François Hénin and Emmanuelle Varron, Jovoy
Philip Johnson, architect
Modernism was specific: It updated the traditional, classical forms for the early 20th-century man. (In the early 20th century, basically, everyone who counted was a man.) Modernism believed in “the grand narrative,” in art being coherent, in good taste and bad. Post-Modernism thought all of that was crap. It set about destroying the idea of objective “good taste,” of boundaries between high and low art, and of aesthetics being coherent. Post-Modernist architect Philip Johnson famously placed a gigantic pediment used by 18th-century furniture maker Thomas Chippendale (born in 1708) on the roof of his 20th-century 37-story-tall glass-and-steel AT&T tower (built in 1984). The tower gave the finger to the Modernist rules of How Towers Should Be.
Amélie Bourgeois has created its counterpart in scent. “Rouge Assassin” is not for men. Or women. (Perfumes were almost always for “men” or “women” till the 1990s.) It is not a “wood” or a “floral.” It uses recognizable pieces of life—those who experience it often describe one of these as the smell of lipstick; others smell smoke—and pieces that are utterly unidentifiable. It is heavy as a 1940s perfume, and it is linear as a 2010s scent. It gives the Post-Modernist finger to rules of How Perfumes Should Be, and you smell it on its own terms.