It started unconsciously but since a while back it has become an active endeavour. I am retracing my perfume past. I am collecting all the bottles that I once owned, way before perfume became an obsession, and having one carefully chosen bottle was all I wanted. I am almost done I think. What surprised me was how accurately I remembered the sillage of these fragrances. Even though the memory was vague, the imprint was quite accurate. Sniffing them again was like blowing away a fine lining of dust but essentially all the information was there. One of the most resent acquisitions in this perfume biopic was Spazio Uomo. I bought that ca. 1995 and was one of those perfumes I probably noticed because of the bottle design (another Pierre Dinand design ofcourse), I don’t think any hype draw me to it. This bottle has something epic in its design I think: facing it from a straight angle it looks like a plain, rectangular shape but it really is composed by two curved planes, one in the back curved from left to right and one in front curved backwards, hugging each other, resulting in a shape that is minimal but has energy trapped in it, like a compressed coil. It looks like if you release this energy it it might fall backwards. Or towards the front maybe? No one knows. The bottle in my photo is a small 28ml bottle. Larger bottles have a strip of alabaster-like white plastic for a more striking contradiction of textures.
My relationship with it was a very short one because a friend liked it a lot and I gave it to him, thinking that I would easily replace my bottle. This never happened as I got sidetracked by something else. I always kept a very fond memory of it though. In terms of composition, it has to be one of the strangest mixes ever marketed. It was never a success and was discontinued quite quickly. Currently available bottles are quite expensive for designer perfume and for a good reason: one shouldn’t buy this just because it’s vintage or they will be disappointed. Some of the elements of the 90’s are there but in a completely novel environment. My current bottle has tired top notes so it is difficult to be precise on my memories. Metallic flower is the first thing that comes to mind. Essences of white flowers are mixed with violet and herbs to create a very masculine accord right from the opening. Tarragon is what catches my nose the most, although not listed as an official note, and then oak moss and woods fill the base. Slightly soapy thanks to iris and moss, slightly powdery, in the most herbal and masculine way. The composition finally transitions into an extremely compact base accord where all ingredients perfectly blend to create one singular smell. In a very unique way this perfume smells like a lab in a science fiction film. All surfaces are pristine and everything is tucked away neatly, the way things are never in order in a real lab. But the imagery is precise in what it tries to describe. Metal ans white surfaces and a vague odour of chlorine. I would say that it smells like a a dentist’s office minus the clove. If you try to think of the smell of clove as two components, the spicy one that comes with cinnamon and Christmas, and the metallic one that numbs your tongue when you chew on a clove, Spazio Uomo seems to have isolated the latter.
Spazio Krizia did not stand a chance in the 90’s. It was far too weird and high tech and at the same time it used what was already there from this era. Oak moss, iris, woods, violet and white florals. The same idea could have easily been recreated today with a heavier use of synthetics. In this type of composition IsoE Super seems to be much needed but I am not sure that it was available back in the early 90’s. The same effect however is created in Spazio Uomo without it, but with an unsettling, three-dimensional effect. The overall white, LED-lit atmosphere reminds me of Comme des Garçons Odeur 53. Where Odeur 53 is a sci-fi film produced in the 00’s with CGI effects that cost millions, Spazio Uomo is the independent film on which it was based. Givenchy Insensé garners all the praises for most tragically deceased avant-garde masterpiece but Spazio Uomo goes even further. It prophesied the future of aquatic, abstract masculines through the genre of woody-floral masculine chypr., Sadly the perfumer of this dystopian, sci-fi film-noir is not known. But I would like to know how he managed to create this space-ship cocoon out of the most low-tech ingredients.
Notes from Parfumo: Basil, Bergamot, Green notes, Coriander, Neroli, Violet, Lemon, Geranium, Orris root, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Mace, Amber, Oakmoss, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Cedar
Notes from my Nose: White Flowers, Tarragon, Iris, Metal, Oak Moss