Monday, February 14, 2011

If I Wanted to See Your Tan Line I'd Be Buying Your Drinks, Not Your Perfume

My response to a post called Who Will Save us from the Vulgarity over at The Perfume Chronicles, one of my favorite blogs.  Who Will Save Us talks about perfume advertising and marketing which uses sex as its, um, central thrust.  The most recent example of this, taking it, supposedly, to the level of high art, is the project Petit Mort, a collaboration between a perfumer (Bertrand Duchafour) and several others, under the auspices of Kilian Hennessey.  Petit Mort is meant to evoke or provoke--whichever comes first (puns are inevitable discussing such things)--that apparently salty and pseudo-revolting moment of sexual orgasm:

"Yeah, the Petite Mort ["project"] is…well, I mean, what next, petite merde? Thankfully it hasn’t permeated the perfume enthusiast’s consciousness much yet. I posted what was intended as a satire of the Petite project last week, thinking everyone would immediately apprehend the references, and it dawned on me that not everyone has heard of the project, as eminently laughable as it is. The Petite Mort website is truly like a Saturday Night Live commercial parody, back when they were worth watching. I lifted most of my ad copy for Petite Fart directly from their site, verbatim. What I’ll give Marc Jacobs, though I generally class him with Tom Ford, is a sense of humor (self serious Ford lacks one).

And I’m a pretty staunch defender of Etat. I continue to feel that what they do/have done is poke fun at the stuffy sensibilities of an enterprise like Petite Mort and the perfume industry in general, illuminating the hypocrisy of selling sex “tastefully”, a practice which is standard procedure for the fragrance industry. I actually think the spurting phallus is exactly the illustration the fragrance needs, matching its anarchic rigor pretty sublimely; it teases out the subtext we mostly refuse to acknowledge in fragrance advertising.

I’ve always felt that Etat gets the joke. Marc Jacobs and Ford and many others, to me, however Puckish, are totally narcissistic, using that sex sell to promote the brand of themselves, inserting (watch for puns) their own naked images right into the salacious bullshit.

You couldn’t find an interview with Jacobs last year which didn’t feature a nude photo spread of the guy. Ford turned a fantastically somber Isherwood book about grief and loss into an extended, uncharacteristically “tasteful” commercial. To me, that Libre phallus points a finger at their bullshitty self-important hypocrisy.

I appreciate that in an environment where everyone wants to show his balls but has none worth looking at, where everyone pretends to be tasteful, slumming around sexually like the noble rich. As for Petite Mort, it really is the end of my already waning interest in Duchaufour and in these ridiculous “collaborations” and so called briefs which ask nothing of their collaborators but beefcake and bodily fluids."


Anonymous said...

Waaaait a second... there exist balls worth looking at?


I had great difficulty commenting on the Petite Fart post, but I was cracking up from the second line, having twigged to it - as you expected - almost immediately. The whole Petite Mort thing is so ridiculously over-the-top, all I can do is laugh. And, um, NOT BUY the darn thing.

I've been hesitant to venture this idea here, because it seems pretty self-righteous: I truly believe I'm less influenced by advertising, and by marketing techniques, than a great number of people. See... I don't really shop, other than for groceries. Kids' clothes come largely from Old Navy or JCPenney or Target. Online, mind you. My clothes are nearly always from places like Coldwater Creek's outlet, or the like. I. Don't. Shop.

Neither do I read women's magazines. And of course, I live in the flippin' boonies, so I don't even see billboards for frivolous things like fashion or scent (tractor supplies, insurance, fast food, yes).

I've said before the ELdO's angle makes me feel very unwelcome, as in, "You're not cool enough for us." But for that matter, so does the Dior Addict ad. And the Sophie Dahl Opium ad.

I don't think my take on the matter is directly opposed to yours, it's just sort of at a tangent. We're united in our amusement & disgust for Petite Mort.

Brian said...

Yeah, I think we're all kinds of united. Living slightly more in the boondocks than I do, but not by too far a stretch, I'll bet you've seen those, um, rubber balls guys hang from their trucks? I appreciate that they at least keep the joke on the back of a pick-up, low, where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

It was embarrassing to notice that several of the trucks in the student parking lot in the high school - where MY DAUGHTER will be parking next year!! - sport those. Gah. She's not interested in dating at the moment, but you better bet any prospects will be thoroughly vetted.

Violaine said...

Wow. Great subject. Well I mean, alive and well.
The very first time I read in a blog about Petite Mort I was sure it was a joke. A very bad one. It took a few re-read to accept the fact that the Few-Ones had gone in that direction.
I interpret this bouffonerie as an ultimate luxury for blasé designer I can see laugh endlessly while reading messages of Awww & Ahhhs in the interweb and cashing the money of naive consumers living this Société du Spectacle. Reminds of Marcel Duchamp "urinoir". Your Petite Merde message was for me a breath of fresh air in this odoriferous zone. Cordially, V