Find out about fragrance on Fashionbeans

fragrancewardrobeI’ve written several articles about fragrance for fashionbeans.com of late so I thought I’d bring together the links to them in one place so you can have a read. So if you’re a fragrance fanatic or just a guy looking for your first fail-safe scent why not take a look at the articles below?

Not sure which fragrance to buy next? Why not go for one of these 10 classics?

Want to know how to get the most out of your fragrance? Read this.  

Looking for something a little bit special? Click here to read about 10 Boutique fragrances worth having.

Discover how to create your own fragrance wardrobe here.

10 women’s fragrances that smell great on men. Read about them here.

Aramis: back to the future with ‘all a man is’ campaign

I’ve said on many occasions that Aramis is one of my favourite fragrances ever. Launched in the mid-sixties (only a few years before I myself was ‘launched’) it’s a truly iconic fragrance – warm, sexy and ferocioulsy masculine. The fact that it’s still around all these years later is a testament to its enduring appeal and how fundamentally right it is as a fragrance. As a brand, I’ve always thought it rather stood apart from the crass commercialism of some of the other large fragrance brands too, eschewing D-list actors and flavour-of-the-moment pop stars.

So it was with mixed feelings that I watched the launch of it’s new TV and ad campaign featuring Brit model Paul Sculfor last week. I might not wholly approve but I can hardly blame Aramis for wanting to get  a ‘face’ to front the brand in the run-up to the lucrative Christmas market. It’s completely ‘of the moment’ to do so and in an increasingly-competitive marketplace one of the easiest – cynics might say laziest – ways to catch a customer’s eye.

What’s fascinating, though, is the absence of women from the majority of male fragrance print ads thesedays (a woman is nowhere to be seen in the Aramis print ad and she’s barely there in the TV one). Is it a sign, perhaps, that men no longer want to buy fragrances simply to get the girl but to be attractive and desirable for themselves? In today’s ads the man is the object. You want to be him, have a meaningful bromance with him, rather than have his power over women.

Or is it simply because a huge percentage of men’s fragrances are still bought by women? I mean, what better way to attract a female buyer than with an ad featuring an attractive man but no competing female?  Answers on a postcard please – or in the comments section on here if it’s easier.

What also struck me about this campaign – from the moment the ad and slogan were unveiled at the swanky W Hotel – is how seventies it is. It so reminds me of those ads I grew up with as a child – you know the ones with slogans like ‘the scent of a man’, which is why I called this post ‘back to the future’. Whether the ad’s retro feel is intentional or not I don’t know, though I certainly hope it is or some poor soul in the ad agency is stuck in a Gene Hunt-style timewarp.

I must confess I have absolutely no idea what ‘all a man is’ means and frankly, don’t have the energy or inclination to figure it out either. Actually, I suspect that, like so many catchy slogans it simply sounds good without meaning anything at all, in the same way that some works of art are compelling but intentionally impenetrable to prevent mere mortals from picking them to pieces and exposing their faults. Still, the reassuring thing is that Aramis the fragrance is good enough to rise above such fluff and ephemeral marketing to retain its place in the pantheon of truly great men’s fragrances.

My definition of ‘unconventional chic’

To celebrate the launch of the new Eau de Lacoste L12.12 men’s fragrance, Lacoste’s PR agency came up with a rather clever (and fun) ruse: customize a classic L 12.12 Polo shirt to express your own vision of ‘unconventional chic’, blog a picture of it and be in with the chance of winning a prize.

Now, I don’t normally  submit to this kind of subtle arm-twisting from PRs but on this occasion I am giving it a whirl, in essence because I happen to love the L12. 12 shirt.

And above you can see my own exciting interpretation of ‘unconventional chic’. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: that’s just a ordinary white L12.12 Lacoste polo shirt! You’re thinking that I haven’t customized, tampered, styled or accessorised  it any in way. That I haven’t put a fabric pen near it, haven’t ripped it up, reversed it or drawn a giant penis on it to be scary or shocking. Hell, you’re thinking, there’s nothing remotely St Martins about my entry at all!

And you’d be right. I haven’t touched one bit. Why? Well, not through a lack of imagination (honestly) but because, for me ,the Lacoste L12.12 Polo shirt is unconventional chic just as it is. In fact, it is the very definition of unconventional chic. It was back in the late Twenties when French tennis champ René Lacoste first wore it (creating a sensation by doing so) and it still is now.

The shirt did much more than defy tennis etiquette, though, it  heralded a new dawn in contemporary sportswear. It was quintessentially Lacoste – unconventional, daring and effortlessly stylish. At the height of his powers Lacoste’s game (not to mention his legendary perfectionism) was unmatched too. So in that spirit, I can’t honestly see how I can improve on his most famous fashion creation.

Oh I know it’s a cheeky to approach the competition in this way but Lacoste himself challenged the rules at almost every turn – and look where it got him! So my definition of Unconventional Chic is the Lacoste L12.12 Polo shirt just as it is – simple but never plain, fashionable but never flash, history-making but never history.

Having said all that if, like me, you’re a man of a certain age, opt for the darker colours. The pale ones make your manboobs look massive.

The new trio of Eau de Lacoste fragrances for men - Vert, Blanc and Bleu