The Scented Salamander

A perfume blog offering the latest fragrance news, {advance} perfume reviews, beauty product reviews, shopping tips for scents, advice, quotes, interviews, perfume criticism and commentary, vintage perfume history, free samples. Sniffing around the globe to bring you the best, the unconventional, and the latest in fragrances! A proud member of the Glam Network, Beauty Blog Network, Coutorture, Delightful Blogs, Beauty Blogads, Riveting Reviews, Top Ten Sources, and Best of the Blogs.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Scented Facts: Jicky and Gender


Jicky was created in 1889 by Aimé Guerlain. It is not only considered to be the first modern fragrance through its invention of the now classic 3-tiered structure comprising the head, heart, and base notes, as well as the introduction of the combined use of synthetics and natural essences, it is also a perfume that attempted to reverse a trend that rested on the rigid codification of gender categories. This conservative trend emerged in France after 1820, during the Second Restoration, when the bourgeois mentality imposed its mark more decisively upon society, moralizing the use of perfumes and deriving its ideas about the propriety of certain scents from the triumphant hygienist movement. In this context, Aimé Guerlain is reported to have said that he wanted to create,

"an audacious, vigorous, and quasi revolutionary perfume: the perfume of an amazon, difficult to decipher, of which you wouldn't be really able to tell whether it was meant to be for a man or a woman."

And so it was; disconcerted by the novelty of the concept, women started adopting it en masse only after 1910 while men, meanwhile, decided it would be theirs. Today, despite Aimé Guerlain's efforts at creating a unisex fragrance, Jicky is still not considered to be gender-free and in a new historical twist, has mostly come to be considered a feminine fragrance and marketed as such.

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