Sloane Wilson’s The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit was one of the first publicly voiced criticisms of American post-war life, questioning its idealized conformity and sameness. Adapted to film in 1956, Gregory Peck portrayed Tom Rath: a WWII veteran plagued with memories of the war, struggling to settle himself into a hard bearing corporate world and a tumultuous domestic life.
If there is any product left in the Geoffrey Beene licensing range that remotely represents the designer’s vision it is ironically the men’s fragrance Grey Flannel. Released in 1976 in conjunction with Elizabeth Arden, the scent’s development was overseen by Beene himself, achieving what has become an incredibly classic and intelligent fragrance for men. It is centered on a violet note, and when paired with sage, citrus, and sandalwood, the effect is incredibly masculine and sensual, think of it as a male version of Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist, sharing the comforting smell of a woolen fabric. But Grey Flannel is notably richer and deeper, carrying a subtle undertone of dissent amidst more obtuse yet willfully popular scents like Acqua Di Gio, Hugo by Hugo Boss, and L’Eau d’ Issey.
The best bit is that you can find the original formula almost anywhere for a steal, check out the dreary (but treasure filled) perfume section at Walgreens.