A perfume may be both challenging to bear and intriguing to be a guest of. They have so much diversity to them, it can almost be described as mercurial, elusive and enigmatic. Perfume is recognised as a form that preys on men, entraps them/ensnares them.
The elemental bewitching first started when Gloria Swanson, dropped by to see Ballets Russes (courtesy of Diaghilev) and the ballerinas all bathed in them. She was so enamoured with that particular parfum, a certain Caron’s Narcisse Noir (1911), that she developed a sudden burning passion for it.
The young actress demanded that the sets of the film Sunset Boulevard (1950) be sprayed with the scent, before she emerged from her trailer on-location, on-set to perform enchantingly.
Speaking of Hollywood starlets enamour with perfume, there was just so many of them, it is hard to fathom just how much they adored it: Joan Crawford love Dana’s Tabu (1932), Greta Garbo was a huge fan of Balmain’s intoxicating Vent Vert (1947), Rita Hayworth loved Lanvin’s Arpege (1927) – yes, that peaceful scent!
There was also Marilyn Monroe, who would not go to bed without putting on a coat of Chanel No 5, and nothing else, while Grace Kelly would always have a dab of Feirissimo (1972) on from Creed, something that perhaps reminded her of her lovely chaste roles on screen.
Isn’t that remarkable? But the relationship has evolved over the years as more and more fashion designers begin to add creating a perfume to their portfolio. In 1957, Hubert de Givenchy, a master couturier himself, crafted a perfume for Audrey Hepburn, titled L’Interdit (“forbidden”).
Because of this longstanding association, a debate has sprung up over who to choose to front fashion campaigns for more and more perfumes: an actress as a spokesperson, or a young model?
It is believed in some circles that a model can be defined as a fresh, young face, with that perfect body, everyone aspires to have, but she is cold and like a Greek sculpture, suddenly rushing to life.
An actress can be associated with a certain versatility that models cannot: an actress can charm, set trends, push social boundaries onscreen and off-it, have flaws and still be interesting enough.
Armani, for example described Cate Blanchett, a spokesmodel for his perfume, Si, since it’s inception in 2013, as having a cold and soft gaze, at the same time.
I’m almost sold, because models can speak too, I believe, if you give them the power to express themselves better through art, at least, that is hard to buy into or replace with stylish theatrics. Looks, like this is going to be one serious competition…