So I hear that Brad Pitt is the new face of Chanel No. 5 and the iconic scent’s first male spokesperson. A question comes to mind: if the epitome of Eurocentric/American masculinity is used as a medium to question gender norms and conventions, is he biting the hand that feeds him? More importantly, did Mrs. Jolie-Pitt have a hand in convincing him?
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The pearl of wisdom above was uttered by one Pierre Dinand, the famous perfume bottle designer. He designed Yves St. Laurent’s Opium bottle.
Packaging makes a big difference especially with stiff competition in the market. It is precisely the case for scents. One’s palate has to be quite delicate to distinguish the different layers of aroma of a given perfume. Most of us usually are swayed by the ads printed in the Vogues of the world, and sometimes the celebrities who have helped ‘inspire’ the perfumer. (Hello, Celine Dion!) I know that I am not alone in equating the value of the scent with the attractiveness of the bottle.
Chanel No. 5 has to be the most recognizable perfume that the market has ever seen. The simple elegance of the bottle, designed by Coco Chanel herself was the first in an age where elaborate kitsch dominated. Think round bottles with etchings of lace, tassels, vaporizers and metallic accents that were too much for the eyes. The word ‘subtle’ does not come to mind. The No.5 bottle has been a pop culture mainstay and Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints of the bottle in his trademark bright, gaudy colours do not disprove this claim.
Alexa Lixfeld‘s bottle design reminds me of the same elegance and simplicity through the incorporation of concrete bottle tops that remind me some of Anselm Kiefer’s installations. There are three scents, distinguished by the varying shades of gray concrete slabs. Please have a look at her site, if you are curious. And until technology allows for it, I will assume that her scents will just be as gorgeous as the their bottles.