For those of you who don’t know, Versace is an Italian brand. It was founded by an Italian, is still run today by an Italian, and is headquartered in the northern Italian city of Milan.
Which is ironic given that pretty much everything iconically Versace is actually Greek. From the meander to the Medusa, Versace’s hallmarks have their roots not in ancient Rome, but Greece instead. The reason, it’s often said, lies in the fact that the label’s founder and former creative director Gianni Versace was born in Reggio di Calabria, a region in present-day southern Italy, but once a territory known as Manga Graeca, or Great Greece. Which goes some way in explaining how the snake-haired monster became the Italian luxury label’s seal.
Why is this relevant? Because it informs everything Versace does – like the film for its new men’s fragrance, Pour Homme Dylan Blue, for example. Shot in black and white, the short is set in New York, narrated in Italian and centres on an underground fight club – like a cross between Raging Bull, The Godfather and the exorbitantly expensive fragrance ad that it (probably) is.
But it’s less greasy Brooklyn Italo-American mafia dons, more Spartan warriors. From the lingering takes on semi-naked sinewy blokes to the shots of intense combat training, Pour Homme Dylan Blue’s promo owes just as much to age-old stories of hardened Spartans as it does gangster movies. (Again with the Greek thing.)
There’s one clear difference between Versace’s fighters and Sparta’s though: while the latter were known for abandoning their newborns on a mountaintop if they didn’t look up for a fight, the former’s are all hard on the outside, molten in the middle. They fall in love, and they fight for love.
Fitting, then, that the fragrance itself should be a similar mixture of bracingly masculine and surprisingly sweet. A fougère at heart, Dylan Blue opens with a refreshing jolt of aquatic and citrus notes before quickly drying down into a musky, woody base via a very faint whiff of patchouli and violet leaf. It’s aquatic, yet woody; floral, yet spicy; and punchy, yet soft.
Above all though, Dylan Blue is sexy (what else would you expect from a brand that’s known for dresses that expose as much flesh as they cover?). It just maybe doesn’t have the staying power of a Spartan.
Available at Harrods, priced £66 for 100ml eau de toilette.
Bottle: Deep blue glass, with a contrast almost rose gold meander-printed cap and Medusa seal at the centre.
Head notes: aquatic notes, Calabrian bergamot, grapefruit, fig leaf;
Heart notes: violet leaf, papyrus wood, organic patchouli, black pepper, ambroxan;
Base notes: mineral musk, tonka bean, saffron, pyrogéné incense.
Best for: Wearing sex on your wrist. (For a while at least.)