Fan di Fendi (Fendi)
When Fendi discontinued its eponymous fragrance for women several years ago, the news was met with despair by my family. Nicknamed Fendi "Donna" by its fans, the scent was my mother's signature from the year it was released until the last day of its production. My father loved it on her, and always replenished her stock, which included body washes and lotions. I loved it, too — the rich leathery chypre essence of Fendi embedded itself in her clothing, her bags, the very air around her, even when she wasn't wearing it. Perhaps it's the Italian in me, but I found it intoxicating, even when I was just nine and ten years of age. Nothing about it was "girly" or sweet. It simply smelled classical, adult, comforting, like the holy water of some Eighteenth Century philosopher's mistress. Fendi was enlightened sin, neatly captured in a bottle.
Fendi discontinued all its older scents, and only recently returned to the scene with the trumpeted release of Fan di Fendi, a new fruity-floral for the ladies of the Twenty-First Century. I must admit to being only partially enthused about this; my sense from the press and the packaging was that Fan would be a mainstream release, with nothing avant-garde in its profile, no lingering emotional impact to be had.
Sniffing it today, I'm reminded of all the pajama-wearing twenty-somethings in Uggs who pad around the grocery store with zippered hoodies that say PINK in gaudy silver lettering, smartphones in hand, sarcastic eye-rolls ever ready for whoever should glance their way a bit too long - or longingly. You know the types, those young American women who think their gender alone exempts them from actually having to wear regular clothing when venturing out in public on a Saturday. They're of my generation, they're proud of their PINK sweats and pajama bottoms and ugly-as-fuck Uggs, and they're accessorizing their hangovers more than their neon-pink vinyl clutch purses.
These lady-children come to mind because Fan di Fendi smells like the total opposite of something such women would wear. Actually, it's something they could never wear. It is light years away from the brown sugar blather of Bath and Body Works. And thank the good lord for that. Fan rides the air on a crest of lean animal sexuality, smoldering beneath a refined and well-poised femininity that only an Italian goddess could possess. The sweetness of its opening is sharpened into a blade of citrus, dripping with the juices of tangerine and blood orange. It's a distinctly Italianate feeling to smell such dense and sugary citrus fruits, and here they're rendered in a very plush way, but the sweetness brings their brilliance into a super sharp focus. Simply mesmerizing.
Gradually the fruits mellow into an indolic white floral arrangement, a blend of tuberose and jasmine that is so heady and dense that it somewhat resembles mimosa. Whiteness pervades the heart, filling every aspect of Fan di Fendi's evolution with a richness not often found in designer releases. Fruity sweetness remains entrenched in the proceedings, but after an hour it plays nice against the naughty of the flowers. As things dry down, the base yields a lovingly-crafted suede, with hints of animalic musk supporting the leather. The woman who wears this wears stilettos, when she wears anything at all. Her clothing is hand tailored, her phone never makes an appearance outside of the ladies' room, and she doesn't get a hangover because her drinks regularly average about 38,00 € per glass. When your vino is that expensive, even the alcohol has manners.
Fan di Fendi is arousing juice. Its sophistication is in its grandiloquent modernity, the flourishes of the familiar juxtaposed with the exotic, but its sensuousness rests with its reliance on feminine notes to convey a distinctly classical perfume. Maturity and sexuality are blended very well in this one, and any woman in her twenties, thirties, or forties could pull it off beautifully. She just has to dress - or undress - for the part.
Needless to say, I won't be recommending Fan di Fendi to dear mom. She seems very happy with K de Krizia, which has essentially replaced her lost signature. I'm saving Fendi's latest for a future girlfriend. I'm not sure who she'll be, but I do know that she's never touched a pair of Uggs in her life.