Beyond “sugar and spice”: The queer side of niche perfume

The world of perfume exhibits some of the most regressive and progressive tendencies when it comes to gender. On the one hand, mainstream designer offerings are typically rigidly segregated by gender with “women’s releases” constituting a vomitus of pink fruity florals in shapely bottles and men’s offerings focused on synthetic woods, ambers and leathers in […]

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Vicarious living through Comme des Garçons: Exoticism and cultural appropriation

When I finally got around to reading the first book in the historical mystery series featuring amateur Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, I was struck by its overtly imperialist aesthetic. Set in the late 19th century, it parodies and celebrates English archeologists. It also patronizes the local people at every turn. For the White Western reader, it […]

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Gender-bending fragrance choices: The courage to be queerly perfumed

Many outspoken male fragrance enthusiasts share childhood memories of being captivated by their mothers’ perfume. It’s such an iconic moment among non-gender conforming male perfume connoisseurs that it deserves its own film sequence: the mother sweeping up her little boy in a cloud of No. 19, Diorella, Chloe, or Halston. And then his secret missions […]

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