If you were a child of the Seventies, you may remember the adverts on TV for Vanderbilt jeans. Daring designer Gloria Vanderbilt, she of the impeccable heritage, launched a range of jeans that were tighter than the world had seen before. Suddenly the derriere was very much “in” and fashionable backsides had Gloria’s name all over them.
Between scandal, tragedy and court cases, Vanderbilt, a talented artist and writer, also launched a range of perfumes with L’Oreal and the original scent: Vanderbilt by Gloria Vanderbilt, has become a quiet classic with no signs of quitting yet, rather like it’s 90 year old creator.
The success of Vanderbilt led to the launch of twelve flankers, including fragrances for men, but none have eclipsed the success of this slow and steady grafter that can be bought just about anywhere for under ten pounds.
If I had been asked to describe this blind, I would have said it was most definitely Iris against a sweet Tuberose and Musk base. Two out of three ain’t bad, as Meatloaf would say, and I was very surprised to see that this contains no Iris at all.
Here are the notes according to Fragrantica: Top notes: Aldehydes, Pineapple, Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Green notes. Middle notes: Carnation, Tuberose, Orris Root, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang. Base notes: Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Opoponax, Vetiver, Civet, Musk
Many of these ingredients are absent to my nose (no Civet and thankfully, no Pineapple), you may find it’s different for you. Considering there are so many varied ingredients, I still find that rooty note that is usually associated with Iris, is the most dominant. However, I think it’s probably a combination of vegetable-like Orris Root and creamy rich Tuberose. The drydown is a pleasant crowd pleasing White Musk with a hint of something woody: maybe a whisper of Vetiver and rasp of Sweet Myrrh aka Opoponax, but overall, I still say that Iris lovers will go for this.
Age wise, this could suit young or old, although today’s young tastes might initially eschew it in favour of more sugary scents. It’s versatile for day or night, inoffensive and cheap enough to wear every day. Longevity is pretty good at around six hours and you can easily top up from just about anywhere should you run out. Frankly, these things are all I ask from a drugstore classic.
Gloria Vanderbilt had such a colourful and interesting life, it would make a great movie. With her wealth, she could have gone down the exclusive route where fragrance was concerned and produced something with a “no riff raff” price tag, but she didn’t and she created something entirely pleasant and accessible. Kudos and my respect to this Grande Dame of Design.