The ma­cho scents be­ing co-opted by women.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - By HAN­NAH BETTS

“Men have dis­cov­ered a new con­fi­dence, lead­ing to a resur­gence in fra­grances that growl.”

MAS­CULIN­ITY has not had the great­est press of late. that said, trump, we­in­stein and co. are not so much vir­ile as puerile, con­fus­ing man­li­ness with misog­yny. Real men have no need for such abuses, and this feels like a time for real ever, where so­ci­ety wres­tles with a sub­ject, so the per­fume world re­flects this in ol­fac­tory guise. For, while the trend for gen­der-fluid fra­grances con­tin­ues, there are in­di­ca­tions that wear­ers are look­ing for more gen­dered state­ments.

Dior has been at the forefront of this trend with François Demachy’s Sau­vage, launched in 2015 in eau de toi­lette form, and newly re­leased as a dy­namic eau de par­fum. Ruggedly clean and herba­ceous, Sau­vage has en­joyed seis­mic pop­u­lar­ity. Its new in­car­na­tion is deeper, mood­ier and still more im­bued with “punchy fresh­ness”, trans­port­ing us to a world gov­erned by an­i­mal in­stincts.

Such in­stincts are all around, as Michael Dono­van, cre­ator of new brand St Giles, ex­plains:“dur­ing the ob­ses­sion with uni­sex scents in the 1990s, ol­fac­tory fash­ion be­came ho­mogenised, neutered, sex­less. Later, in the noughties, met­ro­sex­u­als flirted with flow­ers. How­ever, men have dis­cov­ered a new con­fi­dence of late, lead­ing to a resur­gence in fra­grances that growl.”

These per­fumes are not merely male, but ma­cho. At times, this machismo can be so hy­per­bolic it reg­is­ters as brute force, such as Cartier’s ’80s pow­er­house San­tos: a beau­ti­fully au­da­cious aro­matic wood. Guer­lain’s Héritage proves no less cor­us­cat­ing. Jean-paul Guer­lain cre­ated it in 1992 when he re­alised he would have no male heir work­ing in his field, de­fy­ing the fates with a great fist­ful of patchouli. More than a quar­ter of a cen­tury on, his suc­ces­sor, Thierry Wasser, evokes a sim­i­lar bravura with Le Frenchy, a wit­tily over-the-top cologne. French­ness has be­come some­thing of a by­word for mas­cu­line as­ser­tion. Pierre Bour­don’s French Lover for Frédéric Malle re­tains a tem­pes­tu­ous eroti­cism never quite as­suaged by the re­fine­ment of its iris, cedar wood and ve­tiver. Quentin Bisch’s French Af­fair for Ex Ni­hilo is a fu­sion of berg­amot, ly­chee, rose and chilli pep­per on a moss base, and has the dandy’s self-as­sur­ance in be­ing de­ter­minedly odd­ball. Cire Trudon’s Révo­lu­tion evokes the most dash­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary of 1789. Fre­quently, the bold will be con­jured by the feral, of­ten in syn­thetic ver­sions of the an­i­mal scents that have long given per­fume po­tency: musk, civet, ca­s­toreum and am­ber­gris .they un­der­pin ro­bustly ex­plicit fra­grances such as Her­mès’s Eau d’her­mès. the most in­fa­mous is Knize Ten, cre­ated in the 1920s, and the scent of Weimar deca­dence, beloved of Mar­lene Di­et­rich. “knize Ten doesn’t play pre­tend fetishism like so many mod­ern scents,” says James Craven, the ar­chiv­ist at Bel­gravia’s Les Sen­teurs. “it is it­self a fetish.” Leather con­jures its own realm of an­i­mal magic. Her­mès paid tribute to its eques­trian roots first in Equipage, with its spiced wood and peat, then with Bel Ami: big­ger, bol­shier, redo­lent of se­duc­tion. Guer­lain’s Habit Rouge sum­mons pol­ished sad­dles and cig­a­rette smoke, while Tom Ford’s Tus­can Leather is the stuff of cow­boy fan­tasy: raw, al­lur­ingly acrid and al­to­gether in­tox­i­cat­ing. An­nick Goutal’s haughty Duel is a gaunt­let dashed to the ground, sweat gath­er­ing on the op­po­nents’ starched shirts. The irony, of course, is that wher­ever a fra­grance feels re­splen­dently male, there will be women ready to make it their own in the name of sub­ver­sion. Mon­sieur Malle in­formed me that I wear French Lover im­pec­ca­bly. I adore sport­ing the provoca­tive Duel, while Knize Ten was the scent of my sin­gle days: an in­cite­ment that never failed to be­guile.

FROM TOP: Tom Ford Pri­vate Blend Tus­can Leather eau de par­fum, $340 (50ml); Cire Trudon Révo­lu­tion eau de par­fum, $299 (100ml); Dior Sau­vage eau de par­fum, $175 (100ml); Ex Ni­hilo French Af­fair eau de par­fum, $412 (100ml); St Giles The Me­chanic eau de par­fum, $234 (100ml); Frédéric Malle French Lover eau de par­fum, $348 (100ml); Her­mès Eau d’her­mès eau de toi­lette, $150 (100ml).

Back­stage at Loewe S/S 2019.

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