Fidji - the scent of paradise.
Created by the late Josephine Catapano (of Norell, Youth Dew etc), Fidji embodied a new style in perfumery, a green fresh spirit, inspired in part by L’Air du Temps, and later on inspiring the mythical Anaïs Anaïs. It was a dreamscape, faraway islands, exotic beaches and the magic of the orient. But not in a heavy oriental manner; Fidji was the daytime version, a more hip hippie fragrance giving its emphasis on patchouli and sandalwood, and bitter green notes.
Back then, when tropical didn’t mean fruity pink drinks and coconut suntan lotion, Fidji was seen as a breath of fresh air. And righty so; galbanum in abundance, aldehydes, hyacinth, jasmine, ylang ylang, cloves, orris, ambergris, oakmoss, sandalwood... a fresh but sensual fragrance that read in its first ads ‘a woman is an island, Fidji is her fragrance’. Review of early 70’s edt splash.
And indeed it was. Seen through the lens of a gauzy dreamscape, Fidji startles with its soapy aldehydes and bitter herbal opening. Fresh, savonneux, the cool touch of skin freshly showered. Lemon and bergamot add further sparkle without making the opening citrusy, instead enhancing the galbanum, and making way for the florals. Flowers that are caressed by the Pacific breeze. Rich but never demure, the flowers are enhanced by the spicy cloves, with a slight carnation feel, hence the association with the more serious and mature L’Air du Temps; Fidji was younger, carefree, emancipating. Exploring new lands, breaking new boundaries. But even though there’s an innate breath of fresh air running through, Fidji still manages to smell sensual at the same time. The ambery base with ambergris for its lick of salty skin, sandalwood from Mysore that conjures the exotic and faraway India, sensual musks, oakmoss... notes that anchor Fidji on skin for hours, developing and mesmerizing, enveloping the fragrance in sensuality and transitioning it to the night.
Fidji was seen as a perfect scent for young ladies. The allure of the exotic was becoming a reality, Woodstock was about to take place, and the hippie movement was in auge. But while a young lady could perfectly wear it, a green fresh floral, so could a more rogue one. Deep basenotes, rich patchouli and sandalwood, animalic beauty running through. Fidji was the dream of a generation, a perfume that made a reality the new world and the breaking of boundaries. A still frame of a generation that was breaking free of restrictions and embracing opportunities. Fidji is and was for everyone, and today it feels more unisex than ever. In its early 70’s formula, which is the one I own, it positively sings on skin for hours on end. The version sold today, while thinner and flatter, still manages to convey the smell of exotic islands and faraway lands.
A woman is an island, but Fidji can be worn by anybody. Green, fresh, sparkling. A true masterpiece and what exotic fragrances should smell like!