There comes a time when a fashion house knows it’s time to embrace a new direction, a direction not obtuse for the industry, but one that is nonetheless either damning or augmenting; Fragrance. On the back of their surging men’s collections Valentino have released their first scent for men, a subtly opulent scent that transcends generations and styles in a modern interpretation of classic fragrance.
The Valentino man imagined by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli is agile and reflective, he wears a suit and tie naturally, without posing. This natural obliviousness makes him elegant because it is real; based on memory and attitude that is the result of a story. He is convinced that innovation is spawned by tradition and that authenticity is a value. He appreciates savoir-faire, clarity and simplicity, details noticed up close. Subtlety is his distinctive trait. He is not nostalgic, he lives in the present, with full awareness of the past. His style is a synthesis of contrasts and timeless modernity.
To dress such a refined and complex personality, perfumer Olivier Polge imagined a fragrance full of history: classic and brilliant, with accords that change on the person over time. Its subtle, light, unique signature is only revealed, like the clothes, up close: it is a profoundly Italian blend made of precisely chosen ingredients. Valentino Uomo is enveloped by the limpid elegance of zesty bergamot and its surprising hint of spice. Barely touched by myrtle, it opens with racy notes of coffee and the shimmering tones of gianduja cream, in a memorable enticing duo. It is retained by an enveloping musky hint of white leather that reveals the majesty of cedar. A classic accord, softly smoky woody, with a touch of vagueness that upsets the balance, it is an expression of unmistakable style, the olfactory equivalent of the elegant discretion of monograms embroidered in a hidden place on a shirt.
Comedy, mystery, romanticism, escapism, and introspection fade away in the nights of the inveterate flâneur. Is he the heir of a noble family, an actor off-stage, or an observer of people from all walks of life? Perhaps he is all this; perhaps he is not. He prefers the empty, surreal city in the depth of the night, full of cool sophistication and infinite possibilities – as in the cinema and theatre. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli chose Louis Garrel to interpret this archetype of contemporary man with a past expressed in his gestures and gaze. This handsome, edgy young actor with an elegantly complex personality and a rich and versatile past, is directed by Johan Renck and photographed by David Sims. In a flash, the dolce vita melds with the present: the past becomes a modern day element tinged with sensuality.
The search for a timeless modern classic and the sense of history in present day Rome with fast-forward shots are expressed in the bottle, which is a visual summation and first sign of Valentino Uomo. An object with a strong, tactile presence, its shape is reminiscent of a bottle of fine liqueur because the perfume inside is an amber liquid. The glass of the entire surface is cut in prisms that are studs, but could even be the ashlar bricks on a patrician palazzo. A metal band circles the bottle and imprints the silhouette with a signature: Valentino. Vibrant classicism and subtle rebellion effortlessly unite in a design with sophisticated influences, closed inside a box with a simple black label trimmed in gold. Everything about Valentino Uomo is restrained, yet enticing.
Valentino Uomo is available now worldwide and priced £46 (50ml) and £63 (100ml).
PHOTOGRAPHY: Eli Ankutse