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 them, 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”.
Let’s focus on the first product – a body lotion – for a moment: by “Evyan” I believe Dr. Lecter is 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.
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?