A Rare Find: Hot Couture White Collection
Posted on November 8, 2009
It’s no secret I have a deep, deep love of fragrance (and, ergo, anything scented; candles, oils, bubble baths, flowers) and a large part of this blog will be devoted to this fragrant little habit of mine. New releases, old loves, what to wear and when, natural versus synthetic, classics versus celebrities – I’m bouncing in my chair just thinking about it. You see, there is far, far more to perfume than meets the eye – where it comes from, how it’s made, the premise of its design, the team work of its notes – and what we wear and when we wear it speaks volumes about both the value we place on, and the inherent need we have for, sensory experience.
I also have a deep, deep love of scouting for rare fragrances and snapping them up for the collection. I know, I know. I’m wild, debaucherous even. But once they stop making a particular perfume, it’s all over red rover, and the value of a bottle shoots through the roof. Something you may have once upon a time paid $39.95 for, now costs you $139.95 and by the time you’ve finished that bottle you’ll be paying $189.95 and then it’s gone baby, gone.
These rare fragrances become little treasures, relics of a certain time and place. I once bought a bottle of Molinard’s Nirmala (1955) for $19.95 because it was the last one and the shop needed to shift it – to buy it online now, it’ll most likely set you back over $100. And I was incredibly smug to discover a bottle of Versace’s Blonde (1995) is $160, when it’s actually in stock, when I paid maximum $40 for mine; the more years that pass since its discontinuation, the more valuable it becomes. I love that. Hurrah for appreciation.
So with all of that in mind and with my last ever uni deadline met, when I felt the urge kick in to go scouting for a little gift for myself, the notion of said gift invariably came in the form of a rare or discontinued fragrance. I did some trawling and after much consideration (believe me, there was consideration) settled on a limited edition version of one of my favourite scents of all time.
For my sixteenth birthday, my mother gave me a bottle of Givenchy’s Hot Couture (2002) Velvet Water, which was a wise decision for a teenager. Hot Couture eau de parfum, a delightful, spicy brew of pink pepper, raspberry, magnolia and amber, is potent and heady and not suitable for young skin in a school uniform. The Velvet Water is much softer, and doesn’t pack the heavy punch of the EDP’s mature sensuality.
Off the back of Hot Couture’s success, Givenchy gave her some limited edition sisters including the lighter My Couture (2003) and the white floral, Hot Couture White Collection (2002). It’s the latter that became my little gift to myself.
Harnessing the woody elegance of the original, with the spicy pink pepper, freshly sweet raspberry nectar and warm amber, White Collection brings the middle note of the magnolia (pictured) to the fore. It’s softer, more floral and the magnolia lends this edition a creaminess the original lacks – or, more aptly, doesn’t possess as much of. It’s beautiful, it’s relatively rare and it’s mine.
$79.95 at Fragrance Heaven (which is, coincidentally, where the image is from).