Luxury niche fragrance house By Kilian has just announced its forthcoming collection, In the Garden of Good and Evil. This collection is inspired by the Biblical story of original sin in the Garden of Eden, and each of its three perfumes is presented in a white lacquer box adorned with a golden serpent.
In a publicity photograph for the new line, Kilian Hennessy poses with a scaly companion. I suppose we’re meant to read this image as a sexy, subversive allusion to the Old Testament.
We all know that Eve, the first woman, was tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden and ended up tasting the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The pairing of a sensuous woman with a sinuous snake has been a powerful motif in art and literature ever since that story was first told.
One of the iconic twists on that subject from our own lifetime is Richard Avedon’s photograph of Natassia Kinski. Symbolically and visually, it’s a beautiful, provocative image.
On the other hand, when I encounter a man with a python draped around his body, it’s usually something more along these lines.
Probably not the association that Monsieur Hennessy intended.
Images: By Kilian promotional image via By Kilian; Adam and Eve (detail) by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1513-15), via Wikimedia Commons; Natassja Kinski and the Serpent, Los Angeles, June 1981 by Richard Avedon, via the Richard Avedon Foundation; Snakeman, Village, NYC by Elvert Barnes, via Flickr.