Gone, But Not Forgotten Series Part 5: British Eccentricity – Anglomania by Vivienne Westwood

Anglomania
“Anglomania is quite a blowsy scent, a fact that is only emphasised by the quite, erm, ‘breasty’ advertising image.”

Vivienne Westwood is the epitome of British eccentricity. A self-taught designer, mother of punk and general, all round odd ball, Westwood put British fashion on the map and her mixture of shabby chic and unusual tailoring has proved to be timeless.

Dame Viv has released five fragrances (not including flankers); Boudoir, Libertine *, Anglomania *, Let it Rock * and Naughty Alice, three of which have since been discontinued. If I’m being perfectly honest the fragrances from the line have been a mixed bag, Boudoir is a great, slightly filthy chypre, Libertine is a pretty decent floral citrus (it used to be a favourite of mine until my tastes developed), Let it Rock was a dreadful oriental and don’t get me started on Naughty Alice…..Anglomania is the best and most interesting of the bunch.

Anglomania is named after Westwood’s recurring collection of the same name and the scent is intended to evoke “Asian intensity with British heritage” [1]. It was released in 2004 and was created by the great Domique Ropion (Carnal Flower, Alien, Geranium Pour Monsieur to name but a few), it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Anglomania Artwork

The Notes

Top: Cardamom, Coriander and Green Tea
Heart: Rose Otto, Nutmeg and Violet
Base: Vanilla, Amber and Leather [1]

How Does it Smell?

Anglomania is a perfume of contrasts, contrasts of East and West. It opens with a rich, red and powdery rose that evokes the image of an English country garden. The rose is joined by a mélange of spices, including pepper, cardamom and coriander, the coriander is the strongest and it adds a slight savoury nuance that counterbalances the sweetness of the rose.

The opening works, after all a spicy rose is a bit of a perfume staple, but the choice of spices is what makes it different. Another interesting thing about Anglomania is its unusual vinyl accord that, rather than unsettling the balance, gives the whole thing a new, contemporary vibe and is only intensified by the addition of sweet, powdery violets. The addition of vinyl is interesting but it’s not surprising, Dame Viv doesn’t shy away from controversy and the plastic nature of the fragrance harks back to the fetish clothing sold in her and Malcom McLaren’s first shop SEX.

As the heart develops the plastic vibe subdues and Anglomania takes a dive into lactonic territory, the rose drops some of the spice and everything becomes quite milky. My only grumble would be the fact that this part of the fragrance becomes quite cloying if the temperature rises. There seems to be a slight lack of cohesion between the powdery nature of the rose and the milky parts, which is only amplified by warm skin. Anglomania is quite a blowsy scent, a fact that is only emphasised by the, erm, ‘breasty’ advertising image.

Anglomania’s next evolution is a wonderful base of leather and vanilla. The sweetness of both notes and the remnants of the rose really do smell damn good together and I love the fact that you can still smell touches of spice here and there. After a while the vanilla takes over and along with the last parts of the rose it creates a warm, creamy and cosy dry down.

I won’t say that Anglomania is one of my all time favourites, it really isn’t, but I wouldn’t want to be without it. It’s a very unusual take on rose, the rose is instantly recognisable but at the same time there is enough new ‘stuff’ in there to make it different. Anglomania does an excellent job of mashing Asian and British influences together in an entirely wearable scent that truly does evoke the Vivienne Westwood aesthetic, it will be sorely missed.

Why Was it Discontinued?

Vivienne Westwood fragrances are cursed. No, I’m joking, they’re not cursed but they seem to suffer from a severe lack of promotion and whilst they aren’t wildly outrageous they aren’t exceptionally commercial either. Her first fragrance, Boudoir, has been really popular and has enjoyed a number of flankers, but the others haven’t been so lucky and Anglomania especially suffered from bad luck, it lasted a short couple of years before it was unfairly discontinued

Availability

You can still find bottles of Anglomania on eBay and at the discounters but as it was discontinued quite a few years ago it does seem to be becoming more scarce. Do pick it up if you see it.

Disclaimer

This review is based on a bottle of Anglomania from my own personal collection.

* The ones that have been discontinued.

[1] basenotes.net

Image 1 Anglomania Advert

Image 2 coggles.com
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