Monday, June 16, 2008

Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Pink wasn't always a feminine color. Until the 1940s, pink was for boys and blue was for girls. This lends support to the notion that the color preferences come from culture rather than biology. Culture, of course, isn't etched in stone as an eternal rule but shaped by people who either choose to believe or not believe the past or current notion of a cultural code or fashion "norm". Such a perceived norm is shaped by the majority--but just because it's popular doesn't make it a "truth", and hip people who refuse to be brainwashed by the dictates of fashion know better than to follow trends just because others do. There was a time men "should" have short hair, and women "should" wear skirts, and some people are still fighting for the freedom to express themselves in ways they want without being bullied or pressured into convention. Be encouraged that pink and blue and their respective meanings have surely flipped and voilà--the earth was never flat. Society doesn't rule us, but we shape it with newly acquired knowledge separating us from our parents' generation. Each generation has values we want our society to reflect, and with a longterm vision of what we want the world to be for future generations, we can make certain archaic notions obsolete.

Blue, particularly pale blue, was said to be a feminine color because it was more delicate and dainty than the fiery character of red. Red and pink, the lighter shade of red, were deemed more appropriate for boys (and occasionally for dark-haired (or less fair and delicate than blonde) girls). Blue is also associated with the Virgin Mary in Catholic tradition. By the 1930s in Germany, pink may already have been a popular color for girls. German Nazis assigned different colors to the prisoners of concentration camps, reversing the masculine association of the color pink by assigning it to homosexuals, symbolized by a pink triangle (inverted triangle, an upside down phallic symbol (triangles are also used to signify rank)). Today, the pink triangle is a symbol of Gay Pride.

Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass (1934), to my 21st century nose, is a gender-bender scent and smells like it could easily have been a men's fragrance. It's an evanescent and sporty Aromatic-Floral lavender blend focused on powdery notes with a bit of spice, not very different from Dana Canoe (1932). Hyacinth and jasmine make it slightly indolic and leaning on the greener spectrum of the white floral range. It also seems related to Worth Je Reviens (1932), a soft, powdery floral fragrance with a touch of spice that came in several different blue bottles designed by Lalique. If girls were made of sugar and spice and everything nice, the Blue Grass woman might have a bit of tomboy in her and be able to ride a horse well. It's a thoroughly old-fashioned fragrance to me, and challenging for me to wear, but I also feel it's a bonafide classic worthy of testing. According to Jan Moran's book, Fabulous Fragrances, Blue Grass is a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II who, according to Jan Moran, also favors Guerlain L'Heure Bleue.

The color blue, aside from Blue Iris being the Pantone 2008 Color of the Year, is associated with water, the moon, intuition, fidelity, femininity, spirituality and magic. Blue may also signify sadness, the devil, the working class (blue collar) and European aristocracy (blue-blooded).