwrrr!)

11:06 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You would love 7e Sense, because it is Rrrowwwrrr! :-)

7:28 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

While working at the legendary NYC nightclub: "Les Mouches" as one of the first female club DJ's in the Autumn of '79..I had the absolute pleasure of spinning for Sonia Rykiel's kick off party for her fragrance 7
Sens. There was a massive fashion show as well. I also met her in the office before the start to review the program and format.
I was very impressed at her kindness and intelligence as well.
She handed me a bagful of 7 Sens samples! Some of which I still have.
It is a captivating and very sensual parfum!
What an evening..Sonia Rykiel..Les Mouches and 7 Sens throughout the air! Ahhhh the memories!
Kathy Cunningham

1:25 PM EDT  
Blogger lindalou6 said...

Sonia Rykiel's 7 sens was the best fragrance I have ever used and I was heartbroken when it disappeared. I have a very large bottle and soap bought on ebay but it is well past its best now. Anyone any ideas of anything in the modern world to compare;I'm always searching?

4:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Versace Bright Crystal said...

Both are still quite popular fragrances. Sometimes the classics have a way of hanging around for some time, even in the midst of all the other newer lines of perfume.

2:12 PM EDT  

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