Ma Dame (Eau de Toilette) by Jean Paul Gaultier

Ma Dame 2008 Eau de Toilette

03.10.2022 - 05:29 PM

Not a Lady

First of all let's look at the bottle. This is a Gaultier feminine that doesn't use the body shape. Instead it's basically Terre d'Herm├Ęs with the Classique bottle form pressed into in the back. A straight-up-and-down rectangle, the flacon is abstract, de-sexed.

And the scent is a bitter, dusty, fruity-rose with a plastic lily, light-powdered with creamy musk. Even though it's not green there's a dark venomous quality to Ma Dame that makes it feel like a distant cousin of Envy.

A dry bitter floral, with the usual woman's body encased in a (glass) box - all sexiness constrained in straight lines - what's going on here?

Ma Dame could have been the ambience of a Gaultier runway; emaciated figures marching up and down shooting mean looks at the camera... It embraces the non-sexy, non-friendly feel of a fashion show, but for a feminine scent - destined for the 'average' woman in the street - Ma Dame bends the codes in a drastic manner. It's daringly unsweet, not floral in the ordinary way; seething with discontent, the bitterness is more attuned to a bitchy teen than any 'Mrs' of the title.

Could it be a critique of the status quo?

It may be a coincidence, but when Ma Dame was released in 2009, the media were talking about Size Zero, the tiny clothes that women were told to wear in fashion shoots. This caused one model - Katie Green - to become ill from crash dieting; and so she teamed up with a Northern Irish politician to campaign against the practice, and to cut it all short, Size Zero has now been banned in many countries.

Could Ma Dame have been part of a critical mass that ended this practice?

Not only has Size Zero fallen by the wayside, Ma Dame has also disappeared. Which is no surprise really, but that's not to say it's been forgotten, prices on auction sites are about the same as for new perfume; there's still a healthy interest it seems...
0 Replies

Latest Reviews

WildGardenerWildGardener 13 days ago
History is full of artists who, having had a good idea, work it up into a grand theme: the dark self portraits of Rembrandt, the flowing counterpoint of Bach, the screen prints of Andy Warhol. Ernest Beaux certainly fits into this category;...
WildGardenerWildGardener 2 months ago
"C'est trop bon !" the French sometimes say; 'it's really good' : meaning literally - it's too good. A powdery toffee woods with a weird hint of medicine ... those who know Joop! Homme will see the connection... If you want bitter-sweet you may like...