Tommy Hilfigger Tommy Girl, 1996

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(image Angela Strassheim)

Perfumer Calice Becker

I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I see Tommy Girl as an evolution of the Eau de Cologne concept. Cologne is made of citrus, herbs, perhaps some flowers and musk. EDC gives a refreshing, bracing feel that doesn’t require a day’s commitment. Tommy Girl takes more commitment, but otherwise has the refreshing, simple feel of an Eau de Cologne, notably it’s tartness.

The citrus/wood/floral portions of an EDC are of a piece, literally, as they all come from citrus plants. That same feel of tart woodiness is found in TG, but in this case, it’s more along the lines of the proudly synthetic metallic flower of Lauder’s Dazzling Silver. The shiny tart floral is encompassing enough to fill the place of the whole citrus gestalt of an EDC. Tommy Girl’s tea takes the place of EDC’s herbs nicely. The metallic tang along with the tea’s smokiness makes the flower a bit grim, a bit dark like a flower that only pops under black light.

Despite Hilfiger marketing’s straight-faced insistence on notes from nominal botanical Americana (American wildflowers or some such garbage—I had thought Tania Sanchez was joking) Tommy Girl is an abstractly beautiful synthetic perfume.

Chemical doesn’t mean fake. This is only an ersatz floral if you call it a floral. To me this is a marvelous, successful piece of synthetic perfumery.

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