Punk and Perfume.
Jean Paul Gaultier.
Born in Paris.
London mindset during his formative years.
Belle Époque meets punk meets mainstream meets recycling meet androgyny meets challenging the conventions of taste.
He ascended to the firmament of international fashion design and eventually established his own couture house informed by what have become his trademark of giving new twists and nonconformism. A designer home in the echelons of haute couture with the essence of punk running through his veins.
My relationship with JPG started through the ephemeral and with what infuses our imagination with a subtle power and transmits an expression on intimacy, i.e. perfume.
Despite being in the midst of a crust punk phase, the fragrance Le Mâle became the go to in the mid-'90s when it came to convening with the ladies. It offered a melange of spicy, sweetness and flowery briskness that I had not encountered before and despite perfume not being held in high esteem by my peers, I could not care less what message it was perceived to send, if it was “too popular” for the cool kids or the fact that a sailor of the Turbonegro ilk was the token poster model – the fragrance reminiscent of woody barbershops, orange blossoms and bergamot certainly clicked with me and I have never subscribed to the notion of “guilty pleasures”.
Many a cologne and perfume have since been tried and worn, however, this powerful scent has remained an evergreen, as has the iconic blue torso flacon it comes in.
Created by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, the essence of Le Mâle can be condensed to…well, a scent that works with me.
What makes Le Mâle is that its base notes are perfectly blended, a subtle sweetness and a lingering vanilla note that culminates in something that reminds me of apples.
However, the secret to getting the best out of Le Mâle is by applying it sparingly as there is an amount that can tip the scales to gaucheness.
Francis Kurkdijan’s Ultra Male followed in 2015, also housed in aa torso bottle yet striped in black and blue, and in essence, it is Le Mâle on steroids in terms of a centre of vanilla framed by a more intense spiciness, bergamot, minty nuances and cinnamon as well as sage.
Now, discovering your own favourite fragrance is one thing.
However, eventually I explored if through the act of gifting I could convince my better half to take an interest in the female equivalent to Le Mâle, i.e. I got her the first incarnation of JPG’s female range.
The direct female equivalent is Classique, originally launched as JPGaultier Eau de Parfum, both in terms of the appearance of the flacon, including the JPG trademark metal box, as well as far as the fragrance is concerned.
There are rose notes, hints of rum, vanilla sandalwood, vanilla beans and more – sound enticing?
It is, and it led to the next gift:
From the get go, I liked not only the flacon but also the enchanting hints of orange, musky candy and honey that pervaded this floral scent that is reminiscent of Dior’s Miss Dior Cherie and was at the same time a tad disappointed because it there is nothing remotely scandalous about it, yet it is one seductive perfume.
August 2018 then saw the release of Scandal By Night, which was created by Daphne Bugey. Again, the foundation of sweet, sweet honey reminds of its mothership Scandal, yet it is more opulent like a well picked bouquet of flowers with a dominant balsamic tonka bean note, sandalwood and a bit of spice.
Photo by T
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