Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s just Jean Paul Gaultier’s new Superman edition of Le Male Eaux Fraîche

gaultier-superman-1

The arrival of a new Limited Edition bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male Eaux Fraîche each spring is one I always eagerly anticipate – mainly because you never quite know what they’re going to do with the bottle next. This year, they’ve teamed up with DC Comics for a superhero theme, with Superman adorning the men’s fragrance and Wonder Woman emblazoned on Le Male’s female counterpart, Classique. As ever, it’s eye-catching, collectible and huge fun and is guaranteed to fly off the shelves:  Superman style.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male Eaux Fraiche will be available from March 27th priced £58 for 125ml Eau Fraîche Natural Spray.

Ahoy there! There’s a new limited edition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male on the horizon!

JPG_LE MALE_2015 Ltd Ed_IMAGE 6BGenerally speaking I’m very suspicious of limited edition versions of popular fragrances (at the end of the day they’re essentially a way of shifting more units) but I’m always rather excited whenever there’s a new edition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic Le Male because they’re always such fun and so well executed. And since a new one emerges every spring I can’t be the only one who enjoys them. This year, the fragrance takes on a pirate theme, with a crimson skull and a pair of crossed sabres emblazoned on a sailor’s jersey. If you’re a collector you’ll no doubt want to add it to your swag but if you’re just a fan of Le Male and are running low this is the perfect time to replenish your stock. And I know it has a pirate theme but do me a favour and pay for it rather than just ‘appropriate’ it, ok?

Available from Feb 2nd while stocks last.

Jean Paul Gaultier talks fragrance

I was lucky enough to attend a special Fragrance Symposium at The Barbican centre recently in which perfumer Francis Kurkdjian – the man behind Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male  – and the famous fashion designer himself discussed all things fragrance. An interesting discussion it revealed that the enfant terrible has lost none of this cheeky charm and give a fascinating insight into the creation of his fragrances. Below is a video of the event, so if you get a spare few minutes have a watch. Oh, and make sure you check out the wonderful exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalkof which the symposium was a part.

Coming next year…a brief taster of three fragrances heading your way in Spring 2013

DAVIDOFF THE GAME - OPENED AND CLOSED BOTTLE+PACKDavidoff The Game

The vibe: Mining the Paco Rabanne 1 Million vein, this sweet, aromatic woody fragrance with its novelty casino chip bottle is clearly aimed at young, single lads looking for a punchy, accessible, not-too-scary, night-out fragrance. And in that respect it ticks all the boxes.

Key notes: Iris, blackwood and juniper to give it a “gin fizz” accord.

Verdict: it’s not going to stun anyone with its originality but has huge mass-market appeal. Expect to see it in The Perfume Shop’s best seller list.

versace-eros-profumo_650x478Versace Eros

The Vibe: Fresh, sweet, woody oriental fragrance with a slightly bombastic Eighties feel (and name).

Key notes: Mint, Green Apple, Tonka bean, Ambroxan, Geranium flowers, Vanilla, Vetyver, Cedarwood and an oak moss accord.

Verdict: with Eros as the name it’s positively tumescent with potential but alas, the juice is surprisingly pedestrian and though appears sexy initially (in a sweet, Thierry Mugler kinda way) it matures into something my nan might have worn. Fab bottle though…

gaultier le beau

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau Male

The vibe: Fresh, herbaceous and uber-commercial new Gaultier fragrance created taking a few cues from the original Le Male fragrance and housed in a reworked version of the familiar torso flacon. After the commercial disappointment of Kokorico it seems they’re taking no chances this time.

Key notes: mint, absinthe, lavender, orange blossom, sage, musk

Verdict: Refreshingly different from Le Male (a fragrance too heady for me) the hint of absinthe is lovely, as is icy freshness of the mint and slight soapiness of the sage. The signature Le Male lavender and orange blossom are still there at the fragrance’s core but thankfully the vanilla is barely noticeable in this incarnation. Wearable and not nearly as polarising as Le Male, which is both its biggest asset and biggest drawback.

 

Have Le Male Flask, will travel

If there’s one thing you can definitely say about Jean Paul Gaultier it’s that he knows how to keep his fans happy. His fragrance bottles are always huge fun and this limited edition travel flask version for his iconic Le Male fragrance is no exception. Cool eh? Collectors, crack open the piggy bank!

The Le Male Eau de toilette 125ml Travel Flask costs £55. A similarly-sized flask version of Le Male Terrible is also available for £57

Take a peek at Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male summer 2012 edition

Fan of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic Le Male fragrance? Collect the bottles? Then here’s a glimpse of this year’s summer variant, with its jungle theme torso. As usual the fragrance itself has been tweaked for summer by making it a little lighter, fresher and generally more sparkly. Cute innit?

Le Male Stimulating Summer Fragrance will be available from 2nd April priced £38.50 for 100 eau de toilette.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Christmas gift set for Le Male – as much fun as you can have with two fingers

Christmas gift sets can be so dull. You know the type of thing – a fragrance plus a shower gel in a boring old box. Well, here’s a gift set that’s anything but boring. In fact, the first time I got to touch one I was a bit like a five year old with a new toy.

See, this year’s Christmas coffret for Jean Paul Gaultier’s perennially-popular Le Male fragrance is carved from polystyrene and is fitted with two buttons at the sides which create a little snowstorm inside each time they’re pushed simultaneously.

If you’re a big kid like me, once you start playing with it you almost don’t care what the fragrance inside smells like (though it’s a classic so don’t worry). Possibly my favourite fragrance gift set this year. Certainly pushes my buttons anyway (sorry!)…

Available now, priced £39.50. Set includes a 75ml eau de toilette and a 100ml shower gel.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s new fragrance Kokorico reviewed

It doesn’t launch in the UK until January (an odd choice I know but perfectly timed for the Valentine market I guess) but already Jean Paul Gaultier’s lightest fragrance for men Kokorico is already creating a buzz in the fragrance world. The question on everyone’s lips, of course, is is whether it’s good as Le Male – a fragrance that, thanks to its iconic bottle, beautifully-shot ads and distinctive juice, has become a bona fide modern male classic.

The short answer is no. But then how could it? The bar has been set pretty high. Kokorico (inspired by a cocky rooster’s cry, but that’s Gaultier for you) is quite different from what I expected. A blend of fig leaf, patchouli, cedar, cocoa and vetivier, I was anticipating a distinctly gourmand fragrance but no, the fig leaf cuts right through the cocoa note giving this a surprisingly fresh, green, summery  smell. It will certainly work much better as a daytime fragrance than Le Male does and isn’t nearly as sweet or powerful.

As you might expect the bottle’s a quirky, shaped  like a man’s face in side profile and housed in a flat red tin (see the vid below for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the flacon). Gaultier fans are certainly going to love it but will it have the longevity of Le Male or will Kokorico just be a flight of fancy? Only time will tell.

Insider Interview: author, journalist and ‘motherfather’ of the metrosexual Mark Simpson

Few people know more about the rise of the well-groomed man than Mark Simpson. Described as ‘the world’s most perceptive writer about masculinity’ and the person credited with coining the term ‘metrosexuality’ (something that’s gained him praise and opprobrium in almost equal amounts), like me he’s lived through what amounts to a revolution in how men relate to their appearance. His lastest book Metrosexy: A 21st Century Love Story has just been released, providing me with the perfect opportunity to speak to him about how men’s interest in grooming (or beautyas ardent Simpsonistas would have it) has burgeoned over the last twenty years as well as to take a more intimate peek into his own personal regime…

GG: You and I are pretty much contemporaries and we both saw the beginnings of the grooming boom in this country. Having written my first article on male grooming back in 1985 I feel a bit like I was there at the birth and the graduation! Can you isolate one pivotal moment when taking care of their appearance suddenly became a totally acceptable pursuit for men?

MS: Well of course the youth cults of 70s Glam Rock and early 80s New Romanticism – which I believe you were pretty part of, Mr Kynaston: I’ve seen the kabuki photographic evidence – played a big role in telling men it was OK to be Prince Charming. That ridicule, in the immortal words of Adam Ant was ‘nothing to be scared of.’

But much more globally important was… Top Gun. The Tom Cruise cold-war fly-boy movie directed by Tony Scott in the style of a pop promo which came out in 1985, the year you started writing about male grooming.

After all, it’s a block-buster movie about male hair gel. Pretty much all the men in that film look fabulous, darling – even when they take their helmets off after a long, hot, sweaty dogfight. The famous volleyball sequence and long, lingering locker-room scenes also introduced a generation of young men to the delights of working out.

Despite being quite possibly The Gayest Movie Ever, Top Gun, an all-boys’ action movie, gave a generation of young straight men permission to take care over their appearance. It presented male narcissism as traditional, Republican, and patriotic. The young Tom Cruise as an All-American glamour boy.

GG: Is the rise of male grooming/beauty simply a reflection of men’s desire to be desired? Or is the availability and acceptance of grooming/beauty products driving narcissism?

MS: There’s a feedback loop between the two. On the one hand consumerism wants men to buy product – it effectively doubles the potential market for cosmetics. On the other hand… it turns out that men don’t need much persuading. Or much permission. Their desire to be desired, especially in an increasingly visual, Facebooked, webcam culture like ours, turns out to be pretty insatiable when given half a chance. So we’ve seen a kind of exponential growth in men’s interest in products that get them noticed. I mean, just a few years ago the working class orange male poseurs of ‘Geordie Shore’ would have been unthinkable, except perhaps as gay stereotypes….

GG: What’s your favourite men’s fragrance and why?

MS: To be honest, I don’t like men’s fragrances. At least on me. I like them all for about five minutes but then I get sick of them. On other men I like old stalwarts like Acqua di Gio. Even Aramis. And Jean-Paul Gaultier. Stuff like Brut or Old Spice was crap when I was a kid and is still crap, despite big recent marketing pushes. Irony doesn’t smell so good.

GG: What’s the one male grooming/beauty product you wouldn’t be without?

MS: My Phillips SensoTouch electric razor. I’m terrified of growing, even accidentally, one of those fashionable Soho beards. Wet shaving brings me out in a rash. The SensoTouch, in addition to looking like something you’d find in Darth Vader’s bathroom cabinet, is the next closest thing to a wet-shave – but with zero irritation.

GG: Ball-shaving, hair transplants, guyliner. All were once considered rather exotic but aren’t any more. Are there any taboos left in terms of male grooming/beauty?

MS: I remember that when women started having Botox injections it was said that men would never have them. And then when men started having them it was said they’ll never have them on the forehead. And now men are having them on their forehead.

It’s pretty clear that pretty much everything – with the possible exception of vajazzling – that women have used to enhance their attractiveness will eventually be taken up by men. (There is such a thing as a Pejazzle, of course, with Vajazzle.me.uk claiming 40% of customers are men. GG)

In the meantime however you see cosmetics manufacturers going to frankly camp extremes in trying to reassure the few (mostly middle aged) men who are holding out against metrosexuality that using moisturiser or deodorant is a really, really masculine, utterly butch thing to do. And not at all gay. Which is very good news for Gerard Butler and Eric Cantona’s agents.

GG: Describe your own morning grooming/beauty routine.

MS: It’s less a grooming routine these days – more damage limitation exercise. I rise and stumble into the shower. Where I remain for as long as I possibly can. I use Nizoral shampoo because I’m balding and studies suggest it can help slow that process. I use a buff-puff even though it makes me feel vaguely ridiculous because I’ve found it best for getting rid of dead skin, which I have a lot of, and unclogging pores, which I also have a lot of. Then I shave with my electric razor. I don’t use moisturiser, because I have rosacea, which gives you a big red face unless you use a prescription gel which I apply after my shave.

GG: How manscaped are you on a scale of 1 – 10?

MS: Probably a 9-10. I’m very Graeco-Roman in regard to body hair. Shave it off, I say. Show off the musculature – and add an inch where it counts. But also, in the words of the ‘YMCA’ song, get yourself clean. Which I don’t think you can do too easily if you’re hairy. In fact, I think they should bring back strigils, the curved metal scrapers Romans had their slaves use on them in their bath-houses.

GG: Make up for men has pretty much been a flop in commercial terms with many companies who launched products having since discontinued them. Why do you think this is when things like manscaping and even eyebrow shaping have taken off?

MS: Oh, I suspect male make-up will make a comeback in the near future. I hear it’s already been a success in the Asian market. After all, make-up is just another, more ‘in-yer-face’ form of cosmetics – and even good old Gillette shaving gel is choc full of cosmetics these days.

The problem though for men’s make-up and the reason why most men in the West are still holding out against it is that it isn’t something you can deny. Most other male cosmetics come with the alibi that no, you haven’t fake-baked you’ve just been working in the garden a lot….

The problem for men is that while they are increasingly expected to and indeed want to look good, unlike women they often feel they have to go about it semi-secretly. They need to be beautiful but they should also feel slightly ashamed about it. There’s a double standard about male beauty now. Men are expected to look fabulous, but pretend that they haven’t tried ‘too hard’. Make-up is currently defined as ‘trying too hard’.

On the other hand, Russell Brand gets away with it all the time.

GG: Many commentators complain that men are ‘becoming more like women’ with their grooming/beauty regimes. What would you say to this?

MS: I think it’s more a case of men no longer tying one hand behind their backs when it comes to the increasingly important business – both in private and public life – of looking good. Happily married Lord Sugar, for example, sometimes seems to display a weakness for an attractive, nicely turned-out male candidate. And of course, more and more bosses are female.

Instead of men becoming ‘more like women’ what we’re seeing is men being less inhibited in their behaviour by worries about what’s ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, ‘gay’ and ‘straight’. In much the same way that women have been since the feminist revolution of the 1970s. Likewise, ‘male beauty’ is no longer a completely verboten conjugation that has to always be euphemised with ‘male grooming’.

Basically it’s the end of the Victorian division of bedroom and bathroom labour that persisted for most of the 20th Century. Men want to be beautiful and sensual too now. And no one, even bitchy commentators, is going to stop them.

GG: Finally, who are your top three best-groomed men?

MS: David Beckham (now that he has dropped that Das Boot beard). Andrej Pejic. And my dad.

metrosexy is out now on Kindle. For more info click here.

For more information on Mark go to www.marksimpson.com. You can follow Mark  on Twitter @marksimpsonist

* Note: I don’t have a problem with the term ‘male beauty’ at all but do believe that had ‘male grooming’ been called ‘male beauty’ all these years the uptake would have been much, much slower. I’ve spent a decade at the coal face of the industry, encouraging men – in a very practical way – to take an interest in their appearance and whilst I know male ‘grooming’ is an artificial construct to give beauty a butch face I also know it has allowed metrosexuality to flourish in a way male ‘beauty’ never would have. It may be beauty by the back door but that’s fine by me. As long as men’s interest in their appearance continues I don’t care!  GG

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male summer fragrance goes all Maori

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male isn’t just a fragrance phenomenon. Thanks to the continual supply of limited edition versions (and bottles) it’s become a collecting phenomenon, too, with many fans desperate to snap up the latest quirky bottles for their collections.

Latest in the line up is this Maori motif tattooed torso for the Stimulating Summer Fragrance – a seasonal version of Le Male. Unlike many fragrance repackages Gaultier’s work because they’re always clever, fun and playful – a bit like the man himself I guess.

As for the fragrance (yes, that’s important too) this summer version isn’t quite as sweet and heavy as the regular version and is perked-up with summery notes of lavender and mint, making it perfect as the weather starts to warm up.

Available now priced £37.50 for 125 ml.