Carven’s L’Absolu and L’Eau Intense

by Katie on January 9, 2017


One of the rubbish things about no longer being in the epicentre of the world (ie London) and moving to the cold hard North is that one tends to drop from press lists like an X Factor contestant dropping their inhibitions and their conscience. Throw in the constant turnaround in agency PR staff and your contact lists soon become as out-dated as selection boxes on the 28th December.

It’s a shame as I’ve missed a number of great perfume launches, namely Carven, a brand that I not only admire (from the days of ‘Ma Griffe’) but whose house ‘nose’ is none other than the perfume wizard, Francis Kurkdjian alongside newbie, Jerome di Marino.

Delving into its sublime haute couture history and its reworking and relevance by the in-house designers, Alexis Martial & Adrien Caillaudaud, (who have now since ceased the label since October 2016), Kurkdjian has added a soupcon of contemporary magic: a beautiful fresh  floral veil of whiteness hits the nose with a sparkling of background uplifting greenness courtesy of mandarin essence. The blousy big seductive reach of ylang-ylang is intensified and added to by the addition of Egyptian jasmine with a smidgen of heady tuberose and the holy grail of perfumery, iris. Carven’s L’Absolu does not so much as die done as stretch itself further with its base of patchouli, sandalwood and Spanish absolute cistus.  Deep joy. This contemporary in-your-face little floral oriental chypre is  worth  toying with and may just lead you astray. As a ‘my first real perfume’ for Carven’s youthful following, it’s a sophisticated nod to the elegance and femininity of days past. I liked it a lot.


Quite the different beast is Carven’s male counterpart L’Eau Intense. Graphically restrained, minimal and chic, L’eau Intense bursts forth like a pheromone ridden young stallion in Parisian pose. Less my kinda’ male fragrance as it comes across too needy (as many young men do) and straddles the ultra minty fresh, ultra spicy generation of new fragrances.

Named ‘an olfactive oxymoron’ by the perfumers, Jerome di Marino under the guidance of Kurkdjian, this seems more of a trial and error type of fragrance. Yes, it will appear to zestful youth in line with Carven’s new menswear design ethos under Barnabe Hardy, but to me, it’s still rather ‘me-me’, clamouring for attention. Top notes are bergamot, grapefruit and mint while middle notes are lavender, moss, birch leaf and ginger dying down to a cardomom and amber base.

Carven has incredible potential due to its fashion heritage and its eagerness to gain a contemporary, hip young following. The fly in the ointment is the constant musical chairs of its in-house designers and its management which only serves to diminish the label’s value when selling the brand ideal  and buy-in point of luxury perfume. Rectify this with some consistency of tenure and there’s real possibilities of another Carven classic. Especially when Monsieur Kurkdjian is involved.

 Carven L’Absolu is available in 30ml (£42), 50ml (£58) and 100ml (£75) EDP spray and also in perfumed bath & shower gel, deodorant spray and body milk.

Carven L’Eau Intense is available in 5oml (£50) and 100ml (£70) EDT sprays from John Lewis and Debenhams.



Timed to diminish January’s over-bearing dullness and the less than joyful end to London Fashion Week Men’s, Fashion East Store in Selfridges’ Designer Studio is a huge smile on the face, one-stop pop-up shop of the brightest and best in British design, featuring Fashion East’s current line-up of designers.

Lulu Kennedy’s school of bright futures, Fashion East, has kick-started the careers of such alumni as  Simone Rocha, Roksanda Ilincic, Marques Almeida, Gareth Pugh, Kim Jones, Jonathan Saunders, Grace Wales Bonner, Craig Green and J.W. Anderson. Founded in 2000 by The Old Truman Brewery and Lulu Kennedy to nurture young designers, the non-profit initiative is integral to London’s reputation as a crucible of young talent and creativity.


Hot to trot Selfridges invited Kennedy to set up a Fashion East store in the new Designer Studio, the legendary talent scout invited past and present alumni to create exclusive products for her.

The store stocks clothes, gifts and quirky collectibles from the likes of Craig Green, Ashley Williams, Charles Jeffrey, Richard Malone, Caitlin Price, Mimi Wade, Matty Bovan, Rottingdean Bazaar, Per Gotesson, Art School and Christopher Shannon, as well as Fashion East’s first own merchandise outing.


Lulu Kennedy, Founder and Director of Fashion East: “It’s a massive buzz and privilege to be calling Selfridges home for a few months! We look forward to our first retail venture and showing off our gorgeous alumni in such a brilliant fresh space.”

Sebastian Manes, Selfridges’ Buying Director: “You only have to walk around the fashion floors of Selfridges to see the amazing success and influence of Fashion East. In store for SS17 we have more than twenty Fashion East alumni and designers across menswear and womenswear – from new talent like Richard Malone through to Roksanda or Simone Rocha, who are some of our best performing ready-to-wear designers right now, or Craig Green who brings so much energy to men’s designerwear.”

Fashion East at Selfridges opens Monday 9 January in The Designer Studio on 3, Selfridges London.



I didn’t attend LCM this season. Or should I say, I didn’t attend LFWM. And that’s part of the problem right there. Just as designers and brands have begun re-thinking their show strategy and the profusion of collections (which includes two RTW seasons, resort and either couture or bespoke for both mens and womenswear lines) which often results in rush job, unclear messaging with resultant poor buyer pick-up, the poorly timed and mis-directed BFC have elected to re-strategise. London Collections Men’s is now London Fashion Week Men’s.

It may just be a name change or an upping-of-the-supposed-ante for menswear to dig a stake in the ground as deep as that of womenswear but, whereas one would have expected a great hoo-haa to defy these uncertain Brexit times, the opposite has occurred. Brands such as Burberry, Gieves & Hawkes, Tom Ford, Paul Smith and umpteen stalwart Savile Row types have elected to give LFWM a miss with other plans in the pipeline. Or have opted to show menswear within their womenswear collections come February. Coupled with increasingly expensive post-Brexit production processes, a nose-diving £ and the ruffled feathers of lucrative European buyers, London is up against it. Pity. There’s a lacklustre energy, a quieter, more sombre mood, less good time parties (naturally) and, and I may be shot down here, much poorer collections – not all, but a definite shrinking in ‘balls’ re creativity and commerciality. Dystopian black is back.

Catching the shows via social media feeds and the uploaded imagery from trusted fashion websites and their worthy show reviewers (about three of whom I trust), comments have been captured and my thoughts running wild re the state we are in re London Fashion whether Men’s or Womenswear. Social media reviews and coverage (or lack of, thereof) have only added to my conclusions which are as follows:-

1. THE MIS-TIMED RE-BRAND & LAUNCH OF LFWM WITH A DEPLETED SHOW SCHEDULE– Post Brexit, nervy brands and nervier buyers are contemplating their futures and their customer appeal, slashing budgets and streamlining.  While the BFC is to be applauded on concentrating on giving menswear the attention it deserves in a country that defines bespoke menswear  as well as London verve & creativity, their timing is mis-judged, only serving to highlight big designer brands’ reluctance to commit, much like a long-term relationship that balks when marriage is mentioned.  We’ve already seen the shift to show joint menswear and womenswear collections not only twice a year, but also in resort. Makes perfect sense.


2. PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MEME CHOSE  – Part 1– While the menswear shows can throw us a delightful curveball (step forward Charles Jeffrey Loverboy who upped his game and gave London hope), the air of disconsolateness has been rife in the collections and in the attendees. The Dad’s Army’s prophesy “We’re all doomed” has never been so apt and the focus of some designers such as Matthew Miller and Christopher Shannon. Two worthy individuals whose cerebral political voices are heard in regular collections but this time, it felt a bit much wearing our broken hearts on our sleeves. (Especially the tongue in cheek ‘Loss’ instead of ‘Boss’ logo sweats). I know we’re f*cked, you know we’re f*cked, but do I want to spend hard earned cash from my depleting security income on items that re-iterate ‘we’re f*cked’? Our youth and our middle-aged yoot’ wannabes have been kicked in the teeth enough.


3. PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MEME CHOSE – Part 2 – I know. I know….it’s tough out there. But do we really need season after season of FROW’ers who comprise of ex models, their sidekick stylists and crass, self-promoting wannabes seeking micro-celebrity status to raise their profile if not their game? It’s no wonder huge designers seem to balk at this bunch who wouldn’t know an Oxford from a Derby shoe. And even the gorgeous Gandy Candy has been absent from this year’s line-up. Let’s face it kiddos’, there’s only so many Getty images pics you can see of the same FROW’ers, endlessly repeated on social media, without wanting to open a vein.  Where’s Redmayne? Where’s Cumberbatch? Where’s Hardy? WORKING, that’s where. Advice to the BFC and PRs? David Furnish was a welcome addition as an official ambassador,, but good-looking (and often badly dressed to boot) unofficial bums on front row seats is done to death. Especially when the journalists sitting alongside them are a) much better dressed, b) clued up and c) focus on what’s actually important – promoting the British designers rather than themselves.

4. THE BFC’S OBSESSION WITH THE NUMBERS GAME RE SOCIAL MEDIA – Way back when I was first asked to advise the BFC re social media with some other well-known blogger counterparts, we were all unanimous that numbers didn’t mean jack when being considered for accreditation. It was about quality, knowledge, original informed copy, the promotion of the designers’ collections and an original viewpoint. As well as a constant and consistent approach…not just on the weeks before a trade show such as LCM or LFW.  That’s why ’even the journalists’  *clutches pearls* followed us. We could say what we liked as unencumbered by advertising or politics or an editor.

Cut to 2017 and it’s all about the numbers. In theory, an unknown self –promoting, selfie-obsessed instagramer seeking status and freebies, who terms themself a blogger or better (and this really gets my goat) a ‘magazine’, can either buy a following or, as many do, simply follow 8k people to get a +10k following across different forms of social media and Bob’s your aunt – instant accreditation.  What this results in is endless pics of shoes, selfies and ‘me-me’s’ at shows or, of the fleeting glimpse of the lesser-spotted-celebrity. Any focus on the designer, the show, an informed review, a reason why this was designer was a cut above or below par – gone. Whoosh! In one fell swoop. Have you tried to tried to gain accurate informed info from feeds without falling back on say, friends such as The Chic Geek or Clothes Make The Man? There’s a reason why we attend. Or used to, before being bumped despite years of experience. At this point a ‘rolls eyes’ emoji would be appropriate. Which naturally leads to…

5. THE SHIFT TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOCUS ABOUT ATTENDEES OUTFITS & THE BFC AMABASSADORS RATHER THAN THE DESIGNER’S WORK – I get it. I do. Fighting against the big wigs like Milan, Paris and New York for attention, London and the BFC needs to do everything it can to boost its media presence globally. It’s just that this need to increase social media hits has dumbed down accurate informed coverage of the designers showing, their work and their originality. Focus has been on the famous or (as said before) not so famous bums on seats, often that don’t resonate with the designer these FROW’ers attend. There’s a huge mis-match here as well as a juxtaposition of need. The need to show London as hip and happening and relevant is highly misplaced by many of the ‘famed’ attendees. While the huge numbers social media types are too busy documenting their ‘being-there’, their sponsored outfit or the (dubious) street fashion, they forget about the reason for attending – the designer. I think I preferred it when it was a seasonal trade show where the industry would convene to pass judgement as well as get behind the ye olden days of the newspaper. I may have my eyes poked our or my tippy-tappy fingers removed for daring to speak my mind. But hey, as I said, remember the value of the true blogger? Original, informed opinion or a source of discussion that pushes boundaries?  Q.E.D. Let’s see if accreditation appears for LFW in February.

Catwalk images kindly used from



It’s November and they’ve started. The Christmas TV ads. The ones you either secretly enjoy or love to hate. Either way, come 24th December and by their several hundredth run, you’re crying out for the flip to Summer holiday ads. It’s also the time for huge departments stores and perfume brands to get behind their latest release or regular cash-cow and let the world know that a Christmas without fragrance is a world without joy. True for any perfume lover.

Chanel have upped the ante this season with their spectacularly clever Chanel No.5 L’Eau ad that not only perfectly encapsulates the brand and its direction but the new fragrance and its vitality. Its difference yet its sameness. Its freshness yet familiarity. #youknowmeandyoudont


Featuring muse, Lily-Rose Depp, the ad is a breathe of contemporary, visionary fresh air with the familiar black and white, composed elegance of Chanel, shot through with a bolt of light, with several flips to Technicolor. Completely capturing the essence of No.5 L’Eau, one of the most important and intelligent releases for the label in recent years.

Perfumer Olivier Polge has masterfully managed to re-configure Chanel No.5 that will see it extend past the youthful, fresh-faces it will surely appeal to, and captivate a whole new audience of older, stalwart Chanel No.5 devotees able to smell the differences and love them the more for it.


Younger, fresher, vibrant and vital, Chanel No.5 L’Eau doesn’t try to replicate so much as take the fragrance in a new direction that’s fitting for youth as well as lighter days and moods. Polge’s genius combines balance and daring. Taking No.5 beyond the expected, while charming the pounds from the purses of its fan base and appealing to a whole new audience of young ladies aiming to lunch, or rather, kick up their heels.

There’s an energy to No.5 L’Eau that is much needed within the perfumery house of Chanel that’s directly in sync with the ready-to-wear and couture offer of Monsieur Lagerfeld. That’s why  this offer is so ingenious. Polge has stayed true to the most iconic, famous fragrance in the world while injecting a veil of gossamer, sparkling lightness that oomphs with energy. A feel-good fragrance in a bottle that appeals to all ages and all types of women.


Evanescent citrus aldeyde top notes combine with a floral heart that’s greener, crisper and edgier while ylang-ylang swirls into rose, ending on a soft trip of cedar and vetiver woody notes. No. 5 L’Eau’s staying power on the skin is strong for such a light fragrance, almost glimmering with sparkling, diamond bite.

This is a classy, non-showy offer that has been created, positioned and  thought-through at every step. From its purity of composition and the crystalline transparency of the fragrance to the contemporary, bold, new graphic typeface, No.5 L’Eau rocks. I’ve no doubt Mlle Chanel would wholeheartedly approve.

Chanel No.5 L’Eau is available from Chanel counters and stores priced £68 (50ml) and £96 (100ml)


Zip Rib Jacket -ú59, Formal Jacket -ú120, Formal Flat Front Trousers -ú79, Leather Trainers -ú89

With the recent release of sales figures from retail giant Marks & Spencer that saw the biggest clothing & homes sales fall in 10 years, many have sought to say what’s wrong about the retailer and failed to focus on what’s right.

Smaller stores, focussed streamlined collections and less confusion for the consumer as well as keener, more competitive pricing modules all sound like an answer as well as the current brave decision to back great British menswear designers at LCM.

Zip Rib Jacket -ú59, Price of Wales Check Mac -ú199

Wouter Baartmans and Amber Siegel’s luxurious menswear caught KatieChutzpah’s eye early on in their label’s life, and we’ve championed the London-based brand since those early days.

With a River Island Design Forum collection already under their belts, the London College of Fashion graduates’ talent for high-end-yet-accessible clothing has now been snapped up by iconic British high street retailer Marks & Spencer for a capsule collection of winter staples.

Plain Stretch Shirt -ú39.50, Colour Block Crew Neck Jumper -ú49.50, Boucle Coat -ú199, Formal Flat Front Trouser -ú79, Leather Trainers -ú89

Carrying their focus for texture and tailoring over from their signature line, the self-described “modern traditionalists” collaboration with M&S includes block stripe knitwear, high-shine leather trainers and some seriously statement-making outerwear, including a navy-and-black Prince of Wales check raincoat.

Zip Rib Jacket -ú59, Prince of Wales Check Bomber Jacket -ú149, Formal Flat Front Trousers -ú79

Tapping into the luxury sportswear trend, but still ageless and beautifully crafted, the twelve-piece collection is available from Marks & Spencer stores across the country and Prices start from £49.

Reviewed by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) & @katiechutzpah



Chutzpah’s Barometer

by Katie on September 2, 2016


We’re back, BACK, BACK BABY!!!


September – Can people just stop flaunting tans and get back to the normal black clothing and layers that we all really should know is good for us, AT ALL TIMES. Ta.


USA Pro by Matthew Williamson – One of Britain’s most successful fashion designers dips his toe into the exploding athleisure market with stunningly vibrant results.

Paula Knorr – The Royal College of Art graduate is bringing sexy back to this season’s London Fashion Week NEWGEN line-up.

Salvatore Ferragamo – Footwear designer Paul Andrew is rumoured to be joining the historic Italian house, best known for designing Marilyn Monroe’s heels, as the brand’s first Creative Director of Shoes.

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Les Parfums Louis Vuitton – When Vuitton launches a new product it launches BIG! A collection of seven fragrances, billed as “a journey of emotions”.  We can’t wait to try them. Available from September 1st.

Blood Orange ‘Freetown Sound’ – Coming on like the 21st century offspring of Sly and the Family Stone and Prince, one of this summer’s most exceptional albums is a shoo-in for end-of-year “Best of 2016” lists.


Gigi Hadid – Looking stiff and awkward in almost every collection and fashion film she appears in. Instagram followers isn’t a substitute for talent.

High-end Hipsters – Oh the irony! Between Gosha’s Eighties terrace hooligans and Vetements’ crazy homeless person “chic”, fashion contrariness gets ugly this winter.

Microbeads – More of a creeping terror than those Body Shop Japanese Washing Grains in the 80’s, it’s time to switch to a sealife-safe scrub or toothpaste.

Gucci – Dionysus bag, bomber et al.–  There’s a difference between oozing style and wearing a label as a signifier of ‘dollah’. A kick in the pants away from ‘Michael Kors’ proliferation. Put that credit card away and back out of the store slowly.


Joe Wicks – If Jamie Oliver and Russell Brand had a son, then sent him to Fat Camp for 18 years. The kind of person who thinks an avocado shake is a tasty treat i.e. AWFUL.


Beckham kinder – Are you really in bits with the news of Brooklyn’s (17 ) breakup with Chloe Grace Moretz (who?)? Can’t you live without seeing Romeo Beckham’s (14) ‘style evolution’ as touted by a top fash mag?  No, us neither.

Barometer compiled by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) & @katiechutzpah



Juliette Has A Gun’s Romano Ricci isn’t averse to playing with ideas nor ingredients. With his latest limited edition release*, Ricci has played with the enigma of space and time, querying what it’s like to be ‘out there’ in deepest darkest space, toying with a trip into an all encompassing darkness, the lure of the black hole and of embracing the void.

Much like Timothy Leary and his forays with the mind and expanded consciousness (swayed by the use of LSD), Ricci uses perfume as his muse and microcosm. The Void, whether internal or external, should not be avoided (see…it’s even in the language), but to be experimented with. To draw us out of our comfort zone and expand our experience. While ‘the void’ may be feared, Ricci imagines the sweetest, soft, intense trip. A spray and sprinkling of velvety smooth, amber infused, golden droplets leads the way into Ricci’s imagined comforting blackness. Like a talented perfumer’s catalyst to induce a state of blackness and reflection, rather than a trippy Reichian orgone box.

Built around the mystery of black holes, Into the Void sucks you into its sweet, honeyed, trail, like a spray of golden hued light in deep velvety blackness.

A tiny spray catapults the wearer into a stratospheric sphere of indulgence. Engulfed in Into The Void’s cocktail of sexy, heady guiac wood, cedar, ambroxan, patchouli, sandalwood and papyrus. This is a big leap, that leaves a vapour trail like thick expensive incense, of black orchid absolute and a tonka bean & liquorice mix. The fragrance is so thick and rich that the wearer almost feels it as a presence. A comforting, guiding one that embraces the body.

Into The Void’s intensity weaves and coils into the ether, its trail of other-worldy promise, hip-swaying its appeal.

Dark mysterious and supremely soft, Ricci’s latest addition to his luxury collection is a voyage of discovery that’s worth risking. Even with its £200 price tag (75ml).

*Available exclusively at Harrods from 4th September.



Ah, well, it would take me till late August to discover one of the best, most emotive, Summer-in-a-bottle fragrances. I blame ‘the North’, it’s distance from London and new release launches as well as the stony-cold, weather-beaten city of my birth for making a soul forget what it’s like to be sun-kissed.

A hint of sun (like today) causes all sorts of madness. Namely ‘taps aff’ i.e. males remove shirts revealing bare bods as well as the multitudinous exposed (non waxed) legs of the female variety. And that’s only with 21 degrees. Imagine the folly if (like London) we reached 30 degrees.

I stumbled across a sampler of Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc that hit the OMG spot and to begin my clamouring for foreign shores. Interestingly, this latest Ford incarnation has female nose, Nathalie Gracia-Cetto as it’s creative. Which may account for the overwhelmingly feminine sweet wafts of honey, coconut milk and creamy expensive amber that acts like catnip to all and sundry once sprayed. Soleil Blanc manages to capture the allure of a faraway, more-than-I-could-afford resort with the hint of baking sun, ocean waves and scorching sand.

Like liquid gold, it drips it’s magic. Soleil Blanc should be worn with expanses of tanned skin and not much else. there’s a brief hint of spice in the cardamom and pink pepper but oh, the waves of ylang ylang, that white temptress, toyed with Egyptian jasmine and tuberose for a huge floral centre. However, it is the sultriness of the dry down that makes the fragrance. Like dry oil sprayed on parched skin, benzoin, tonka bean and golden amber mix with the coconut nectar to ensure a heady mix.

Worth waiting for and available throughout the year, don’t just wait for the sun to appear to experience Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc.

Available as 50ml (£148), 100ml (£215) and 250ml (£345) Eau de Parfum at Tom Ford counters in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and selected House of Fraser stores.



She may be better known for her acting roles and for her face and grace fronting the campaigns of Givenchy make-up and fragrance cruelly replaced by Amanda Seyfried in 2013. But Liv didn’t let that get her down. Instead, she’s worked closely with the brand that is the epitome of British biker chic, Belstaff, working hand-in-hand with Belstaff’s creative director, Delphine Ninous, a woman who knows how to turn around a brand and build on subtle changes to heritage for that nuance of femininity, even in leather.


Ninous and Tyler, acting as ambassador and creative contributor, dove through the brand’s archives to curate a collection that is independent in spirit and moulds to the character of the wearer.

Says Tyler, “I’d always wanted to create a few timeless classics. Things I have in my closet but wished I designed myself. I sought to express strength through the outerwear and leather pieces alongside a more feminine sensual side through the softer materials like silk, and via the more fitted silhouettes of my styles. It’s a celebration of the feminine and masculine rolled into one.”


A fine leather jacket with a removable collar and a quilted interior is contrasted with blush pussy-bow blouses and fitted under-the-knee riding boots. A new, more fitted take on the Milford (the coat Belstaff originally created for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock) has been created in three fabrications, while two nylon parkas come with removable shearling gilets. New technical fabrications for Belstaff include a protective coated treatment and water-repellent cotton and a lightweight nylon.


Delphine Ninous, Belstaff Collection Creative Director, says: “Working with Liv has not only been fun, but also invigorating. It enabled us to interpret our design point of view and archive through her lens. Her style is unique and personal, and her approach to designing is refreshing as it is unrestricted by previous teachings. Our capsule with Liv is timeless, effortlessly elegant and feminine whilst also embodying the Belstaff spirit of functionality and style”.


Together, Delphine and Liv introduce 13 key pieces that blend easily into most women’s wardrobes.

The capsule was shot on up and coming model Greta Varlese in Brooklyn’s Red Hook Docks, with eight-month-pregnant Tyler art directing. She gave birth to Lula Rose, her first daughter, just under a month ago.

The 13 style capsule is available now from Belstaff stores, select department stores and independents and on Her second capsule with Belstaff will follow for Spring ‘17.

Earlier this year, Liv worked on a campaign film with Belstaff, Falling Up (  in which she retraced the footsteps of 1920s aviator Amelia Earhart, one of the first women Belstaff dressed. In addition to starring in the film, she reprised her role as Executive Producer on the project, following her same role on Outlaws for Belstaff starring David Beckham last year.



Being off the boil for a while re. the ol’ perfume reviewing malarkey, it took a brave scent and a braver perfumer to get my juices flowing again. Before  this starts becoming far too Frankie Howard* by far (*Millennials, ask your parents), this is about Chanel after all. And such a classy, demure and newly-old feeling perfume release that perfectly manages to straddle the essence of Mlle Chanel and her wilful difference with the appeal of a contemporary vibe that’s going to woo a global market.

What’s so appealing is the fact that perfumer, Olivier Polge, takes a different route to greatness by eschewing the normcore. Let’s face it, to be crude, Chanel could take the easy route, developing easy-appeal, sweet orientals and aldehydes (obviously in keeping with the brand name) that would rack up millions of dollars of sales due to the Chanel name.

What’s way more than impressive is that Polge chooses to eek out a finesse that’s rare, especially with a brand as monumental and grandiose as Chanel, and make the subtlety of the scent ‘a thing’.

I wrote about Polge’s taste and refinement in his first release for the label and Les Exclusifs, Misia, a beautiful, powdery soft chypre. In Boy, named after Boy Capel, Coco Chanel’s great love of her life, tragically killed in a car accident at 38, we see a fragrance that straddles genders and types. Boy is no hard-hitting, masculine baiting essence. This is a nod to Chanel’s classic 1970s imagery of the blonde in the tweed suit heading into the gentleman’s club and letting down her hair. This is the perfume of choice for the palazzo pant wearing, boyfriend shirt donning woman who likes to mix it up.


Les Exclusifs de Chanel Boy Chanel is too subtle and discreetly sensual to be gender-bending and too unique to be typecast. A sexy, powdery hit that breathes of softness, sand and sunlight, as a fougere it’s quite, quite different. The juicy sharp opening whiff of lemon and grapefruit seems to merge with a green tinge of rose geranium. A burst of freshness that soon opens to a creamy, warm soft sandalwood and vanilla with heliotrope, coumarin and musk thrown in, to boot. Boy manages to balance freshness with warmth, masculine with feminine, sexiness with androgyny. A perfume essay in balance and restraint that’s the very essence and class of Chanel. It’s already on my ‘go-to’ perfumes roster as an easy, distinctive wear.

I’ve no doubt Mlle Chanel would be mad about the Boy. Legions of her followers will be, too.

Les Exclusifs de Chanel Boy Chanel is available from Chanel boutiques and counters in House of Fraser Glasgow & Bluewater, Selfridges and Chanel Covent Garden & Burlington Arcade. Prices are £130 (75ml) and £230 (200ml)

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