Monday, 1 June 2015

SOPHIA - Wear It With Passion

In 1981 Sophia Loren declined an offer to play the iconic role of Alexis Colby in "Dynasty", and so the part famously went to Joan Collins. However, the same year did see the release of the perfume SOPHIA by Coty. Described as “the fragrance of living and loving”, Sophia Loren told women to “wear it with a passion”. With an Italian sexuality that she was famous for, that message was clear. Thirty-five years later she would return to the world of fragrance in Dolce & Gabbana's Rosa Excelsa campaign, but for now, after a cold shower, I gently caressed the bottle to see whether the original passion could be rekindled!

SOPHIA opens with the simple freshness of a sparkling citrus and the beautifully subtle scent of clove, but there is a real expanse of space within it. Before you reach the florals you get a slightly soapy quality, which I think is the sandalwood in the base pushing through, but it is not at all unpleasant. The heart is dominated by a romantic rose and a delicate ylang ylang, as you would expect from the sultry Sophia Loren, but they are supported by a very gentle jasmine. There is no eighties overdose of flavours here, but rather a measured expression of refined sensuality.

The oriental base of SOPHIA is an interesting one. The ingredients listed would suggest a heaviness typical of this family, but in actual fact it remains addictively light. You have the amber and the vanilla but they are kept firmly under control by a frankincense and vetiver blend. It gives an airy freshness to the base, which links seductively with the opening citrus, and compliments the powdery iris which just peeps out. The finishing touch to this one though is the glorious eighties musk! Before you all scream at me, I know that there are some naughty chemicals within this sexy musk ... but I just don't care, it's the smell of my childhood.

Interestingly, I keep thinking that many of these eighties creations would now fit very comfortably into the "challenge me" approach of modern perfumery. By this I mean that if you take out the "fruity floral" trend (and I would like to!) you don't have another clear fragrance category anymore trying to dominate. Instead you have an emergence of independent perfumers each with an individual inspiration and an individual voice.

SOPHIA is long gone but it does crop up on eBay from time to time. Try it, and discover that even in the eighties all Floral Orientals weren't the weight of bricks.


The American Television Advert for
SOPHIA featuring Sophia Loren

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