Alexander McQueen’s perfume line was both infamous and short lived. Perhaps better known for the erotically charged skank-bomb Kingdom than its other offerings, McQueen’s perfumes were nowhere near as successful as they were artistic or ultimately as they deserved to be.
Following in the same vein as his fashion output McQueen’s first perfume Kingdom was a renegade scent created to shock, however the second and final perfume from the brand – MyQueen – was something entirely different, opting to reference the subtle intricacies of the designer’s sculptural tailoring rather than courting the realms of controversy.
Created in 2005 by perfumers Anne Flipo (Ananas Fizz, La Chasse aux Papillons & Donna Karan Woman) and Dominique Ropion (Carnal Flower, Alien & Portrait of a Lady) MyQueen was created to represent the McQueen woman – “a vision of the woman of his (McQueen’s) dreams” – with the kaleidoscopic bottle representing not only the many facets of this woman but also McQueen’s love for antique glass.
“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” . 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.
“My general impression of Le Feu d’Issey is that it’s an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ scent, in the sense that there is just so much going on, in fact, I would go as far as saying that the kitchen sink has probably been thrown in as well.”
When I first thought about the Gone, But Not Forgotten Series there were a few perfumes which I knew absolutely had to be added and some that I thought I would explore after receiving suggestions from my readers. Le Feu d’Issey is one of those fragrances that I knew had to be part of this series, but there was one little snag – I had never smelled it and it’s nigh on impossible to get hold of.
Luckily for me Perfumeland is full of lovely, wonderful and generous people and none are lovelier than the ultra-lovely Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels who came to my rescue and very kindly donated a sample of Le Feu d’Issey so that I could review it for this series. Thanks B!
Despite being discontinued, Le Feu d’Issey was given a five star rating by Luca Turin in Perfumes The Guide and is also included in Sanchez and Turin’s latest book ‘The Little Book of Perfumes’ as one of the top 100 perfumes of all time. It also has quite the cult following and a reputation for being wonderfully weird. All of these facts have ensured that Le Feu d’Issey has stayed at the top of my ‘Must Test’ list (a list that gets longer and longer by the day) for a good few years, and when I did eventually get to try it I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Fleur du Mâle had some big boots to fill, released in 2007 it came a whole 12 years after the tour de force that was Le Mâle. Le Mâle is one of the greatest ‘Marmite’ fragrances, it has its lovers and its detractors, but very rarely does it provoke a feeling of indifference and despite whichever camp you find yourself falling into you cannot deny that it is a well made and interesting fragrance.
Gaultier isn’t one to shy away from controversy and Fleur du Mâle, with it’s name that is a play on Baudelaire’s collection of poems ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ (The Flowers of Evil) and overdose of orange blossom doesn’t either. Sure, a masculine floral is nothing new, us boys have been wearing florals for yonks, but the idea is rarer in the mainstream and one so overtly floral (and advertised as such) as Fleur du Mâle was a breath of fresh air.
As you can see from the above advertising image (which I have included for informative purposes only, not because it’s a picture of a VERY attractive man in a bath, honest *cough*) Fleur du Mâle aims to strike a softer chord than the ultra-sexed, ultra-metrosexual image of Le Mâle.
To me, Grace Jones is the Queen/King of androgyny, she tiptoes the line between masculine and feminine so perfectly and either way she is absolutely striking to look at. Like Ms Jones, Nu is androgynous, it is neither wholly masculine, feminine or unisex, it creates its own rules about gender and takes facets from both sexes.
I have no idea which fragrance(s) Ms Jones wears but if I were to pick a perfume just for her, I would pick Nu.
Nu (this review refers to the Eau de Parfum) was released in 2001 and was created by Jacques Cavallier under the art direction of Tom Ford. I mentioned in my review of Gucci Rush that everything Tom Ford did whilst at Gucci, YSL and Lauder was pretty much epic, and I stand by that. With Nu, he and Jacques Cavallier created something unique and way ahead of its time.
In the ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ series I will be taking a look at those wonderful fragrances that for one reason or another are no longer with us. They are the sadly departed and greatly missed fragrances of yesterday, the ones that despite being innovative, interesting and lovely smelling, didn’t quite make it.