I’m a tad pre-occupied at the mo by the debonair bandying about of the phrase ‘gent’, ‘true gent’ and ‘gentleman’. A turn of phrase oft used (haphazardly) by young men in their late 20’s and early ‘30s to heap praise on a new and possibly valued acquaintance. If only these newly termed ‘gents’ lived up to expectations rather than down to those of the women they meet along the way. Sadly. Clothes do not necessarily Maketh the Man as even George Michael was smart enough to decry.
True gentlemanly behaviour is about deeds rather than words, honour and respect, with every polite and thoughtful action meaning more in the bank for gentlemanly conduct than any Savile Row suit. Manners and conduct do very much Maketh the Man whatever a gentleman’s sexuality. But what about women? Does it take more than a woman in a tux or rather, ‘Le Smoking’, the ultimate inversion of smart savvy gentleman’s tailoring worn on a sexy, confident woman to signify and relay a woman on her own terms?
The suave and svelte Mr Ricci at Juliette Has a Gun isn’t scared of rocking boats or rock chicks for that matter. Indeed, he’s well versed in each and clearly loves both. This smooth operator with a finger on the pulse of what niche sexy women like to wear has made his outré perfume brand synonymous with niche Gallic glamour, aiming his idiosyncratic creations at women who like to plough their own identity. Think Jane Birkin, Vanessa Paradis or Josephine de La Baume. Each and all an ultra metropolitan Mlle with hidden depths.
Mr Ricci’s Gentlewoman release is a wonderful burst of juxtaposing strength and lightness, laden with character but with a distinctive air of nonchalance that’s perfect for blazing a trail whether for day or evening wear. Ricci wanted to give women a dash of dandy and created this modernist fragrance with a composition conceived like eau de cologne with its sassy mix of neroli essence, orange blossom absolute and a musky wooden base that’s never ever base. Ricci also uses almond and lavender essence as a homely, comforting lift that also works with his usual favourite ingredient, ambroxan.
What I like about Gentlewoman is its point of difference, its lightness with a masculine edge without trailing a huge wake of vetiver, as is the norm. In essence, Romano Ricci perfectly captures the playfulness of spirit and audaciousness of a woman in a Saint Laurent tux, bringing to mind those classic ads that bent and broke women-in-a-mans-world rules from the ‘70s onwards, like Revlon’s ‘Charlie’ girl and Chanel’s 1970s ad for ‘19’. Gentlemen’s playgrounds aren’t only for the boys.
Juliette Has A Gun’s Gentlewoman is available in department stores (like Harvey Nichols and Selfridges), concept stores and niche perfumeries as well as www.juliettehasagun.com priced £75 (50ml) or £95 (100ml).