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Vintage Via Lanvin
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

By Kilian Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

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Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

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Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

Lanvin Via Lanvin: Beauty on the Sly

Some months ago, I received a package of vintage perfumes decanted for me by perfume blogger Olenska of Parfümieren, and in among the many wondrous things she gave me was a generous decant of Via Lanvin, a chypre-like fragrance launched by the prestigious fashion house in 1971 and discontinued sometime in the mid-eighties. Woody, green, floral, sometimes soapy, often touched by a bit of smokiness, Via Lanvin had my heart from the get-go and I’ve been meaning to write about it for weeks, but trying to find words for it is no easy feat. It’s a fragrance that sends up a specific image for me every time I wear it—that of a beautiful lady spy in a trench coat—but how to connect the dots between the two?

While my reading and television viewing choices rarely reflect this, I’ve always had a fascination for anything that is clandestine, mysterious, secretive and private. For too long, in fact, I’ve believed that living one’s life on the fringe of society was somehow cooler, better, and more authentic than anything that existed in the mainstream, and only recently have come to understand that, carried too far, this notion merely becomes a conceit; that a more productive and awe-inspiring life might be had by navigating between the two, in any and every conceivable direction, making lots of connections along the way. But while from an intellectual standpoint I am able to realize this, old habits are hard to break, and I suspect my attraction to the peripheral elements of society will always drive me to a great extent.

Given that this is my predilection, little wonder that when I study the svelte silhouette and charismatic composition of Via Lanvin, a sexy, trench-coat fantasy flashes through my mind. And this statement—about its svelte yet charismatic character—says a lot, too, about why I love it: If you’ve read a number of my reviews, you already know how the condition of opposites cohabiting nicely within a fragrance sways me.  Via Lanvin is a lean and angular perfume without being skinny or emaciated. Its composition has the kind of complexity that spells intrigue and lets you know that underneath that trench coat is something firm-breasted with a high-water booty and a quick-ticking brain. Via Lanvin keeps most its assets contained, but like a lady spy who knows you’ll be happily occupied looking at her legs while she’s picking the locks of your brain, it knows how to rivet your attention and place it just so. Via Lanvin accomplishes this with a thumping good top-notes stage, heavy on the aldehydes, with a piquantly-honeyed quality to it that reminds me of the same in its better-known sister scent, Lanvin My Sin. (If you compare notes between the two fragrances, you’ll see they share many of the same ones; though not identical, their kinship is obvious). While there’s greenery in the opening stages, as well, it’s Via Lanvin’s opening combo of candied lemon meeting a rush of floral heart-notes that grabs me initially; the greenery seems to gather strength around the twenty-minute mark of wear.

(By the way, leafy green, bergamot, aldehyde, violet and lemon are among Via Lanvin’s top notes; lily of the valley, jasmine, orris, carnation, rose, ylang-ylang and narcisse form the fragrance’s heart; and vetiver, cedar, sandalwood, musk, amber and moss comprise its base.)

After the top notes fade, Via Lanvin quiets significantly and becomes more linear—a serious, green-tinged floral, rather reedy from the wood at its base, the kind of fragrance your Aunt Dora would label as ‘smart.’ However, almost as soon as I type those words I want to retract them, because this sly scent presents different facets depending upon the weather. When it’s humid, it smells a bit soapy, while on a dry summer day it’s a touch powdery; and sometimes there’s a smoky aspect to its sandalwood and vetiver base, as if it stepped outside for a quick cigarette. Just as any spy worthy of her fedora knows how to adopt a number of facades, Via Lanvin, too, embraces subtle changes that are hard to put one’s finger on and make you feel like you’re never really able to “see” this fragrance head-on. By the same token, though, once it has reached this stage (where the sexy top notes have been exhausted and the fragrance has gotten down to business), it will continually prove to be reined-in, sleek and polished. In other words, it won’t ever go too soapy on you, nor too powdery or smoky: it’s a perfume that is distinctive, yet quietly aloof, consumed with its own covert nature.

Via Lanvin’s staying power isn’t remarkable (which is the case with many vintage fragrances I’ve sampled), and while I hate having to reapply fragrance throughout the day, I’ve accepted this fact. It’s the price one pays for slinking about on the periphery, where anything you fall in love with will prove furtive and fleeting and heartbreaking when you can’t get your fix of it anymore. But instead of beating a hasty retreat to life’s steadier middle, you stay and fall in love anyway, asking yourself and everyone else in refrain, Does that make it any less beautiful, the fact that it’s not the type to stick around?

Via Lanvin is a discontinued fragrance; regular and mini-sized bottles can often be found on auction sites like eBay, where prices vary greatly. My decant was generously gifted to me by Meg (aka perfume blogger Olenska of Parfümieren), whose thrift-store, vintage-perfume scores are legendary and whose reviews are clearly the work of a beautiful and highly intelligent mind. She would make a great spy, methinks! Click this link to read her marvelous take on Via Lanvin.

Image: Christina Ricci photographed in June 2007 by Tom Munro for Italian Vogue is from tumblr.com.

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 8/19/2011.


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