Fendi’s Fendi (EDT, 1985)

Fendi's Fendi (1985) EDT © Victor Wong
Fendi’s Fendi (1985) EDT © Victor Wong

There is a good reason why Fendi’s debut perfume is discontinued – it’s not an unique perfume. I know, this is crazy, I’ve spent good effort and money finding this perfume and I am now badmouthing it. (But not really, read on.)

At the same time, it is one of the most sought after discontinued perfumes. Go search on eBay and the price is a good indication. I think I know why people miss it so much. If all the strict IFRA ingredient bans and regulations really are meant for protecting consumers, wearing Fendi from 1985 might give you some serious cancer. I mean, it is such a rich and potent perfume, (and it’s just an EDT), the oakmoss is real and fat, the leather is fat , the florals are fat, it’s just phat and bad ass with no implants and zippers are useless. The opening almost smells like cognac, then instantly the curtains are pulled wide open, it’s an all-you-can-eat chypre buffet. It’s the epitome of the opposite of a reformulation, it’s a fragrance porn.

One of my coworkers has really big boobs. One day we were walking down the street to the bus stop and we stopped at the red light. A huge truck tried to make a right turn and I saw the truck driver’s eyes keep staring at my coworker’s boobs as he steered the 10 ton truck. I was afraid the trunk might flip on us because her boobs distorted gravity. Yes, she definitely can rock Fendi.

Fendi’s Palazzo (2005)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

A few years ago there was a Chinese TV show that asked the audience to guess whether the guest was a man or a woman. The audience could ask any questions and typically the guest-in-drag (or not) would get stumped when asked some questions only a particular gender would know the answer right away. If Fendi’s Palazzo (“Building” in Italian, 2005) went there as a guest for fun (and humiliation), I bet most people would guess she’s a feminine-acting man, but it turned out she really was a woman.

It’s because Palazzo starts out like a couple marching hand-in-hand, both wearing their own perfume – the girl smells flowery (jasmine, rose, orange flower) and a little tangerine fruity, but her boyfriend is a wearing something woody (sandalwood, patchouli, gaiac) and strange, like the smell of super glue. A few hours later, her weirdo boyfriend dumps her and now she is running free, beautifully.

If you read the comments on Fragrantica.com you will see a lot of women lamenting the fact that Palazzo is discontinued. I suggest Kenzo’s Ca Sent Beau, if you happen to find it, which is also unfortunately discontinued, but it smells even fuller, and equally strange.

[Side note about that TV show: one may question why in Taiwan there are many young men that look and act feminine. A speculation suggests that it’s all because of the artificial drink-mix powder used in bubble-teas (super popular when they first appeared in the market), as it contains certain plasticizer that causes hormone imbalance.]

Fendi’s Asja (1992)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

“Ha ha, Fendi misspelled Asia with Asja”, I raughed. But did they? I used Google to translate Asia to French and Italian but Asja didn’t come up. Fendi probably invented this word for the title of their oriental perfume so that it sounded even more exotic.

The packaging of Asja (1992) is fun and beautiful and not necessarily cliche. It is a mishmash of various Asian traditional iconic designs – Chinese red lanterns, Japanese lacquered wood bowls, radiating stripes that resemble sun rays in the old Japanese flag and paintings, and the use of gold colour that turns every Chinese on.

I haven’t noticed any new Asian inspired packaging for perfumes for years. I guess Asia is no longer exotic to westerners anymore – they are now everywhere in the world. I live in Toronto, and walking down the street in my neighbourhood, all I see are Chinese bubble tea shops, Korean convenience shops and Halaj restaurants. I bet nowadays white folks in Toronto would find a bottle maple syrup more exotic than before.

Asja is actually a proper title for the perfume. It’s oriental to the max, and I like it better than YSL’s classic Opium. Opium debut in 1977, although it’s a smash success, it smells unfriendly to me. It lacks a certain warmth that I expect from an oriental perfume, and also it smells plasticky to me. Asjacame out 15 years later, although the notes are similar, it is sweeter, fruitier, warmer, and has a little trace of metallic smell, which I like, probably due to cinnamon and carnation overdose.