A fragrance testing isn't your average press event, mostly because you get to douse yourself with expensive juice while being told the gripping story of how it came to be, its long journey from mirky idea to solid concept, and the near-supernatural leap from test tubes to redolent finished product. In essence, it involves a lot of blending of exotic species of what you thought were everyday plants—pink pepper, Italian lemon, Indonesian patchouli.
At one such press thingy (not to belittle an extravagant afternoon spent in the posh presidential suite of the Gansevoort Park Avenue hotel), we learned all about Gucci's new Guilty for Him, the follow-up to the women's version launched last fall. The winning new scent (available in department stores and Gucci), was conceived by the Italian label's creative director Frida Giannini, who sees the Guilty guy as both a hero and hedonist. "Men yearn to be him, women to be his,” as she instructed the perfumers.
The aromatic fougère, as it's called, is a heady blend of aforementioned Italian lemon and mandarin, with crushed green leaves—meant to evoke the sweetness of sap—and finished with a kick of pink pepper. Undercurrents are aplenty; the traditional barbershop scent of lavender finds its way onto a bed of orange flower and neroli, while patchouli—the hallmark of every Gucci fragrance—is coupled with earthy cedar and sandalwood. As for the flacon, Giannini envisioned it to resemble a flask, with its image of pre-metrosexual masculinity and virility.
As for the marketing, Giannini wanted the print campaign to resemble the iconic A Star Is Born album cover, with Barbra Streisand, curls out to there, gazing up at Kris Kristofferson, both seemingly nude. Et voila! Mert and Marcus photographed an updated version of the classic image.
But let's talk about the television spot, where some serious intrigue is going on. At Cinecittà Studios, the reputed home of Italian cinema, director Frank Miller (Sin City, The Dark Knight) shot the commercial with hot young things Chris Evans and Evan Rachel Wood. It goes beyond words—and in fact no words are spoken—but if pressed, we'd say it's a film-noir remake of Easy Rider from the future, with pyrotechnics, a one-night stand, and flashes of Gucci jewelry thrown in for good measure. British singer Natasha Khan's smoky rendition of Depeche Mode's Strange Love seals the deal. Take a gander for yourself below. And if you ever find yourself at a fragrance testing, learn, douse, indulge!