Monday 8 July 2019

GUESS 1981 LOS ANGELES by Clément Gavarry

The perfumes that launch with the name of a fashion house or a celebrity on them are often looked down on by certain sections of the fragrance industry and also some customers. It is wrongly assumed that they will be low quality, unbalanced affairs that have been hastily put together and will disappear as quickly as they arrive. However, this isn’t the case and just as much effort often goes into them as you would expect from a Dior, a Chanel, or even a Guerlain. The latest fashion release is Guess 1981 Los Angeles and, if you’ve shied away from fashion houses in the past, you may be surprised by this beautiful summer fragrance.

Guess was founded in 1981 by Georges Marciano and pretty much made its name with the launch of its stonewashed denim. It was very different from anything else that was on the market at the time because, apart from a lighter colour, it was much more “form-fitting” than anything that was then available. This catapulted the company into international attention and, with their flagship boutique in Beverley Hills, it quickly became a very sought after brand. Guess would eventually widen its distribution and, whilst some saw it as a commercial move too far, it became a household name.

The company’s first venture into fragrance was in 1990 when they launched the self-titled Guess, a chypre floral for women. It was created by James Bell who, the following year, would also create the aromatic fougère that was Guess Men. Over the next eighteen years there would be a handful of fragrances but the company really hit their stride in 2009, and have released a perfume every year since. For this latest release it was decided to approach Inter Parfums to oversee the development of the scent and the perfumer that was chosen was Firmenich’s Clément Gavarry.

To say that perfume is in his blood would not be an exaggeration for Clément Gavarry. He was born in Paris and is the son of the celebrated perfumer Max Gavarry. However, the association with fragrance also stretches back to his grandfather and great-grandfather who were both gardeners involved with the growing of lavender, rose, and jasmine for use in the perfume industry. After studying at ISIPCA in Versailles he eventually joined Firmenich and moved to New York. He says that his creations are “a balance of heart and mind,” but is also very candid when he says that it also requires “trial and error, or plain luck!”

The fragrance has an interesting opening because it takes a “red berry” accord but adds a tartness without being overly citrus. This means that an apricot and pear note don’t become overly fruity and so allow the floral heart to really shine. The combination of jasmine and peony, with just a touch of rose, has a sea-breeze buoyancy about it that links seamlessly to a romantic amber base. The ingredients list praline but, for me, I see that as more of a pairing of the vanilla with the dry cedarwood. It’s a very pretty fragrance and is a sure fire hit for summer.

Guess 1981 Los Angeles is available from the boutiques and selected stockists priced at £45 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Trace Publicity]

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