I keep misreading Bottega Veneta Eau Légère as Eau de Lingerie. Perhaps not such a strange mistake considering that it’s a silk slip of a perfume. Sheer and delicate, it wears close to the skin, and just like a beautifully crafted lingerie, it makes me feel sexy and alluring. Designed as a variation (read, flanker) on the brand’s debut perfume, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum, Bottega Veneta Eau Légère has a similarly elegant character.
Elegance is something I fully expected from Bottega Veneta, but I didn’t anticipate anything interesting from its flankers. Brands rarely spend enough effort to develop original ideas, and since the rewards for flanker launches are small, perfumers often have few incentives to try very hard. Bottega Veneta Eau Légère is neither avant-garde nor trendsetting, but it’s made well enough that it stands on equal ground as the beautiful original. It only depends whether you prefer rich and glamorous or gauzy and sophisticated.
The idea behind Eau Légère is to turn the violet scented leather of the Eau de Parfum into a chiffon. To do this, perfumer Michel Almairac seems to have added a dose of watery notes. However, don’t expect Issey Miyake, because (thankfully!) the watery impression is subtle. The dark richness of violets becomes pale, the leather feels as soft as a cat’s paw, and the swirl of gardenia–creamy and lush.
Even if Eau Légère is not completely novel, it’s so well-made and smells so good at all stages that it wins me over. If I smell hard enough, I get a glimpse of the vintage Diorella, that milky-musky note that smells at once like a ripe peach and sunwarmed skin. The crisp mossy notes that you may remember from Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum are still there, but true to its name, Eau Légère is lighter and more casual. It has very good tenacity, without being noisy, but if you like more of a statement, I would recommend the original.
Lately I’ve started to appreciate subtle perfumes much more than before –or maybe I’ve just had enough of ambers and incenses that are as heavy as fur stoles. The refined simplicity of Eau Légère feels just right and I like how it creates an intimate aura around me. While I can go through my day without being aware of it, at the right moments when I smell its cool leather and petals, it’s a terrific boost. Just like wearing my favorite shocking pink silk slip under a thick wool sweater.
Bottega Veneta Eau Légère Eau de Toilette includes notes of gardenia, musk, leather, and oak moss. Sold at Saks5thAvenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and other major retailers.
Sample: my own acquisition