Message in a bottle - Katie Puckrik gets a whiff of Givenchy’s L’Interdit

 (Illustration by Lydia Silver)
(Illustration by Lydia Silver)

In the olden times before the World Wide Web, before reject-all-cookies, before reaction video reaction videos, before weaponised cynicism, before smartphone GPS, before all the pixilated detritus of the 21st century, there was IRL. In real life, lovers would court and spark in person, festivities would be attended, people would get lost. And perfumes, instead of apologetically shrinking to fit between the cracks of our crenelated attention spans, took up space — lots of space.

First introduced in 1957, L’Interdit by Givenchy was a mid-century space hog. Produced by French designer Hubert de Givenchy for his friend and muse Audrey Hepburn, this early fruity-floral sparkled with aldehydes and leaned on sandalwood and musk to add hindquarter heft to its billowy blooms. But like fashion, like music, like your own face in the mirror, the familiar can tire. Over the decades, L’Interdit’s too-muchness became dated next to ever more skeletal scents.

After a few mid-2000s reformulations that defanged the flowers and downgraded the peach and berry into a shampoo flou, L’Interdit’s latest interpretation brings back its maximalist brio. Little licks of amber and patchouli tease voluptuous tuberose, orange blossom and jasmine sambac into unabashed lavishness. Muggy, creamy, densely floral and drenched in fruit, L’Interdit is a girdle-busting badonkadonk of a perfume.

GIVENCHY L’Interdit EDT, £69 for 50ml (