The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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thesilenceofthelambs_bornunicorn (3)This is one of the most famous scenes from the Jonathan Demme film – the first time in which Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) meet. His reaction to her presence is eerie: there’s a thick perspex surface separating the two characters, but he is able to detect, through the holes in the perspex, what she smells like. He smells “Evyan skin cream”; he also realizes she sometimes wears Nina Ricci L’air du temps, “but not today”.

evyanwhiteshoulderslotion_bornunicornLet’s focus on the first product for a moment: the script spells it “Evyan”, not “Evian”, so Thomas Harris (the author of the Hannibal saga) was referring to a perfumed body lotion, not to a French mineral water-based product. By “Evyan” I believe he was referring to the American brand’s most famous perfume, White Shoulders. Originally launched in 1945, it is a triumph of white flowers: it includes notes of gardenia, jasmine, lily of the valley, orange flower and tuberose. Since he mentions L’air du temps soon after, I think it’s natural for him to talk about two perfumes, not about a (probably scentless) face moisturizer and a perfume.

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The second reference is pretty clear: Clarice sometimes wears the iconic perfume by Nina Ricci, created by Francis Fabron and released in 1948, a symbol of innocence (see the beautiful doves on the stopper). Among its middle notes, we can find jasmine and gardenia, so can we assume Clarice loves white floral perfumes?

 

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