Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shiny, shiny...

In the year or so since I came into contact with my first Bond No. 9 fragrance I've spent a lot of time getting to know the line. For those unfamiliar with Bond No. 9 they're a New York based niche perfume line whose scents are inspired by and/or named after different areas of New York, mainly in but not limited to Manhattan. Bond's got a large range of scents, 40-something in all I think, so familiarizing yourself with the line takes some time. Having sampled at least half of their offerings I think I can say that I enjoy what Bond does. The collection is pretty varied in that there are different scents that will no doubt appeal to different tastes. Some of their fragrances are very classic, some are experimental, and some are just plain fun. Bond is also well known for their whimsical packaging. Many of the bottles are extremely eye catching and highly collectible.

At this point I'd have to say that my favorite Bond fragrance has got to by Silver Factory, which was the first in a series of scents that are inspired by Andy Warhol. Silver Factory is of course named after Warhol's legendary studio space that was famously decorated with tin-foil and metallic paint and which became a gathering place for the eclectic cast of people who surrounded him, everyone from socialites and Warhol superstars like Baby Jane Holzer and Edie Sedgewick to the Velvet Underground. Not only was the Silver Factory the place where Warhol created and produced some of his most iconic prints and films, it was for a time the epicenter of the zeitgeist.

Silver Factory the perfume is an incredibly interesting experience as far as fragrances go, which seems fitting given it's source of inspiration. The most prominent aspect of Silver Factory has got to be the smokey incense that's front and center from the first spray. The rest of the notes are pretty varied, ranging from grapefruit to violet to amber, though they all combine pretty seamlessly. The first time I smelled it there was something vaguely metallic about the first blast, which I was informed is deliberate, although the more accustomed to this perfume I've become the less apparent that metallic aspect is to my nose. Even still the smokey incense that really is the focal point of Silver Factory leans towards the cold side; to me there isn't really any warmth to it like there is with many other incense-based fragrances. I would guess the inclusion of floral notes like lavender and iris probably has something to do with that since they have a somewhat "cold" aroma to them, especially lavender. There's also bit of a sweetness alongside the chilly smokiness, thanks in part (I would guess) to the violets and the jasmine that are in the heart of the fragrance. As the notes blur together in a smokey haze the effect is really beautiful, and while it's not a completely bizarre smelling perfume it is pleasantly unusual.

As I was saying earlier Bond has quite a range of scents that will appeal to different sensibilities. Andy Warhol Silver Factory definitely stands out as something quite different, and I'd say it sits firmly in the "experimental" category. As such it will absolutely not appeal to everyone, particularly those who don't like bold, heavy fragrances. If light and transparent is your thing then I don't see you liking this at all. Floral fans shouldn't be fooled by the flowers that are listed among the notes because it isn't a floral by any stretch of the imagination. If, however, your taste in perfumes leans towards spice, woods or rich ambers then you might want to check this frag out. Silver Factory is marketed as a genderless scent, and to me it really is the epitome of genderlessness. Some might feel that it skews a bit masculine due to the overall lack of anything truly sweet or soft, but I don't really think that it skews one way or the other on the gender spectrum. If anything it's kind of androgynous, which is really how it should be considering who inspired it.

images from bbcicecream and; for more information visit

Monday, November 15, 2010

Return of the King...

It's been six long years since Tom Ford took his last bow on a fashion runway, although take it from me at times it's felt like an eternity. There have truly been moments when I have been keenly aware that something was missing from fashion, and not surprisingly those times have usually coincided with fashion week. What I'm about to say might sound like I'm giving Ford too much credit, but I honestly believe that when Tom left Gucci fashion lost a bit of it's luster and excitement, and it still hasn't entirely recovered from that loss. While his departure certainly hasn't been the only cause of that, nor has it been the biggest blow to fashion, looking back it does seem like his farewell was the beginning of the end. Slowly fashion has become less glamorous and less seductive, not to mention that any kind of mystique surrounding the industry has been completely obliterated thanks to factors like the increasing influence of celebrities in fashion, the insane popularity of fashion among people who don't actually know anything about it, and the marketing of fashion as yet another form of entertainment. It also just seems like real fashion moments have become fewer and farther apart. Not all designers can create true excitement with a runway show, or an ad campaign, or a fragrance launch and whether you like him or loathe him the fact is that Tom Ford was, and is, capable of working a fashion moment for all it's worth.

In the six years since he bowed out of the theater of fashion he has collaborated with Estée Lauder, branded his name on status symbol eyewear, created a line of successful luxury fragrances, launched a full-scale menswear collection, dressed countless celebrities in said menswear, opened about 20 free-standing Tom Ford boutiques internationally, directed a critically acclaimed film, and recently expanded into cosmetics with his new line of lipsticks and soon-to-be-released nail lacquers. Writing it all down in one sentence kind of makes you appreciate just how busy he's been, and lord knows a self-proclaimed perfectionist like Ford isn't going to let any product with his name on it escape inspection. But despite all that he's done in the last six years the one thing that his fans have been most concerned with was when Ford would finally go back to designing womenswear and showing on a runway. Back in September right at the start of New York fashion week, after years of waiting, speculation, and wondering "what would it be like?" the news spread like wildfire that Ford would finally be launching his women's collection with an intimate presentation at his Madison Avenue flagship. As the scoop leaked we found out that not only would celebrities be modeling the clothes but that photography of any kind was strictly prohibited. That news just about killed my buzz until the reviews from the show started pouring in the day after it took place. In all seriousness I cannot for the life of me remember a show that garnered such unanimously glowing reviews from those in attendance, and the descriptions of the scene, the clothes and the impressive cast of celebrities, style icons, veteran supermodels and in demand new faces that graced the catwalk only stoked the flames of anticipation. With the reviews there were a few snapshots that quickly made the online rounds, adding to the excitement. It was after the show that the reason for the media ban was announced; Ford would not only be relaunching his website with photos and video footage of the presentation come winter, but he would also be guest editing the December/January issue of Vogue Paris where the collection would be featured in it's entirety. What we didn't know was that American Vogue would also have a feature on Ford's women's debut and that the feature would be available before Vogue Paris. So here it is, kids. Savor it, because who knows how long it will be before we get more.

Gorgeous, not that I'm at all surprised. I don't know about you, but for me winter can't come soon enough. Needless to say that when it does, and when the rest of the features finally become available I will be reviewing the entire collection as soon as the euphoria wears off.

all images from thanks to Flashbang at tFS

Monday, November 1, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side...

Here in the Northeast fall is in full swing, and while I'm already sick of the shortened days and I'm absolutely dreading winter I do take some comfort in the fact that this time of year suits my perfume personality better than any other. I've already put all of my crisp citruses, beachy tropical stuff and light eau de colognes in storage and broken out the woods, incenses and ambers. Along with my regular lineup I have a whole slew of new samples that I've been dying to try out.

Thus far I've sampled about a third of the 21 individual scents in Tom Ford's Private Blend collection, which is his own niche-style line. Of those that I've sampled I've only ever worn four of them, and of the ones I've worn Tuscan Leather was the one that made the biggest impact on me. When I first smelled Tuscan Leather, and it was probably close to a year ago, I wasn't at all familiar with leather fragrances, but something about it called to me and I decided to put some on my wrist for the day. It didn't take long for me to love it. There is something very, very sexy about Tuscan Leather. I've always felt that there was something inherently sexy about leather clothing, but I always assumed that it's the look of it and, more than anything else, the attitude it conveys. I never really thought that the smell had anything to do with it's appeal, and frankly I still don't. But it could be that Tuscan Leather is so evocative of the way new leather smells that it paints a clear mental image of the way it looks and feels as well.

To me the spirit of TL is more Elvis' 1968 comeback special or Marlon Brando in "The Wild One" than pre-gentrification Meatpacking District or Folsom Street Fair. It hints at the wearer's bad boy side without going into specifics about what kind of kinky stuff they're into. While that smoky leather stage lasts the feel of this Eau de Parfum is very masculine, even to the point of being butch. At some point, I'd say between the 30 and 60 minute marks, the scent changes subtly. It's almost like a creamy haze spreads over the leather, softening the rough edges and taming the smoke without completely neutering it. That creamy, hazy, softened leather is what remains as the fragrance gradually fades out, and let me tell you, the fragrance fades out very slowly. While I've never actually timed it, I'd guess that one or two dabs of Tuscan Leather lasts for a solid 7 hours, probably longer.

I've truly enjoyed Tuscan Leather each time that I've worn it, and I'm thrilled that it's finally cool enough to wear it. It's probably the butchest, most unabashedly masculine fragrance currently residing in my scent wardrobe. Price notwithstanding (you could buy a decent leather jacket for the same price as a small bottle of this juice) I could easily see myself using it as an everyday kind of fragrance. To me there's nothing about it that's particularly dressy, not that it's really casual either. I guess depending on the setting it could go either way. What does limit it though is it's potency and it's strength. I couldn't picture myself wearing Tuscan Leather once the temperature tops 60° F. The name alone kind of tells you that it's a bit too heavy for the heat. To me Tuscan Leather is the perfume equivalent of a five o'clock shadow; a little rugged, a little dirty, and so very sexy. It's definitely my type.

images from and