Thierry Mugler A*Men, 1996

Posted on

Perfumer Jacques Hulcier

The last time I wore A*Men, I applied it a half hour before launching into a 24-hour GI virus. The sensation of retching and the scent of A*Men are now gloriously bound in my nervous system. Oh, the irony of fusing a gourmand fragrance and gastric distress.

But here’s what I thought pre-emesis: There’s Angel (clever, quick and wonderfully badly-behaved) and there’s A*Men (a clod.) In trying to recalibrate the notes of Angel and sell it to the boys, Mugler fell prey to the mistake of all the Angel-imitators: it’s not the flavors, it’s the intention.

(image source unknown)

There’s an irony to a 24 year-old woman wearing the short-skirted catholic schoolgirl look. The look carries its own slight misalignment that, despite relying on a conceptual pedophilia, is socially acceptable. It’s ‘good’ pervy because we stuff all the potential negatives into the large bag of justifications marked “fantasy” and allow ourselves the thrill while skipping the guilt. The woman in the skirt is isn’t really that scandalous, but exchange a man for the woman and it’s another story. The mild perviness becomes invisible next to the cultural anathema of gender borrowing, especially if it’s part of a sexual act. Angel is the perfume equivalent of the risky gender play.

A*Men misses the point of Angel and looks to her list of ingredients, not her bad behavior, for inspiration. A*Man tries, but just doesn’t have the chutzpah to pull off the schoolgirl look.

  • Share


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.