Earlier today, PBFriend mentioned in a review that there are some houses she just "doesn't get". In my case, the big fat question mark is nearly always hovering above the house of Kilian, or is it "By Kilian"--not sure whether they finally realized that the preposition was a silly idea and have omitted it permanently from the name, or only from the sample set folio of the "In the Garden of Good and Evil" collection. Perhaps they were testing the waters: all other things kept the same (type of rhetoric, etc.) do consumers buy more perfumes from houses whose names are not preceded by prepositions? Honestly, I sometimes wonder, believe it or not, whether (by) Kilian might be an elaborate marketing experiment being conducted by the gurus at LVMH. Perhaps you think that I jest.
My first issue with this house is the radical chasm spanning their hyperbolic pseudo-erotic texts and symbolism and the incredibly genteel and polite quality of their compositions. FORBIDDEN GAMES offers yet another example of what I'm talking about. Here is the marketing text for this perfume:
"When going beyond the boundaries has never been so exciting and dangerously attractive."
Let's see: what boundaries would those be? I ask because, to my nose, this perfume smells an awful lot like Nelly APPLE BOTTOMS: a sweet apple blossom in a clean resinous musky base with a few embellishments thrown in, but overall a high-quality fruity-floral fragrance. So naturally my first reaction upon donning FORBIDDEN GAMES was: what is supposed to be "forbidden" here? According to a well-known folk adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." So apples are healthy. Why would they be forbidden?
The only sense which I have been able to make of this involves a possible biblical allusion to the Garden of Eden, and the temptation to bite into the apple which led to--or was it constitutive of?--The Fall. That is a coherent interpretation, to be sure, but I still find that the quality of this fruity-floral fragrance is so innocent and juvenile that it is very difficult to associate it with any form of vice, least of all those of the "adult" kind.
In fact, it's not even possible to commit the sin of gluttony in the case of apples, because they contain so much water and fiber, that it's not humanly possible to exceed one's RDA of calories through overindulging.
Am I giving (by) Kilian too much credit here? Perhaps. This is an apple blossom perfume, and I believe that in a blind side-by-side test with Nelly APPLE BOTTOMS there are few people who would be able to pick out the haute niche from the mainstream offering. The quality seems very similar to me.
I did not want to rush to judgment on this matter, so after donning FORBIDDEN GAMES this morning, I decided to dig out my small bottle of APPLE BOTTOMS. I haven't worn that perfume since I reviewed it, so it took about ten minutes to find, but once I did, I confirmed my initial impression that the two compositions are very similar. Perhaps this should be viewed as a compliment to APPLE BOTTOMS rather than an insult to FORBIDDEN GAMES?
Which brings me to another gripe. "Jeux Interdits" [Forbidden Games] is the name of a justly celebrated film directed by René Clément in 1952. I realize that words belong to everyone, but come on, Kilian: why choose the title of an incredibly famous anti-war film? What does it have to do with a fruity-floral frag?
I don't want to blame Kilian himself for this conceptual mess, my best guess is that we have LVMH to thank, yet again.