Do you have an old aunt who lives across the city, you really love her but do not see her very often and at some point you feel the urge to visit with her because you do not know how long she will still be around? This is how I felt about Silences when I read of the upcoming release of Silence Eau de Parfum Sublime. A re-working of the 1978 classic. What brought funereal thoughts to my mind is the threatening fruity addition to the qualities of the composition and we all know what this can mean in modern day terms: throw in a dollop of fruit or candy to fit in the to paedophile chic trend that has flooded the fashion world for two reasons: (relatively) cheap models and a way to make women even more inadequate.It seems that the foodier the notes used in a perfume the younger the model used in the campaign. And a childish, cock-teaser attitude is the epitomy of erotic behaviour in the 10’s. It doesn’t matter if you juggle a career and a personal life. It doesn’t matter if you have plucked every hair on your body, cut off every gram of fat and stuffed other parts of your body that were inadequately full. You’re still not good enough, simply because you have a period! And for those of you who think that I sound like a raging feminist, take a moment to consider how fast this trend will reach the masculine side of the fence. The more content you feel about yourself the less likely you are to become a shopaholic.
With all these grim thoughts I grabbed a bottle of the current formulation (probably the 2004 version) to salvage my childhood memory of this. And what a clever move that was! My appreciation of green scents is becoming stronger with each green masterpiece that I try. The opening is a masterful combination of flowers with hyacinth being the most prominent to my nose and the bitter whip of galbanum. And I call it a whip because if you think that flowers are cute and girly you are in for a surprise. This opening is not about the adolescent in white picking flowers in the garden. It is about the gardener (man or woman) nurturing plants from seedlings just for the hope of full bloom. The floral note is only the promise of the flower through the austere green veil of galbanum. Towards the heart of the composition iris gives mass and body. By now you know that this is a serious perfume. Girls watch out! Lauren Hutton just entered the room.
The iris is creamy rather than powdery and it is joined in the base by vetiver and moss.
Now all these notes sound familiar? Silences is very closely related to Chanel No19 to my nose. It is less floral, more green and instead of leather, vetiver and oakmoss anchors this on skin. In comparison it is less introverted and more strong willed. I really cannot understand why this was marketed as just a feminine scent. Every man who enjoys a beautiful green scent would very easily wear this and love it. There is warmth, almost like a breath in this green jewel. And there is wisdom in the balance of green and floral in a way that nothing sticks out. I have found the same kind of balance in DelRae Amoureuse where tuberose and grass walk hand in hand never trying to take over each other. It is the wisdom found in silence. Jacomo has launched some amazing scents in the past and instead of trying to fruity-fy Silences they should immerse themselves in the silence of their history and relaunch masterpieces like Eau Cendrée.
For more dithyrambs on Silences you can check out Perfumeshrine, The Muse in Wooden Shoes, Bittergrace Notes, The Non Blonde, Bois de Jasmin
Notes from Fragrantica: orange blossom, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, green notes and cassia, iris, jasmine, narcissus, hyacinth, rose and lily-of-the-valley, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, cedar and ambrette
Notes from my nose: hyacinth, galbanum, iris, vetiver, moss, white silk
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
I don’t think you sound like a raging feminist, you sound like a woman with opinions who speaks her mind, which is a wonderful thing. Thanks for the great review.
I am a man though and I do not feel offended at all by sounding like a woman with opinions 🙂
Sometimes I am infuriated by the fact that so many women easily accept the teenage or even child chic in fashion and commerce. The classic Chanel suit wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s market.
Thanks for stopping by cheesegan
What a GREAT review. You really touched on so many points that are important and valid about the trends of fashion and scent. And then in walked Lauren Hutton and well, what can I say. Talk about smart in every sense. Wonderful review, and now I am on the hunt for Silences.
It is really worth getting a bottle. Quite cheap, very elegant and you will enjoy wearing it. As for Hutton, the woman had crooked teeth and she was gorgeous. Nothing more to say.
Interesting review, Christos. To my mind, most advertising is silly to some degree, so I don’t really feel influenced either way in regard to the perfume advertising you point out, though perhaps I’d feel differently if I had a daughter. (I do have nieces, though, and they seem unaffected by this kind of representation in the media — maybe because their life involves around a lot of empowering things, including sports.) But at any rate, I enjoyed hearing your thoughts and your review reminds me that I should seek out a bottle of Jacomo Silences while I still can.
Suzanne the photos I linked to were not from Children’s Vogue. They were from the “old women” Vogue. And the 10 year old girl is wearing high heals and a look that invites vices. It is not meant to influence your nieces but their mother. And if no woman in her right senses would be influenced by this, I really think that allowing this is infuriating.
Christos, as luck would have it, I initially responded to your post after only following your YouTube links to the perfume ads for Prada Candy and Coco Mademoiselle, which I just found to be silly in the usual way. I hadn’t checked out the link to the Vogue photos, which I did just now, and I would agree with you about those. Pimping out a little girl Jon-Benet Ramsey style is both wrong and creepy.
On the point as always, great review. (I ‘m afraid the trend has already reached the masculine side : skinny male models at the early adolescence fill magazine pages and defiles all over the world.) I’m not sure I ve ever tried Silences but you definitely made me want to!
As far as green scents go Silences is perfect. Sophisticated and cool.
Trends are meant to make people spend money and the furthest from reality they are the more money we will need to follow them.
I enjoyed this review, Christos. Nice to know that you number among the ranks of Plato and J.S. Mill (two other noteworthy male feminists). I need to give SILENCES another sniff. Thanks for nudging me that way!
Although I didn’t really know it this post made me realize that I probably am a male feminist. I will have to look into J. S. Mill
Mill’s most famous feminist tract is “The Subjection of Women,” from 1869. Here’s a wikilink:
Christos, I love you! 🙂
I’m mature enough not to be influenced by everything that goes on on the advertising scene but I completely agree with “a woman with opinions who speaks her mind” in you 😉
I have to get a bottle of Silences before it’s too late. Thank you for the reminder.
Go for it Undina! 🙂
At some point it is not just a question of whether this type of propaganda can reach us but where do we draw the line between criminal activity and commercial freedom. If a parent dressed up his or her 10 year old daughter like this and taught her how to pose like this, they would be in trouble. As soon as they start making money out of this they are clean as Teflon.
I completely agree. And I realize that I am (well, we are) a minority and this attitude, this not that subtle message will reach a lot of people… too many I’d say.
Hey Undina, Gerard Goupy is also the perfumer behind your favorite Clinat
It must be a sign! 🙂
I enjoyed this review. And I love Silences. Count me in as one of the men who wears it regularly, and will likely repurchase more bottles in the future.
I have to admit, however, that I’m looking forward to the re-release. Maybe it’s my sense of scent perversion kicking in, but the idea of integrating fruit – carefully integrating it, that is – somehow appeals to me. I understand pear and cassis are to be represented. I’m curious about that. Fruit doesn’t diminish a green fragrance’s “greenness” if it’s done correctly, and Jacomo is a capable firm with good noses. Maybe they’ll surprise us.
BTW – I learned the hard way that men can be feminists.
I am not as optimistic as you about the re-release. I agree fruit is not a dirty word but it usually ends up smelling like a drop of artificial food flavouring has accidentally landed in the bottle of perfume. One of the worst fruity notes I have ever smelt is Shiseido Zen for Men (pear Lifesavers anyone?) and of course the atrocious strawberry in Paco Rabanne Black XS. But Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier regularly use cassis to impart a metallic note to the composition that I think is a use in the right direction. I think fruit is good when it adds volume and character while remaining in the background. You are right however that most Jacomo releases are solid and note-worthy compositions so I hope you are also right on your expectations of the new re-working of Silences.
In another piece I spoke like an offended Asian. I don’t know, there is something about being offended that I like 🙂
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