The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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‘Divine’ is as different as a Jean Paul Gaultier corset

Marie Benoît Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 08:26 Last update: about 3 months ago

'Divine' is as different as a Jean Paul Gaultier corset

I recall a time when most perfumes launched in Malta were done so with a considerable amount of fanfare, often with a representative coming from abroad, a presentation and a reception.

This does not happen so often these days.  Nevertheless, new perfumes are regularly launched, but quietly.  So many fashion houses come out with a new perfume, to the delight of their 'followers'.  Let us name but a few of these fashion houses: Chanel, Armani, Prada, Hermès, Dior, Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, Sciaparelli and Worth, the last two unfortunately now extinct. ... The latest launch with fanfare and style was that of the Jean Paul Gaultier creation: Divine.  


I have known the Muscat family, directors of Ta'Xbiex Perfumery Ltd, well before I was editor of First magazine, The Malta Independent's monthly glossy, still going strong but now no longer in my hands.

My sisters and myself used to buy our perfumes from a pharmacy in Valletta, where a relative of Victoria Muscat, was pharmacist, her aunt perhaps.  She was a  chain-smoker and would allow us to try the perfumes until we decided which we liked best. So, we willingly parted with our hard-earned cash for she was friendly and generous.

Ta' Xbiex Perfumery have always given us advertising, they still do. So, a launch means getting together again with them knowing that it would be a well-organized and pleasant evening.

This time it was for the launch of Divine, Jean Paul's Gaultier's latest perfume, signed by Quentin Bisch, the renowned perfumer.  

Now, I am not one to want to smell like a sweet shop, or a caramelised chocolate curry puff, or a punnet of strawberries.  I am addicted to sugar but I don't want sugary tones in my perfume.

The response to perfume is customarily so primal. Books, songs or paintings can grow on you. Even people can grow on you. But perfume is knee-jerk, no argument. "Goodness, she smells like a joss stick. Awful." Or, "Oh my God, that's heaven, what is it, where did you get it? I want to bathe in it."

So, Ta'Xbiex Perfumery had a splendid launch for the new, refillable, Jean Paul Gaultier at the Casino Maltese, recently. Around 100 guests, mostly women, some from Gozo turned up. They were shop owners, their staff and members of the media. The evening started off with drinks and canapés. Old friendships were renewed and new ones made.

 To the wonderful singing of Casta Diva by the divine Maria Callas we took our places in one of the halls, where the napped tables had vases of lilies, one of the ingredients in the making of the new perfume.

James Muscat, CEO of Ta'Xbiex Perfumery gave us a slick presentation. JPG was introduced to fashion by his grandmother. He was naturally gifted and worked for Hermès, Pierre Cardin, Jean Patou. He created the iconic women's corset with cone bra and put men into skirts, thus injecting novelty into men's fashion. He has been dressing - and undressing - women, including Madonna, for decades.  What didn't he do, the enfant terrible of French fashion who never had formal training of any kind.

James said a great deal about the perfume. To embody this new spirited goddess to represent the new perfume Jean Paul Gaultier has chosen a well-known woman who is feminine, socially engaged, an activist: Yara Shahidi, half American, half Iranian and defends women's causes.

The evening was entertaining what with quizzes for which prizes were won and the trying out of the new perfume; the passing of different comments, some witty, by people who know a great deal about perfumes, as they sell them.

Divine has a salty note, lily and a touch of meringue. It is a sunny and addictive perfume and created to celebrate women. Apart from the eau de parfum there is a shower gel and a satiny body lotion.

Once the presentation was over the eating and drinking resumed with gusto. Corinthia are now taking care of the catering at the Casino Maltese and every crumb was delicious.

We admired the installations, drink in hand. The Divine bottle has raw sex appeal and made for spirited goddesses. You cannot help congratulating JPG, the gifted designer, as you spritz yourself with this new sunny eau de parfum, cheering yourself up and those around you.


Photos: Fran Stivala
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