Yesterday I was delighted to see that The Plum Girl wrote a review on one of my new perfumes Atlante. Elana (aka The Plum Girl) contacted me on Instagram and asked me particularly about the connection between Atlante and Gemaine Dulac's "The Seashell and the Clergyman" because it's referenced no the shop page for Atlante.
I really appreciate Elana asking me about this because her review really helps to connect that reference point.
In the surrealist film, the female character is the object of desire, and there is a scene when the crazed Clergyman violently rips off her shirt. But we don't really get to gaze upon her breasts; instead, a Seashells bra immediately appears. It's as if she is protected by the power of the sea, which later also prevents her from being captured/encapsulated by the Clergyman. Of all the references shared with perfumer Sarah McCartney during the process of the making of Atlante, this one seemed the most prominent, being the first surrealist film ever to be made, and directed by the great Germain Dulac, a feminist filmmaking pioneer.
'Now, this is where I think something clicked: suddenly there were no pretty-looking bling-bling Hollywood style, softly-erotic pin-up mermaids anymore. The ocean current picked up and took Baker and McCartney deeper, much deeper: to the other side of Big Blue, its vast depths and unsolved mysteries.
For Baker, the fragrance finally revealed it’s true colors: she associated it with the work of French surrealist filmmaker Germaine Dulac. To be specific, with her movie dating from 1928, „La Coquille et le Clergyman“ – being credited as a first Surrealist movie, later considered as a major Impressionist contribution.'
Another aspect of Elana's review that I loved was her links she made between the ocean and gender in the perfume industry.
'Reclaiming the power of Oceans, the Ur-Power of the Ur-Female, Mother Nature, the source of all life as we know it, the metaphor of freedom? Because gods or rulers of oceans and seas were always presented as – men.
Even the first-ever aquatic perfumes were classified as – “for men”. If you look back, for example, Kenzo Pour Homme in 1991 – using Calone for the first time – made that salty-woody feeling and immediate freshness radiating from it associated with sports and freshness, defining from then on aquatics as masculine perfumes with a carefree, relaxed attitude.'
Thank you so much Elana for writing such a lovely review and for engaging with Atlante so thoroughly.