Ozwald Boateng, the designer who is said to have “revolutionized Savile Row, fusing traditional skills in tailoring and expert cutting with the very modern use of colors” and the first Savile Row tailor to show his suits on the catwalks of Paris (fashionunited.co.uk), is by definition a men’s designer, however he decided that his first fragrance will be for women. Launched in 2003, it is called Parfum Bespoke and consists of two scents housed in one bottle. They can be sprayed separately and are meant to be layered thus allowing the wearer to create her own “bespoke” scent. One can also purchase the scents, Orange and Red, separately.
Orange part of Bespoke has notes of rhubarb leaves, peppermint, bergamot, purple orchids, roses, lily of the valley, vetiver from Ghana, sandalwood, rosewood, heliotrope, musk, and vanilla. During the first minutes on my skin, Orange is like a paler version of Eau d’Hadrien, a rather dry, crisp citrus scent. At that stage it is pleasant if not exactly distinctive or unusual. The fragrance skips its floral notes on my skin and moves straight into the earthy vetiver stage, sweetened by sandalwood and vanilla; the drydown smells a little dusty to me. I must say that I am not impressed by Orange, it seems rather unexciting and bland.
Red is a different story altogether. With notes of peach, mandarin, tarragon, “fresh green leaf”, heliotrope, water lily, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli, musk, and amber, this is a warm, slightly spicy scent that indeed evokes color red. Even though it features peach and mandarin, I actually would not call Red fruity, neither note is all that apparent to my nose. The blend is very smooth and not a single accord stands out. The overall impression is that of a creamy, velvety, dark woody-oriental scent. I like it very much and prefer it on its own as opposed to layered with Orange. Mixed with the latter, Red acquires a certain sharpness that does add more spiciness to the blend but in the end overwhelms and bothers me. The only good thing that comes out of such layering is the drydown, where musk becomes quite apparent, bringing a little dirty animalic quality to the scent; still, I would much rather wear Red on its own.
Parfum Bespoke is available at First in Fragrance; the bottle consisting of two 25ml sprays retails for EUR 78.00, Orange or Red bought separately cost EUR 48.00 for 50ml.
*The photo of Ozwald Boateng is from blackvoices.aol.com. Why is it here? Just because I found him very pleasing to my eye :-)