Thursday, January 24, 2008

Optical Scentsibilities: the Hug

What better way to show affection, protectiveness and love than a hug? In that spirit, the pose of a woman hugging a perfume bottle has been used a lot in advertising and it is our study subject for today.

A hug can be maternal and protective of a precious entity, signifying tenderness. As in Fidji by Guy Laroche.

And the Mother and Child by G.Klimt.

A hug can also signify daydreaming, and in it the freedom to be what one trully is. As in Caron's tender and contemplative Fleur de Rocaille.

Or in this art print in 60s style.

A hug can also be slightly provocative, sensually tantalising and promising escapades of an amorous sort. As in this ad of Senso by Ungaro featuring Nastassja Kinski from the 1980s.

Or in this famous illustration by Mel Ramos Hunts for the Best (1981), where the model suggestivelly embraces the topmost of the ketchup bottle.

Additionaly there is the semi-hug, a way of displaying the fragrance bottle than actually bringing it close to one's bosom, which can mean that it is prized loot; like in this ad for Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker. If you had followed Perfume Shrine, you will remember the wonderfully witty commercial for the scent, directed by J.P Goude.

It can also signify contemplation of the value of what its true essence means to you, like once again in the exotic shores of Fidji. The perfume becomes you, as the tagline said: "Every woman is an isle. Fidji is her perfume".

It can be your true essence itself, the magical elixir that transforms the woman into a plummed bird such as the Coco ads with Vanessa Paradis as a paradise bird (ingenious). Thus hugging the bottle is embracing the last frontier of imagination...

And finally, when something is as iconic and a mythos of its own, like Chanel No.5 is, it simply demands to be carried on the bosom as the insignia of excellence and the true arbiter of taste. Gigantic in its message as well as its physical size, it becomes bigger than life, fit to be hugged by only another living myth: Catherine Deneuve.

Which one is your favourite hug?

Pics from okadi, parfumdepub, ebay, and


  1. Anonymous08:28

    What an idea! What beautiful pictures! I like best the Fidji ads. Not that i am influened by my love for the smell of the perfume... ;-) It is somehow like a hug for yourself...

  2. Thank you N. Well, I try to be original :-)

    I also like the Fidji pictures (and the scent), which indeed picture it as if it is affection for yourself that would make you don it: I like that concept!

  3. They're all wonderful. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be the Caron--it seems to do the best job of evoking the scent it's promoting.

    Love this series, E!

  4. Dear M,

    they're beautiful each and every one of them, aren't they? I agree that FDR is a tender, daydreaming scent and they captured that nicely in the ad.

    Happy that you like the Optical series! :-)


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