After much debate, I’ve come to terms with the fact that no Evian products were mentioned in the famous first dialogue between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. The point is that an Evian product actually appears in the movie and I’ve never noticed it before. It’s the classic mineral water spray with the pink cap, sitting on a chest of drawers in Clarice’s bedroom.
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”.
Let’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.
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?
There’s a mystery surrounding the men’s cologne mentioned in Roman Polanski’s Carnage. “Kouros” should refer to the Yves Saint Laurent aromatic fougere fragrance created by Pierre Bourdon and launched in 1981, but the bottle seen in the film is different. Moreover, later in the movie the cologne is referred to with a different name (“That smell of Kronos is killing me!”, says Penelope), and this adds more mystery to the matter.
[Post updated in May 2015] Now I can finally say the mystery has been solved. Thanks to the invaluable help of Claire, a reader of this blog, we can give an identity to the bottle: it was created by Ateliers Dinand for the film. The Parisian design studio, which has created some of the most famous perfume bottles (including Vera Wang Princess, Dolce & Gabbana, several Mona Di Orio perfumes and the new version of Yves Saint Laurent Opium), came up with a sleek bottle and a box whose pattern reminds me of Andrè Courréges logo.