Fidji by Guy Laroche

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Post by Azar

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Hi APJ,

Sometimes it is difficult for me to keep an open mind about a new fragrance. I become so attached to my familiar favorites that I tend to create a set of almost moral value judgments regarding what is “good” or “bad” about a perfume. As a result I don’t step out of my fragrance comfort zone long enough to expand my horizons. Whenever this starts to happen I remind myself of the day I discovered Fidji.

Fidji by Josephine Catapano for Guy Laroche 1966

Fidji Guy Laroche FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Iris, galbanum, hyacinth, lemon, bergamot, tuberose
Heart: Carnation, rose, jasmine, violet, ylang-ylang, cloves, aldehydes, spices, orris
Base: Musk, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, vetiver, oakmoss, resins

In 1975 (or so) my ex and I arranged a ski vacation for the two of us and several friends to Cervinia, the resort on the Italian side of the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino). Our “crowd”, a group of skiers from Tehran, was used to the high and powdery slopes of Dezin (3,600 m) and to the steep, icy, difficult runs of nearby Shemshak. Cervinia, with its long, easy and open pistes at altitudes of up to 3,833 m, seemed like great fun and the perfect ski destination. Counter to expectations, we arrived to an unseasonably warm January in Italy. While the snow was abundant, if a bit soggy on the upper slopes, we had to negotiate rocks and even patches of grass as we approached the base. But all was not lost! We headed for the restaurants, discos and shops. It was there in the mountains, in a small boutique on a snow-covered corner of Cervinia that I met and fell madly for the perfume love of my life, Guy Laroche Fidji.

Fidji Guy Laroche Cervina Italy Fidji Guy Laroche Cervina Italy Leosetä FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

My first impression of Fidji was shocking and green. I had been brought up on various Lanvin, as well as on Shalimar and Jungle Gardenia. My Persian perfume oils were all roses, jasmine and musks from the bazaars of Tehran and Mashhad.

Fidji‘s top notes of galbanum and hyacinth, while totally Persian in character and production, combined with what I later learned was bergamot and lemon to create a scent so fresh and sharp that it was almost painful and nearly took my breath away. I was stunned and didn’t like it at all. I purchased a brown cashmere sweater and a ski “suit” and left the shop, compulsively sniffing my wrist.

As the perfume dried down in the cold mountain air I was warmed and seduced by jasmine, rose, ylang ylang and a spicy carnation. Later that afternoon I returned to the shop and purchased my first of many 14 ml Fidji parfums. As we danced the night away at the local clubs I could still detect the initial touch of my new fragrance lingering as musk and oakmoss.

Fidji Guy Laroche French Parfum Ad FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Yesterdays Perfume
FragranceNet has EdT $40/50ml before coupon
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

My initial reaction to and enjoyment of this scent has never faded. This morning when I opened my parfum, I was once again magically transported to Cervinia in the 1970’s. My romance with Fidji is created entirely from my own experience.

Which vintage fragrance has a story you remember every time you smell it?

Azar X

This is a revised, shorter version of a Fidji review Azar wrote for The Fragrant Man

26 comments on “Fidji by Guy Laroche

  1. Kesbah says:

    Hello Azar,

    Imprevu. In the ’70’s, when I was 17, my very first love gave me a beautiful Imprevu coffret. A few years passed, and he became my fiance. For five years I mostly wore Imprevu.

    More than a year ago on eBay I bought an unopened 1970’s Coty coffret containing pdt’s of L’Origan, Emeraude and Imprevu. I opened the L’Origan and Emeraude. They’d survived the years very well. I haven’t opened the bottle of Imprevu. One day I’ll enjoy being transported to my bittersweet years. But not yet.

    • Azar says:

      Hello Kesbah,
      I think I understand why you are keeping the Imprevu for another time. Certain memories need to age a bit before they are revisited. Your Imprevu will wait for you. All the vintage Coty fragrances in my collection are still in great shape, despite their age. I wish I could say the same for myself!
      Azar xx

  2. hotlanta linda says:

    LOL – another of my lifetime faves! Still have the boxed 1/4 oz perfume – almost empty – and a mostly full edt, gwp purser. I just whiff the bottle neck! 🙂

    • Azar says:

      Hi Hotlanta,
      I think we are on the same page with our vintage favorites! If you are interested to see a lot of Fidji in one place there is a photo of my Fidji stash on the Fragrant Man (see the link above). I didn’t realize I had so many back-up bottles until I put them all together for that photo!
      Azar xx

  3. cookie queen says:

    Oh my gosh this sounds fantastic. I have not tried it but know I would like it. Sometimes you just know. I am very apprehensive about trying new things because I am nearly almost disappointed. I am überspolied living here, what with going to the perfume shows and stuff – but my gosh – most of it has me running. I also tend to judge most things by what I have. No secret. You know what really transports me to a thousand places? Patchouli. It can hardly be classified as vintage, although I have some very old oil, maybe that would pass? And Chanel No 5. Hugs. xxx

    • Azar says:

      Hi Cookie,
      I thought I had maxed out on patchouli until the 2011 Summer of Patchouli Love. The Perfume Pharmer put together a challenge to perfumers to create a new patchouli fragrance. That is where I met Kedra Hart’s Opus Oils #13 Wild Child, a must try and a real trip down memory lane for patchoulis lovers. I have a good bit here, certainly enough for a sample (and lots of Fidji too).
      Azar xx

  4. Mary K says:

    I remember Fidji and I liked it, too. Thanks for the article about it – fun to read about something from the past, Another one I liked long ago was Ma Griffe.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Mary K,
      I liked Ma Griffe long ago too. I tried the new version lately and it is nothing like what I remembered Ma Griffe to be. The newer versions of Fidji are a little wimpy compared to the original but still recognizable. Have you tried the reformulated Ma Griffe?
      Azar xx

  5. Sandra says:

    Great post Azar! I went through several bottles during my university days. The smell always transports me to those days and a particular boyfriend who took me sailing on weekends. To answer your question though, Diva by Ungaro and Chanel No. 5 tell many stories.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Sandra,
      I love your memories of Fidji. I can imagine a glamorous print ad or video for Fidji perfume! It would be fun to hear your Diva and No 5 stories someday too!
      Azar xx

  6. Maya says:

    What a lovely memory! You had mentioned Fidji before and it is on my “to try” list already – that list that never seems to get any shorter even with all my sampling. 🙂

    • Azar says:

      Hi Maya,
      On of these days I should really do a Fidji give-away. You can view my stash on the Fragrant Man link in the text above. I have plenty to spare but am reluctant to part with “my precious” Fidji.
      Azar xx

  7. Marion says:

    Oh yes, a great love of mine too! I especially associated it with summertime holidays! I did seek it out again when I discovered ebay

    • Azar says:

      Hi Marion,
      I have had some good and not so good results in my quest for Fidji on ebay. Did you find the good vintage stuff? I eventually did and now I have more than I can possibly use in this lifetime!
      Azar xx

  8. Ainslie says:

    Thanks for the wonderful and magic story! I’ve got a bottle here somewhere and will wear it today in your honour! X

  9. poodle says:

    Good question. I guess Cinnabar brings back some memories for me. I remember Fidgi but can’t remember smelling it. My aunt had a bottle and it was up on a shelf I couldn’t reach along with her other perfumes. Today I’d figure out a way to get to it but I was just a kid then.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Poodle,
      It would be fun to hear your Cinnabar memories sometime soon! Sounds like your aunt was a lot more careful about where she kept her perfumes than my mother was. I managed to snag (and sometimes spill) many of my mother’s favorites. She was very forgiving, though.
      Azar xx

  10. Hi Azar!

    What a lovely story! I don’t have any stories like such of my own, but I’d love to discover a magical perfume on a ski trip! That sounds like the ultimate great vacation :). Cheers!
    Sun Mi Fontaine recently posted…Serge Lutens – Un Bois Vanille (perfume review)My Profile

    • Azar says:

      Thank you, Sun Mi!
      I’m sure you have many great vacations on the horizon! I would love to hear about them on your blog, especially if you discover a new (or old) perfume in your travels!
      Azar xx

  11. Carolyn Kubea says:

    Fidji… I’d almost forgotten about it. If I remember correctly I had the same initial reaction as you, sharp, green and not sure I liked it but I wore it anyway and grew to love it. I haven’t worn it since the end of the ’70s, think I’ll have to look it up again and create some fantastic memories for my twilight years.
    Thanks for a great post,
    Carolyn

    • Azar says:

      Hi Carolyn,
      Thank you so much for commenting. Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to travel through time and space with just a dab or spritz of an old love!
      Azar xx

  12. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey Azar,
    I thought I’d left a comment. Seems not.
    LOVE your vintage posts, I’m always learning about fragrances that never crossed my path.
    Portia xx

    • Azar says:

      Thank you, Portia!
      I have to admit that I am often stuck in the fragrant past. I tend to “shop” for something “new” in my bottles of old treasures and piles of neglected samples.
      Azar xx

  13. Lauren says:

    Hi Mom – The perfume sounds amazing and it sounds like you had a good time! Did Andy and Alex go to Italy with you?

    • Azar says:

      Hi Lauren,
      You MUST remember the smell of Fidji! I wore it at least twice a week for years even after we returned to the States. I guess I should send you some. No…the boys did not go with us on that trip. It was adults only that time…
      Love,
      Mommy Azar xx and XX

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