Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic and mischievous little sailor, Le Mâle, is 25 this year. If that doesn’t make you feel old, then I don’t know what will (it certainly made me feel rather ancient, I tell you). That’s a quarter century’s worth of men soaking themselves in far too much of Le Mâle’s distinct and devilish minty barbershop beauty. I can say that, because for 15 of those 25 years, I have been one of them. I still wear it now and I still love it, and for me, Le Mâle will never go out of style.
The success of Le Mâle is really unrivalled in the world of mainstream masculine perfumery and it’s due, perhaps, to the distinct nature of the juice, but also to the marketing which managed to be unashamedly queer enough to set the gays into a frenzy (the advertising heavily references the Fassbinder movie Querelle) whilst also butch enough not to put the straight boys off (they weren’t in on the joke, but they loved its macho nature anyway). So the beauty of Le Mâle really is the fact that it has been worn by all kinds of men (and women, actually) whether they identify as femme, masc or neither of these things. Long may this mighty Mâle reign – that’s what I say!
To celebrate 25 years of sailor shenanigans, Jean Paul Gaultier is treating us to Le Mâle Le Parfum, which appears as a richer, warmer and more intense version of the original. If you think of Le Mâle as the fresh-faced rookie then Le Parfum is the weather-worn captain, but like Le Mâle, he’s still buff af (the rock hard abs and pert bottom on the bottle remain as tight as ever) and very, very hot. So, let’s jump on board and take a good look at this incredibly sexy fragrance that definitely deserves his promotion to admiral of the fleet.
Love it or loathe it, the power of instagram cannot be denied. The platform has become a massive force in setting the trends of what we do and buy. Sure, there is lots of fakery and over-polished world views, and don’t get me started on the influencer culture, but what I admire about instagram is that it has become a really fantastic way to communicate fragrance.
Translating fragrance into a visual medium can be really effective and can take something so intangible and make it real. Some fragrance brands are really adept at getting the spirit of their scents (not to mention their brand) across, creating entirely unique visuals that are fun and exciting. Here are five fragrance brands that I think are killing it on instagram right now.
The success of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic masculine fragrance Le Mâle somewhat overshadows the greatness of anything else the brand has created. Many of the Gaultier fragrances that followed – the likes of Fragile and Gaultier² – were just as innovative and remarkable as Le Mâle, even if the market wasn’t quite ready for them at the time. Le Mâle is often talked about and nearly always lauded – I myself have written about it on numerous occasions, partly because it’s an icon, and partly because it played a large part in my formative years – I wore it throughout my adolescence and on many a raucous night out (and in…).
But this article isn’t about Le Mâle, no, Le Mâle gets more than enough attention (cheeky git that he is). This is a celebration of Classique, the feminine counterpart to Le Mâle and Gaultier’s very first fragrance – a perfume that doesn’t get the spotlight anywhere near as often as it deserves or desires. Classique has sat on the shelves of our department stores and our bedrooms for 26 years now and whilst others have come and gone, Classique has remained, proving that a good idea executed at the right time really does stand out. But what makes Classique so timeless? Today we’re going to find out.
The great thing about packaging your flagship fragrance in the shape of a couture-clad torso is that you can redress it again, again, and again, leaving lots of room for many exciting limited editions. The possibilities are endless and it’s true, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique has a vast wardrobe (one that many a supermodel would envy) packed to the brim with corsets and gowns, each of which has been fashioned from the imagination of a game-changing, rockstar of a fashion designer: the cheeky yet supremely talented Jean Paul Gaultier.
For 2019, Classique once again has a new outfit and this time, a new scent to match too. Classique Cabaret is the latest limited edition to launch in the Classique canon and aside from the original, which I love, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is the best version yet. Inspired by the cabarets of the 1940s, Classique Cabaret is a light-hearted and liberated fragrance that just wants to have fun. The glitzy-red dress wearing Classique Cabaret blends the signature orange flower of Classique with electric ginger and sensual amber, putting together quite the olfactory show. So roll-up, roll-up, take your seats and get ready for the smelliest show in town: the Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Cabaret!
It’s hard to think of a ‘his ‘n’ hers’ perfume duo more iconic than Jean Paul Gaultier’s flagship masculine and feminine fragrances, Le Mâle and Classique. Together they capture the cheeky, sexually-charged and contemporary spirit of fashion’s naughties designed. They changed the way we think about perfume presentation and have managed to remain undated, despite their ever-so-90s aesthetic. Today our fragrant power couple have gone under the knife with olfactory surgeons Daphne Bugey (Classique Essence de Parfum) and Quentin Bisch (Le Mâle Essence de Parfum) to be fitted with an entirely new look, and smell. Click here to check out my full review of the Jean Paul Gaultier Essence de Parfums over at Escentual.
What do you get when to you take Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Mâle to the gym and tell him to avoid manscaping for a few weeks? Well, you get Ultra Mâle, that’s what. Ultra Mâle is the latest incarnation of Gaultier’s beautifully buffed sailor boy, and this time our beloved seafarer has gone rogue. Launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Le Mâle, and created by the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian (the same dude behind the original) Ultra Mâle brings the (timeless) barbershop fougére bang up to date and places it in a more oriental setting, and a thoroughly rugged one at that. To read my full review on Escentual, simply click here!
In this new series, I put together a quarterly overview of five of my favourite fragrant subjects that have been piquing my interest over the last three months. These items can be individual perfumes, brands or houses, genres or even themes that have been taking my fancy. They can even include other books, bottles and other blogs that have been keeping me entertained. There are no rules. Well, there are three rules with this series; 1) the subjects must be linked to fragrance somehow (a rule that I’m allowed to bend); and 2) the hitlist is to be published towards the end of each quarter; and 3) the list must include my favourite things, as if I were a fragrant sort-of Oprah.
So, now we’re heading towards the end of March what’s topping my hitlist for quarter one of 2015?