The Lost (And Totally Forgotten) Perfumes: Via Lanvin

Since the house of Lanvin is desecrating the memory of its founder, Jeanne Lanvin, by launching a pink fruity floral (blackberry, citruses, pear, peony, freesia, raspberry, sandalwood, amber and musk) and naming it after her*, I thought it was a good time to remember a discontinued perfume from this house, even if it's one that was created years after Madame Lanvin's death: Via Lanvin.

Via Lanvin was launched in 1971 and discontinued in 1984 (according to Basenotes). The 70s, to me, are the years of Charlie (1973), an assertive green-floral-powder little thing that took over the world. There was a point in that decade that the only way not to have a bottle was to be Amish. That was the reality and the market in which Via had to compete. It's also a powdery green floral, but it feels soft and very French. I couldn't find a Lanvin ad for Via (maybe it was the lack of marketing that killed this perfume), but I'm pretty sure it couldn't have been promoted by photos of women in pantsuits or a woman patting a male co-worker's butt. It's not that kind of scent.

I scored a sealed set of Via EdT and parfum. The first time I opened and tried it, it smelled quite fresh, other than a few seconds of stale aldehydes. I liked the elegant greens and the sweetness that followed. The floral heart feels very classic, which is probably what I recognize as "French": LotV, jasmine, orris and rose seemed to be everywhere. I think I like wearing Via because of the carnation note. Carnation and I seem to do well together.

My favorite part is the drydown. There's a moment where the vetiver emerges, and it's dry and fiery, almost smokey. It's more pronounced in the EdT, while the parfum is smoother and a bit muted. I wish there was more of this note before it burns into sweet powder. I also wish the lasting power was more impressive. As it is, I need to bathe in the juice to make it live long enough so I can fully enjoy it.

From the 1984 H&R Fragrance Guide, Feminine Notes:
Via Lanvin (1971) - Sweet Floral
Top Note: leafy green, bergamot, aldehyde, violet, lemon - green flowery
Mid note: lily of the valley, jasmine, orris, carnation, rose, ylang-ylang, narcissus - green floral
Base note: vetiver, cedar, sandalwood, musk, amber, moss - woody powdery

* Robin of NST is quoting a CosmeticsNews article, which originally stated that the house's brilliant designer, Alber Elbaz, was deeply involved in the perfume's creation. Allow me to doubt that.

I bought the set on eBay for less than a song. Bottles of both the EdT and the parfum can still be found there on occasion. Some e-tailers who specialize in rare perfumes offer a 0.25 oz of parfum for about $150. I don't think it's worth it, unless this is your long lost holy grail.

Image: . My set looks just like the one pictured.


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