Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”: Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Perfume Ad

I’ve been a fan of Atelier Cologne since its line arrived in New York in 2010. I like several of the fragrances and I also admire the beautifully photographed object-collages that accompany each scent, to set a mood and tell a story.

Those visuals usually seem quite personal, as though the owners of Atelier had composed them from favorite possessions. (In fact, I believe they did do this for the initial group of fragrances, at least.) However, the photograph for recent launch Rose Anonyme has me raising an eyebrow. One one hand, it’s a bit generic: the items don’t really seem to belong to anyone. On the other hand, there’s something oddly familiar about the appearance of a mask, a set of handcuffs, and a key, all processed into grisaille.

I’m using grisaille as a fancy word for “monochromatic gray,” and without actually spelling it out in words that can be caught in the Google net, I’ll say that this particular set of objects (including long black gloves and a dagger-like implement) made me think of a certain trilogy of books and their covers.

I’m really hoping that this similarity is just a coincidence, because I genuinely like Atelier Cologne’s philosophy and products. Rose Anonyme is being promoted with a narrative about a seductive female jewel thief, which might explain some of the items in the photo, but not the carnival mask or the cuffs.

I’ve made a very deliberate choice not to read the above-mentioned books, for a range of reasons that I won’t go into here. And I’m tired, so tired of reading punny “Gray”-inspired headlines in every magazine and every newspaper “lifestyle” section that I happen to pick up. I’ve clung to the idea that the fragrance world is one little space that hasn’t been infected with this inexplicable obsession and the interest in its ripple-effect money-making potential.

Maybe I’m just seeing things because I’ve been brainwashed by the over-exposure these books have received.

I certainly hope so.

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10 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”: Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Perfume Ad

  1. Good call! I can see what you mean about the similarities. I have not, nor will I ever, read those books. I did hear excerpts from one on my local sports radio station. They did a parody which used the name Guay instead of Gray because one of the hosts is named Tanguay. I have to say that was some funny morning radio which highlighted what, to me, was some pretty awful writing. I’m with you though about having seen enough of the references to these books and hearing the chatter of my coworkers. I guess we could be happy that at least people are reading. :)

  2. Are you familiar with the joke about the Rorcharch test? ;)

    Since I haven’t read books mentioned (and do not plan to), it’s hard for me to be 100% sure the picture has nothing to do with their influence but in my mind, since I read both stories – for female thief Rose Anonyme (hence the mask) and for the detectve (?) Vetiver Fatale trying to catch her (handcuffs), the picture (especially if you take a look at theif FB good resolution picture in Albooms) reminds more of Philip Marlowe and all the esthetics related to this period and that genre. But I might be wrong, of course.

  3. I’m with you! I’m a fan of Atelier Cologne and I love their fragrance visuals they use as ads too. And the one for Atelier Cologne is so beautiful. Mine bottle of it should arrive this week.

      1. Yes, it’s nice and they’re doing great and they’re just two years in the market.
        I also love Grand Neroli and Ambre Nue too!

        Their 30ml bottles are cute and handy.

  4. I also really like these little postcard/ad things from Atelier. I don’t think I like this one quite as well as some others, though (and I’ve never heard of those books before).

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