Monday, September 13, 2010

Guilt trip...

It's been a few months now since Gucci first announced the launch of their newest feminine fragrance, Guilty. My reaction to the news was ambivalence. Gucci has been churning out fragrances a lot more quickly than they used to, and while that doesn't automatically mean the products aren't good it does make you question whether or not enough time and care has been given to the new scent. It hasn't helped that the promotion for these new fragrances has seemed like too much, especially once you get to smell them. To be frank there isn't one of their newer releases that I really love all that much, although if you forced me to pick a favorite I'd probably go with Gucci by Gucci Eau de Parfum, and that's only because as a scent it's closest to the kind of stuff I gravitate towards. The appeal certainly doesn't have anything to do with the kitschtastic bottle it comes in, with it's engraved striped ribbon and chintzy horsebit charm. The other fragrances which have been directed by Frida Gianinni, Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme, Flora, and Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme Sport, strike me as utterly generic, to put it kindly. Not to beat a dead horse, but as with the rest of the brand Gucci's fragrances aren't what they used to be.

But enough back story. Despite my ambivalence towards yet another new release, the name of this new fragrance caught my attention. It definitely fits in nicely with Gucci's two most well known perfumes, Envy and Rush. All of them have names that connote a sense of danger and sin, and really what could be more old-school Gucci than that? I'm undecided as to whether or not I would have called this new one Guilt instead of Guilty, and I definitely would have called it Guilty by Gucci instead of Gucci Guilty, but sadly no one over at double-G headquarters asked for my input. Still, I think the name itself is good. Also good is the print campaign. The first shot that debuted with the announcement of the launch was, to quote Marisa Tomei, dead-on balls-accurate. In it actress Evan Rachel Wood, who I think is an unusual but interesting choice of spokesperson, kind of looked like iconic Gucci girl Georgina least to me. Who knows, maybe I'm just projecting. Maybe the familiar sight of a couple in a naked, sweaty, mid-coital embrace against a shadowy background looked enough like something out of Tom Ford's old play book that I was just visualizing Georgina's face on Evan Rachel's neck. Needless to say it's my favorite out of all the Giannini-directed Gucci fragrance campaigns for reasons that should be obvious.

(Tell me I'm imagining the similarities... )

However my love for the campaign ends with the photos. The TV commercial directed by Sin City creator Frank Miller might as well be another campaign entirely, because from where I'm sitting the look and feel of it is completely different from the still photographs. I don't think that Miller's neo-noir aesthetic suits Gucci very well. His aesthetic looks great in comics and in action films, but let's be honest, his work is designed to appeal mainly to heterosexual men, and this commercial is no exception. On top of that I find the blatant depiction of sex both trashy and banal (and again, something that would mostly appeal to men). While Gucci has always been about sex, it was never used so tactlessly. I find the print ad sexier simply because something is left to the imagination. That single photo is doing a better job at telling you what Guilty is supposed to evoke than the minute-long commercial is.

As for the fragrance itself, it's billed as a floral oriental with notes of mandarin, pink pepper, lilac, geranium, peach, amber and patchouli. Although I was determined to give it a sniff when it hit store shelves it sounds a little light weight for a perfume described as any breed of oriental. But when I saw that gleaming gold bottle (which has grown on me a bit since I first saw a picture of it) perched on it's display pedestal at Bloomingdales' fragrance counter I hightailed it over, made sure the SA was busy with someone else and liberally sprayed a blotter. At first I found it pretty, though as the notes implied, kind of light. I didn't remember there being anything heady or exotic about it whatsoever. So I forgot about it and left it to sit in my car. A day later when I accidentally found the blotter I had forgotten all about sitting in my cup holder I took a sniff and liked it a hell of a lot better than I had when it was fresh. Instead of the flowers and mandarin from the top what was left was a combo of patchouli, amber and something else that may or may not have been the remainder of the peach. I have a recently sprayed blotter in my hands as we speak and smelling it now over two week later it's more potent than I remembered it being, the florals are more pronounced and a bit powdery, though I still don't get much, if any, spice. Maybe I've just huffed my mother's vintage Opium one too many times and my nose has become jaded. Personally I could have gone for some incense or heavier spice or even a bit of musk somewhere in there. Frankly the drydown, which is nice, is the only thing that makes Guilty worth wearing, though I will say, considering the multitude of sugar bombs currently residing on the shelves at Sephora Guilty should provide a nice antidote for those who don't want to smell like a candy store. As for whether or not the name fits the scent, I'm not convinced that it does. To me the name suggests a hint of something corrupt or dirty, even if it's only fleeting. After all, guilt is the result of doing something that you know you shouldn't have done, or doing something that you've been told is wrong to do. Even if you repent the fact remains that you still did it. I wish Guilty had that implied hint of badness; it could have been really good if it did.

images from,, and

1 comment:

LOla said...

Gucci perfumes became less interesting after TOM departure. OK call me TOM addict (Yes I am) but, it's the same at St Laurent...they're Totally commercial and too clean (in a bad way) when you see the last Gucci & YSL perfumes (Gucci by Gucci, Guilty, Elle, Parisienne,Belle d'Opium), you're totally lost. Who release 2 or 3 perfumes in 3 years???

For the campaign it's beautiful but cold..very cold..i prefer Envy me!

It's funny to see how in a beginning Frida want to burn all the TOM FORD legacy and Now, she get closer and closer everytime..but not in a good way!