Alexis Carrington, despite her deadly wiles, was actually quite the femme at heart. She may have had the biggest balls in Colorado but she could still pull off a maribou peignoir and a dry Martini. She was unapologetically glamorous, and an icon of 1980s excesses.
Which brings us to Giorgio Beverly Hills. Created in 1981, this had a kind of “damn you to hell” sillage that would floor anyone in its wake. I can’t help chuckling at Luca Turin’s spot on description , “ a cute,twelve-foot-tall-singing-canary. At first impossible to ignore, and at length, too big to love“.
It must have been great PR for the brand when Giorgio was banned from several restaurants in LA. After all, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. And the sillage? If this were a noise, it would be on a par with being in the front row of an Aerosmith concert.
So what is this twelve foot canary like? To me, it smells one dimensional. It’s almost like a very loud air freshener, packed with faker than fake Jasmine, Peaches and Tuberose. Like its Los Angeles origins, this doesn’t even try for a dose of reality. It is shameless in its fakery, making synthetic a proud trademark, rather than something to hide.
Back in 1990, I often had a lift home from a female colleague. She wore Giorgio every day, spraying it in the morning and again at lunchtime. By the time I got in her Giorgio capsule, sorry, car, at 5.30pm, it was like a futuristic torture chamber made of scent. High pitched, synthetic and for some reason, smelling as alarmingly yellow as it looked, this smelled loud, long and cheap. There was a kind of hollowness to it, as if there were no base to anchor it, just a high pitched screech of a scent.
I can’t tell you what the drydown smelled like since it never seemed to drydown. It smelled linear to me. Five hours later, it would smell the same as of it had just been applied.
Having said that, I find it hard to dislike Giorgio and have a sneaking affection for it, in the same way that I loved Prince, Duran Duran, Dallas and Dynasty. I’ve seen it going cheap in discount shops lately, and it made me feel sad for it, like its best years were behind it, and its facelift was starting to sag. But in it’s heyday, Wow, knock ’em dead Giorgio. There she goes.