Who isn't familiar with the Christian Dior advertisements for their feminine perfume J'adore? Before enlisting Charlize Theron and her fabulous physique, it was Carmen Kass and her graceful East European neck who adorned the pages of glossies. The gold hoops round her neck were shining much like those on the long, giraffe-like top half of the bottle iteself, elongating it, giving it a graceful line upwards. Very innovative, right?
And yet, when one looks back on advertisments from a previous era, one sees that that this is not the case. In fact, Jean Desprez, a perfumer who launched his own creations and not under the wing of another house ~a practice unusual for the second half of the 20th century~ had used this idea for his classic oriental Bal a Versailles, back in the 1960s. The advertisment of this one is more sketchy and less realistic, but the idea remains the same. The rings around the neck, the elongated line that hints at vulnerability. An idea of woman as a constricted being who is subject to the desires of some unattainable ideal, inflicted by men. One could write a whole treatise on this alone! However to revert to more arty rather than feminist issues, every little trait of the two images conspires to show that they both drew their inspiration from yet another source; a source much more in the real world than one would anticipate.
None other than the constrictive beauty ritual of the Giraffe Women of Thailand. In a practice that rivals that of the bound feet of Chinese women (Google the term only if you're brave), those women put rings around their necks producing an effect that although more of an optical illusion than real elongating, it has the unfortunate characteristic of seriously oppressing the collarbones and ribs into an unnatural shape in the long run.
Everything in the name of an unrealistic, unattainable beauty? Putting on perfume is so much easier comparatively. The rest is up to you...as always.
Pics of ads from parfumdepub, pic of giraffe woman from paradise tour.com