Orchid Soleil by TOM FORD
Orchid Soleil by TOM FORD

TOM FORD is a bit of a legend in the fragrance world. Well, that’s more than just a touch of an understatement, if I’m honest, and it would be fair to say that he is one of the few modern fashion designers that has successful built a fragrance empire that works in complete symbiosis with their clothing lines. TOM FORD perfumes ooze with style and finesse, but they often also boast bold signatures that set them apart from the crowd. Sniffing them, one gets the impression that Mr. Ford is genuinely a fragrance aficionado and his collection offers up its fair share of cool classics and olfactory oddities. In short, the TOM FORD fragrance line is one of the best out there.

The first fragrance to be launched under the TOM FORD name was Black Orchid (side note: we mustn’t forget that Mr. Ford launched a number of amazing scents at Gucci and YSL, namely Envy & Rush for Gucci and Rive Gauche Pour Homme, M7 and Nu for YSL) – a scent that quickly established the brand as a serious contender within the industry. Since then, Black Orchid has been remixed and revisited a number of times, the latest version of which is Orchid Soleil, a fantastically radiant blend of florals and warm, skin-like notes. Without giving too much away, I’d say it’s one of TOM FORD’s best offerings to date. Yup, that sounds about right!

INTRODUCING THE SOLAR SIDE OF THE ELUSIVE TOM FORD ORCHID. A RADIANT AND SENSUAL FORCE OF NATURE, THE NEW SCENT CAPTURES THE SEDUCTIVE WARMTH AND REFLECTIVE BARE SKIN OF THE TOM FORD WOMAN.

– TOM FORD

The Ever-Dapper Mr. Ford
The Ever-Dapper Mr. Ford

When it comes to perfume, Tom Ford knows what he’s doing. Not that he doesn’t know what he’s doing in the worlds of fashion and film, mind – he definitely seems pretty good in those fields too, but with perfume it is undeniable that he is a man of extraordinary style and taste. Since the launch of his flagship fragrance, Black Orchid, in 2006, Ford has crafted himself a fragrant empire that has seen the creation of over 50 fragrances. His output is prolific, varied, grand, opulent and fascinating, courting with true luxury through his unique aesthetic. Everything he does is unmistakably ‘Tom Ford’ and therefore, also pretty darn good.

Tom Ford’s fragrance line consists of two collections; the Private Blends and the Signature Collection, the latter of which showcases a more accessible range of masculine and feminine fragrances in that inimitable Tom Ford style. What strikes me as particularly intriguing about the Signature Collection is the excellent quality of the masculine offerings. When fragrances for men are so often dull, tired and unpleasant, Tom Ford’s act as a refreshing surprise that can restore one’s faith in fragrant humanity. They are handsome, stylish, classic and modern, as all masculine fragrances should be.

My favourite of Ford’s masculine fragrances is Noir – a plush, resinous and powdery scent that bears a striking resemblance to the style of the Guerlain classics, but with a modern twist. In a world of ‘fresh this’ and ‘sport that’, Noir is a bastion of hope for those that demand more from their masculine fragrance. Because it is such a breath of fresh air (not literally), Noir has deservedly been very popular, and for 2015 Tom Ford is launching a brand new interpretation of the fragrance (joining the original Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette), entitled ‘Noir Extreme’ – a new chapter in the Noir story that “reveals a new dimension of the “Noir Man”.

Feral Beauty - Madonna by Steven Klein
Feral Beauty – Madonna by Steven Klein

A few weeks back I cast my inquisitive nose over Myrrh Casati, the latest fragrance from niche brand, Mona di Orio, and the first launch that has been created by the house in conjunction with an external perfumer. Myrrh Casati represents a distinct shift in style for the Mona di Orio name, and whilst I found it to be competently composed, it doesn’t quite portray the unique sense of magic one usually finds in one of Mona’s creations.

The brand may be looking directly forward to the future, but at the same time they are not shying away from celebrating Mona’s legacy, and have started to re-dress a number of her fragrances in beautiful new flacons. They’ve also relaunched Nuit Noire and Lux (originally launched in 2006) – two cult fragrances from the Mona di Orio archives as part of the new Signature Collection. It’s an exciting and interesting time for the brand, and this relaunch of the original formulas serves as a firm nod to the extreme talent of a wonderful perfumer.

“A good perfume will surprise before touching the heart deeply, slowly it will give you its soul as it evolves and reveals its final notes. Perfume, like poetry, must stimulate and create passion instantly”

– Mona di Orio

Gigi Hadid for Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
Gigi Hadid for Tom Ford Velvet Orchid [Photographed by Mario Sorrenti]
Tom Ford’s Signature Collection houses a vast array of bold, wearable fragrances that are of exceptional high quality, but are also entirely more accessible than those within his Private Blend collection. They are statement pieces, right from the oriental opulence of Sahara Noir to the casual elegance of Violet Blonde, and as with all things ‘Tom Ford’ they exude a richness that is very much in keeping with the brand’s luxurious and contemporary-classic aesthetic.

Perhaps the most iconic fragrance within M. Ford’s oeuvre is the dramatic Black Orchid (released in 2006) – the brand’s first and most daring outing. With this perfume, Tom Ford sent a strong message, shouting that he wasn’t going to approach the world of fragrance in a typical or boring way, he was going to create divisive perfumes that make their presence know and celebrate all that is fashionable and glamorous. And that, my friends, is what the man has done ever since.

For 2014, Tom Ford has worked with perfumers Yann Vasnier, Antoine Maisondieu, Calice Asancheyev-Becker and Shyamala Maisondieu (a practical dream team of noses, if you ask me), to create a new riff on his incredibly successful debut perfume. Housed within a royal purple flacon and bestowed with the name ‘Velvet Orchid‘, this perfume is seen as an evolution of the legendary Black Orchid and is promoted by the brand as a new signature fragrance within Ford’s wonderful Signature Collection.

“Velvet Orchid lives in a glamorous world of mystique, evolving the carnal grandeur and seductive power of Tom Ford’s original Black Orchid into a harmonious an uber-feminine fragrance. Lavished with cool freshness, dramatic petals, honey and rum, Tom Ford Velvet Orchid is an oriental floral fragrance that teases and caresses with enveloping and brilliant warmth.”

Violet Blonde

I like Tom Ford, I find the overall aesthetic of his brand appealing, I thought A Single Man was a triumph for a first time director and he may just be the most ridiculously good looking man on the planet (a fact that makes me hate him just a little). My thoughts on Tom Ford’s perfumes however, aren’t as glowing, in fact they are quite mixed;

Private Blends: I’ve always thought that the Private Blends are OK, I even quite like one or two (Oud Wood especially) but they are ridiculously overpriced for what they are, thus causing my general opinion of them to simply be ‘meh’.

Black Orchid: Gorgeous, dark oriental that is great for half an hour but then it proceeds to get on my tits, it’s one of those scents that, whilst smelling fantastic, takes a lot of effort to wear. I have to be in the right mood for Black Orchid.

White Patchouli: I wanted to love White Patchouli, you don’t know how much I wanted to, the bottle would look so good in my collection and the ad campaign with Erykah Badu was STUN-NING, BUT I point blank refuse to wear anything that smells like French Onion Soup. That said, I haven’t given up on it just yet.

Tom Ford For Men: My boyfriend/fiancée/long suffering wife’s signature scent. What more can I say?

Grey Vetiver: A really nice barbershop vetiver BUT why bother with that when you could have Guerlain Vetiver? One vetiver is enough for me.

Black Orchid Voile de Fleur: Surprisingly, this short-lived flanker to Black Orchid is the best of the bunch, creamy, dirty and slightly spicy flowers, right up my street!

Violet Blonde is the latest fragrance to join Black Orchid and White Patchouli as part of Tom Ford’s ‘Signature Collection’. I guess you’re now thinking, ‘I know what you think of the others, but what about Violet Blonde? Well, to put it simply; Violet Blonde was love at first sniff.