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July 12, 2005

Fragrance Review: L'Interdit by Givenchy (original)


L'Interdit was created for Audrey Hepburn in 1957 by Francis Fabron on a commission from her friend and a famous couturier, Hubert de Givenchy and subsequently discontinued in the 1990s (in the US only, by all accounts, as it was still available in Europe). The House of Givenchy decided to reintroduce the fragrance in 2002 while reformulating it in order to make it more appealing for the younger generation. While Jean Guichard and Olivier Gillotin are talented perfumers, the outcome is a pleasant fruity-floral, well crafted, but not particularly memorable.

As for the original L'Interdit, it was a fragrance of elegant beauty, with a playful side. The opening notes are of aldehydes paired with bergamot, which soften considerably as the fragrance is allowed to meld into the skin and reveal soft peach and strawberry--ripe fruit warmed by the sun--on the floral backdrop of rose, jasmine and iris. The floral notes are not distinct, instead presenting a beautiful swirl of abstract shapes, with the edges blurring into each other. Yet, above this refined melody, spicy carnation adds some pleasant honeyed warmth, thus enhances the floral voices. Matte glow of amber paired with the earthy opacity of vetiver forms an elegant base upon which the floral notes recline, veiled by a powdery mist.

Photo: Paramount Pictures publicity still, 1956.



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