One Thousand Scents

Friday, April 28, 2006

Either/Or: Givenchy Organza Indecence


Yesterday I mentioned, in passing, Givenchy's Organza Indecence, and that got me to thinking about the very strangeness of that fragrance. The first time I smelled Indecence, I was floored. This is a women's scent? This jagged spice-rack collage?

Indecence, despite the advertising bumf about its femininity, is a remarkably unisex scent: mostly spices and patchouli, with woods, ambergris, and a little vanilla at the end. The spices and woods aren't subtle, either, not the soft blur of Coco by Chanel but a hard-edged, aggressive spiciness. There isn't a flower in sight, nothing to soften the blow. The only thing that even remotely suggests it might be a scent aimed at women is the oops-my-dress-blew-open naked-lady bottle: if they took the word "Organza" out of the name and put it in a bottle shaped like a scrimshaw tooth or a Bugatti they could easily sell it to men as is. (Indecence resembles, more than a little, Yves Saint Laurent's bristly Opium Pour Homme, not to mention the attack-dog spiciness of Comme des Garçons' first scent.)

Some reviewers think of Indecence as feminine ("It's an entirely feminine scent, no doubt about it"). I say it's whatever you want it to be--the very definition of unisex, no?

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