Friday, March 11, 2011
Carven - Ma Griffe
The couture house of Carven was founded in 1945 by Madame Carven. She was a novice in the industry, but soon became much sought after for her clean, fresh designs that epitomized French chic. Ma Griffe, which roughly translates as my signature, was released in 1946 and was named for Carven's signature green and white striped dress. The box design is still patterned in green and white.
Ma Griffe is a green chypre, but one that leans more towards a floral than the dry greeness of Givenchy III or Silences. It opens with aldehydes and citrus and blooms into a sheer, light gardenia with green notes. An interesting hint of cinnamon accents the gardenia and the whole thing dries down to a cinnamon and wood, resiny base.
I have the modern bottle, and I have a vintage sample, but unfortunately the top notes in the vintage have gone sour. The base notes are still there however, and it seems to me that the labdanum and styrax were much stronger notes once. There is an almost incense quality to the vintage.
I think Madame Carven wanted something that combined freshness with self-confidence, like her dress design. It was a perfume to appeal to the new working girls, making their own money and their own way in the world after the war.
Something else was released in 1946 that put a spotlight on the new post-war, independent woman. The Big Sleep, by Howard Hawkes is as dark, rainy and complicated as Ma Griffe is light and playful, but its beautiful, sexually-confident young women remind me of Ma Griffe.
this sexy-geek librarian is priceless.
Anyway, sorry for the long non-perfume-related post. If you've never seen The Big Sleep, I highly recommend you run out and get it right away. And maybe spritz on a little Ma Griffe while watching, to get the real authentic experience.
Nose: Jean Carles
Notes: Top notes are aldehydes, gardenia, green notes, asafoetida, clary sage and citruses; middle notes are orris, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose; base notes are labdanum, sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, benzoin, oakmoss, vetiver and styrax.