4/7/13

Fan di Fendi Pour Homme



The remarkable thing about postmodern fresh aromatic fougères like Paco Rabanne, Azzaro Pour Homme, Drakkar Noir, Cool Water, and Polo Sport, is that their structures are "first drafts" of type, yet largely perfect. Paco Rabanne and Azzaro were at least close to perfect, with Kouros and Rive Gauche Pour Homme later showing us what needed work. Drakkar Noir, as far as I'm concerned, has never really been improved upon. It was one of the first aromatic fougères to incorporate noticeable traces of dihydromyrcenol, setting the stage for Cool Water, but contemporaries like Lomani Pour Homme and Taxi failed to add anything groundbreaking to its structure. The same uniqueness applies to Cool Water, with Polo Sport taking the idea to its only workable extreme. Fougères are unusual creatures in that they have a core structure of a handful of notes, around which hundreds of variations can be utilized, yet only a few dozen tweaks actually smell good. If you stretch lavender too far in one direction, or coumarin in the other, you wind up with caricature rather than coherent design. Yet these components demand to be caricatured. It's not unheard of in modern (note, not 'post modern') fougères to caricature everything into extreme poles as an exercise in seamless function and balance, the olfactory equivalent of a Mark Rothko painting. Fragrances like Pino Silvestre, Moustache, and Caron Pour un Homme have shown us how that should be done. The results are sometimes breathtaking.

Nowadays we inhabit a time and place where people have forgotten their ancestors, and make old mistakes new again. I've seen this happen to Hollywood in the last ten years, and it's been driving me crazy. Once upon a time, studios and directors devoted extra attention to screenwriting and special effects crews. Then Spielberg came along with Jurassic Park (the 3-D version of which I saw yesterday, btw - unnecessary but still great), and the word was out: Computer Generated Imagery is the only way to make anything fantastic seem "real." Never mind that Jurassic Park is visually stunning because it cleverly combines CGI with animatronic dinosaurs, making it twice as hard for us to discern what is and isn't real. It takes me back to the days when studios thought clay animation and puppets would enhance the look of unreal creatures like King-Kong, or the skeleton army in Jason and the Argonauts. The human eye can be fooled to a certain extent, but the optic nerve connecting it to the brain clamps down on anything even remotely implausible, alerting our cognition that movements are a touch jerky, textures are a hair too blurry, colors aren't comporting to the natural palette, and therefore, despite all efforts to the contrary, we're seeing something to be considered false.

This dynamic applies to our noses as well. The combination of natural and synthetic materials in a composition determines its balance and plausibility. Today I'm wearing Sung Homme, and although it is largely synthetic, the few trace naturals in its pyramid make the fragrance amenable to scrutiny. A few drops of real cinnamon and clove oil works wonders in a forest of lab-made flowers and woods. It's far from perfect, but it smells good. This brings me to Fan di Fendi Pour Homme, a department store fragrance from the once-venerable house that brought us the great Fendi Donna, which is now discontinued. While it smells rather good in a conventional citrus, dessicated herbs, and dry woods manner, it doesn't have any overtly natural elements within its streamlined structure to recommend it. It's also strangely sweet, without the fresh-fruity ambiance of progenitors like Cool Water, and its nineties late-cousin, Allure Homme. It's as if the nose thinks coumarin's bittersweet, hay-like nature is fine, but its position and role in the aromatic structure is too fine, and in need of diffusion. Reader, I can tell you that FdF ph is an aspirational masculine that sets a low bar for itself, and doesn't even try to surpass it. I encourage you to set a higher bar for yourself, and simply wear any one of the fragrances listed above to better effect.








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