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Teatro alla Scala – A night at the opera – May 16, 2016

Image - Wikipedia - Architettura La Scala Opera by Gabriele c.54, Sept. 7, 2014

In one of my digital wanderings a while ago I read that Mariuccia Mandelli passed away in December 2015 at the age of 90, which triggered my memories of visiting Milan in the early 1970’s and seeing hot pants for the first time. Short shorts worn with long-sleeved shirts, jackets or long suede vests, and knee-high boots – have a look here - oh so fashionable and sexy, and now back in style (which I have confirmed by watching The Voice).

Of course, I bought a pair, dark royal purple, along with a gray  suede vest and boots, which scandalized the locals when I returned home to my Vancouver neighbourhood according to my less fashion-aware mother, but within a few months the entire world was wearing hot pants. I was vindicated.

Hot pants were introduced to the world by Mariuccia Mandella, creator, owner, and chief designer of niche Italian fashion brand, Krizia. Regarded as the “godmother” of Italian fashion who influenced modern designers such as Miuccia Prada, Mandella and her husband built Krizia into a powerhouse designer label at its peak in the 1990’s with annual sales of half a billion dollars. She brought a different design ethic to Italian fashion through the use of simple exceptional tailoring, and offered a new elegance for women through unusual form–fitting fabrics and technical processes like permanent pleating. Her designs always had a quirky intelligent spark of humour which appealed to the newly emancipated female customer. Started by Mandella in 1954, sewing in her Milan apartment and selling out of her little Fiat 500, the Krizia brand still continues today selling clothing for men, women, and children, fashion accessories, even home furnishings and decorations. The company was sold in 2014 to a Chinese corporation. (Wikipedia)

Not only did Krizia design fabulous clothing back in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, but they also made beautiful handbags, shoes, and …perfumes. I own a couple of them: K de Krizia (1982) and Teatro alla Scala (1985). I love both these Krizias, but my favourite is Teatro alla Scala. Dramatic and theatrical, it’s what I call a special event scent, in fact it’s a special event just in itself. It's a night at the opera.

An air of mystery surrounds Teatro alla Scala because first, the perfumer is unknown, and second, its classification is foggy. It’s the love-child of the chypre and Oriental styles, a beautiful result of combining the best of both these classic styles. Sharpness from aldehydes and green earthiness from oakmoss, patchouli and bergamot in the chypre merge with the exotic density of spices and florals and woods, the funkiness of musk and animalics in the Oriental.

Teatro alla Scala is the official name for La Scala in Milan, the holy shrine for opera lovers and the most famous opera house in the world. Since its opening in 1778, La Scala has hosted the premiere of many famous operas, and the building was renovated about ten years ago, restoring the interior to its original opulence to ensure that the rich and the beautiful of Italy’s most fashionable city continue to fill its seats on opening nights. Krizia’s Teatro alla Scala is the smell of just such a special evening, the women sleekly styled and perfumed, elegant in silks and lush furs, the men in custom-tailored tuxedos, perfectly shaved and barbered.

Teatro alla Scala opens like a symphonic powerhouse with the chypre notes leading - sharp aldehydes right at the top followed by spicy and fruity notes, then tart citrus from bergamot – a gorgeous majestic opening salvo which demands full attention and sets the scene for what’s to follow. The flower notes rise up slowly, spicy rose and carnation mixed with wisps of clove and pepper and rooty iris, lush swoony jasmine and ylang-ylang with its faint tropical vibe, then sweet rose and the sweaty green-dust note of geranium. This floral chord in the heart is dense and luscious, sweet with the scent of flowers in full bloom but made sultry when wrapped in a honeyed accord of beeswax and incense which comes up from below.

The dense dark rich dry-down of patchouli, benzoin slightly smoky and vanillic, earthy oakmoss, and grassy vetiver reduces the floral sweetness in the heart but the beeswax/honey accord continues, mixing with animalic notes of civet and musk, giving Teatro alla Scala the promise of more than just an evening at the opera. The rose and carnation remain faintly at the end, honeyed and slightly skanky.

Teatro alla Scala is jam-packed with carefully chosen big beautiful notes spaced over three acts, just like an Italian opera by Verdi or Puccini. And just like those larger-than-life operas, it has a fine elegance that is balanced by the sultry animalics that peek through in the final act.  Formulated with top-notch ingredients that are not permitted in today’s perfumes, Teatro alla Scala is just as wearable today as it was thirty years ago. A couple of dabs is all that’s needed to transport you to an evening at La Scala, and for whatever comes after the performance.

Teatro alla Scala is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Try some of our other designer vintage decants:

Diva - Ungaro

Magie Noire - Lancôme

Cialenga - Balenciaga

Jolie Madame - Balmain

Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum - Paloma Picasso

Nu - Yves St. Laurent