There’s a can of Aquanet hairspray on Vera Miles’ dressing table.
Has anyone ever listed the ways Dr. Lecter hates Old Spice after-shave? The popular shaving lotion is mentioned in the 1981 novel by Thomas Harris and ever since. All the Hannibals we’ve seen on tv or on the silver screen have expressed their hatred for it: the one played by Brian Cox in Manhunter (1985) by Michael Mann, Anthony Hopkins in the 2002 film and Mads Mikkelsen in the NBC tv show.
For such a refined character, Old Spice is a symbol of uncouthness and carelessness. “Something a child would select,” the doctor remarks with what I think is a pinch of envy: Will has a family; someone who loves him always selects this perfume for him, even if it’s atrocious, something that Lecter will never experience.
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?