Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano Collection
I was in a meeting when I got the email announcing that over a dozen Bottega Veneta fragrances from the Parco Palladiano collection would be released in Australia all in one extravagant drop. I think the noise I made was probably inappropriate for a corporate setting.
Bottega Veneta are the favoured underdog of luxury brand perfumes. I guess being the epitome of understated luxury has its drawbacks when it comes to click-worthy releases (I’m looking at you, Mr Ford).
This collection draws its inspiration from the gardens designed by 16th century architect Andrea Palladio. He threw together some villas too and the whole shebang, situated in the Venato region of Italy (where Venice is the capital, obvs.), is an icon of classical Renaissance design – order, symmetry, respect for the natural world. One of our pal Palladio’s signatures was the intersection of squares with a cross, a weaving pattern that leads to infinite possibilities through the simplest structure.
Those legendary gardens, and the grand simplicity of the architecture that frames them, seems like pretty good source material for a collection of botanical-based fragrances described by the house as “olfactory trompe l’oeil” – flowers, woods, herbs, and fruits represented as hyper-real refractions of their namesakes.
And they are truly an illusion for the senses that don’t play to the familiar stereotypes of all too well-known notes like pine, but instead create the most delightful feeling of smelling something familiar as if for the first time. Oh, and did I mention the almost hallucinogenic beauty of the quilted impression on those heavy glass bottles, mimicked in minimal embossed boxes. With price tag to match, of course.
So you probably won’t be going out for the whole Parco Palladiano collection in one spree (while they were in my possession I was one part terrified I’d be robbed, and one part thrilled by the idea that if I took the lot to Mexico I’d probably last 12 months on the profits).
There were three that really caught my imagination, in case you’re curious…
Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano II Cipresso
Cipresso is clean and green in the most vibrant way – freshly crushed leaves, juicy with an almost aquatic character, pure, soul reviving and unsullied with any notes that push the noble tree towards the feminine or masculine. It’s straight and tall.
Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano VII Lillà
Lilac is one of those notes in perfumery that can’t actually be extracted from the flower – you have to make it up, cobbling together the elements to recreate the citrusy fresh creamy indolic slightly terpenic amazingness of the actual flower. Lillà does it in such a captivating manner, layering over a bright saltiness that evokes the smug beauty of dawn in a garden. Exquisite.
Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano IV Azalea
What does an Azalea smell like? Honey and money, as far as I can tell from inhaling this beauty until I felt lightheaded from sniffing my own wrist. If you’re allergic to boring predictable florals, you need this head-turning take on the rhododendron flower, accentuated with peach and tangerine facets (the colour of that juice gives you a big clue), with a rich and velvety nuttiness that marks this as the type of scent I categorize with extreme caution: for me, this seems unique.
The Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano Collection is available in Australia exclusively from David Jones