Review 
fragrance Parterre The Hour of Dusk & Gold tried testedInspired by the warmth of a Moroccan evening, the fusion of spices coming from the medina and the hues of the setting sun over the ocean viewed from the rooftops of the Essaouira, The Hour of Dusk & Gold is the latest fragrance from British brand, Parterre. Persian wild carrot seed and angelica root grown of Keyneston Mill, are embellished with orris and a swirl of nutmeg, lavender, and bay.

Left - Parterre - The Hour of Dusk & Gold - 50ml - £95

TheChicGeek says, “Parterre launched two year’s ago with the ambition of turning a corner of Dorset into Britain’s answer to Grasse - See Label To Know - Parterre from TheChicGeek archive - here I wanted to see how they were getting on. Like I said to the founders, Julia and David, when people planted vineyards in England, decades ago, people scoffed, and the same could be said for this idea. As the climate changes, this could become a leader in this field for UK grown fragrance ingredients.

While the fragrances aren’t 100% UK grown, this new scent does includes carrot seed and angelica root from their farm.

This is lightly spiced and it has that attractive warm and dry sensation from the carrot seed. The iris orris root always enhances and gives depth to the other notes, but nothing sticks its head out here as individual notes. As a fragrance is it wearable while offering something different without trying too hard, but I do think it’s important to give fragrances more simpler and memorable names."

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Published in Grooming
Friday, 01 November 2019 17:15

Label To Know Ormaie

Review 
New fragrance label Ormaie Paris Harvey NicholsA French term for a place you'd grow elm trees, now sadly long gone due to Dutch elm disease, 'Ormaie' is a mother and son - Marie-Lise Jonak and Baptiste Bouygues - team producing completely natural and vegan fragrances. Seven in total, all featuring striking and sculptural wooden stoppers, they are produced and formulated alongside renowned raw natural ingredient specialists, Robertet. The glass bottle is by Saverglass, the only French glassmaker to recycle their own glass magma.

Fragrances include '28°', said to be Bouygues' perfect temperature, 'Yvonne' named after the grandmother and 'Le Passant' meaning the passing man, and deemed the most masculine fragrance.

TheChicGeek says, "Of the seven, I liked 'Les Brumes' (The Mists) the most. It is a citrus inspired by morning mist on the fruit trees. Ingredients include lemon, mandarin, bergamot, ginger and sandalwood." 

Left - Ormaie - 100ml - £180 Exclusive to Harvey Nichols

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Published in Labels To Know
Friday, 20 September 2019 12:32

Tried & Tested Moschino Toy Boy

Review 
Moschino Toy Boy best rated tried testedMoschino’s latest men’s fragrance is a spicy, woody amber. Containing top notes of Italian bergamot, pink berries, elemi, Indonesian nutmeg, pear, cloves, heart notes of Neoabsolut Orpur rose, flax flowers, cashmeran, magnolia and base notes: Haiti Orpur vetiver, ambermax and sylkolide.

TheChicGeek says, “Sinitta once sang, ‘He’s my toy boy, toy boy, I’m out with my toy boy, toy boy, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday night,’ well, it kept her busy, and Moschino’s Jeremy Scott is having some serious leather boy fun with his one.

The fragrance is a sparkling rose surrounded by notes I can’t quite put my finger on. There are lots of ingredients here that I don’t recognise. 

Review 
Moschino Toy Boy best rated tried testedIt’s camper than Katy Perry dressed as a chandelier and that makes it all the more interesting. It’s the opposite of the imagery and while a reflection of the bottle, the fragrance feels pink in colour.

I love what Scott does at Moschino and his playfulness was made for fragrances and especially the packaging. The choice of model and styling really works for this.” *puts chaps on*

Left - Moschino Toy Boy - 100 ML  - £85 Exclusive to Selfridges

Right - A look that never gets old - Jhona Burjack in the advert for Toy Boy

Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Moschino to review

Published in Grooming

Review 
Merchant of venice fragrance Imperial Emerald best rated tried testedCreated by perfumer Jordi Fernandez, ‘Imperial Emerald’ layers iris, Egyptian jasmine and lily of the valley over a subtle base of white musk.

The perfume was inspired by the beauty and majesty of the peacock. Native to India and Sri Lanka, for centuries the peacock has been interpreted by different cultures as a symbol of immortality and regality.

TheChicGeek says, “This looks beautiful with its real feather detail, and you know how much I love Venice. The fragrance is very white florals. There’s a lot going on here with top notes of bergamot, mandarin, pink peppercorn, carnation and iris. Heart notes of orange flowers, ylang ylang, peony, egyptian jasmine, lily of the valley and a base composed of white amber, benzoin and white musk, so it’s definitely not for the wallflowers of fragrance.

It smells old-fashioned, but not in a bad way. It’s probably too blousy for me, but would suit some of those other strutting male peacocks I know..."

Left - Merchant Of Venice - Imperial Emerald Eau de Parfum Concentrée - 100ml - £250 Available exclusively from Harrods

Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Merchant of Venice to review

Published in Grooming

Review 
Bespoke London Superdrug men's fragrance best rated tried testedBrand new and exclusively available at Superdrug, Bespoke London is a new collection men’s fragrances. One of four, ‘Fresh Citrus & Vetiver’ is said to be zesty notes of fresh ginger and mandarin with classic notes of vetiver, amber, musk and patchouli.

TheChicGeek says, “It’s always best to try a fragrance before you look at the price. It takes it back to what fragrance is really about, and this surprised me being under a tenner. Okay, so it doesn’t last long, but there nothing wrong with its fresh fougère - there are hints of lavender - appeal.

While the packaging and bottle is bland, it’s not really trying to be anything it is not. Which is good. This is the same quality you’ll find with the mainstream designer fragrances, and it’ll make you a cleverer consumer to get your everyday fragrance fix from something like this.

This is fast fragrance.”

Left - Bespoke London - Fresh Citrus and Vetiver - 100ml - £9.99 from Superdrug

Disclosure - The product was gifted by Bespoke London to review

Published in Grooming
Friday, 23 August 2019 16:29

Tried & Tested Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau

Review 
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau men's fragrance best rated tried tested"When Jean Paul Gaultier opened Beau's case and, closing his eyes, the smell of coconut wood inspired a profound desire to relax, while the bergamot and the tonka bean whispered to him that lounging was the most refreshing of sins."

The perfumers were Quentin Bisch and Sonia Constant who teleported themselves to “Gaultier's garden”.

TheChicGeek says, “What a beauty! Jean Paul sticks to his winning formula here; tin can packaging, torso bottle and well priced. This is JPG’s Adam, with the giant fig-leaf to match - ooo-er.

The fragrance is an unapologetic gourmand with lots of yummy notes, making this a fun fragrance, but not sickly. It’s wearable and will definitely appeal to the devoted Le Male fan club. While containing the masstige tonka bean, it doesn’t smell generic or boring and has the same tongue-in-cheek sense of humour we adore from Mr Gaultier.”

Left - Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau - 75ml - £44.62

Disclosure - The product was gifted by Jean Paul Gaultier to review

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 01 August 2019 12:23

Tried & Tested Beaufort London Rake & Ruin

Review 
Beaufort London rake ruin gin Hogarth men's fragrance best rated tried testedInspired by the debauched scenes of Georgian London imagined by the social satirist and cartoonist William Hogarth (1697-1764), ‘Rake & Ruin’ is the second edition in the ‘Revenants’ Collection from BeauFort London - Read more about the first one here

‘Rake and Ruin’ imagines moments from ‘A Rake’s Progress’ – one of Hogarth’s most infamous works – where protagonist Tom Rakewell is bought to ruin by high living, prostitutes and gambling. The fragrance captures a debauched evening in a tavern, where gin flows, good times are had, and the slide begins... 

The fragrance is paired by a new offering, Beaufort London’s sister company: ‘BeauFort Spirit’. Beaufort Spirit has produced a fine sippng gin, utilising the same botanical ingredients as the fragrance, with a uniquely bold touch of smoked water. 

Fragrance notes: Top: (Gin - Juniper, coriander, angelica, orange, lemon, orris, liquorice, Szechwan and pink pepper), lemon, cypress, pine needle 

Heart and base notes: Violet, castoreum, costus, ambrarome, labdanum, amber, smokey musk, sandalwood and dry woods. 

Left - Beaufort London - Rake & Ruin - 50ml - £115 

TheChicGeek says, “Gin and perfume? Where do I sign?! ‘Gin Lane’ is one of the most famous images of Georgian London, and, it still resonates today, especially with the hipster gin revival. Fever Tree anyone?!

This fragrance is lighter and more botanical than previous Beaufort London scents. That signature smokiness is there, but there is violet and soft amber. No note really sticks its head out. I’d say this feels more feminine compared to other Beaufort London scents. And as for the gin, rocket fuel!”

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Beaufort London to review

Published in Grooming

Review 
Goldfield Banks Pacific Rock Moss men's fragrance best rated tried testedInspired by the southern coastline of New South Wales, Goldfield & Banks’ Pacific Rock Moss is a fresh, sea spray scent on a base of cedarwood. The perfurmer is Francois Merle-Baudoin, who has used moss, Italian lemon, sage, geranium and Virginia cedar to express the home Australian coast of the brand.

TheChicGeek says, “Marine fragrances are hard to instil much depth into. The fresh, aqua top is always synthetic and, often, smells as such. The most interesting bit of this is the dry-down. It’s a light, soft and warm wood which fades into the background turning from aquatic blue to a soft sunset terracotta.” 

Goldfield & Banks - Pacific Rock Moss - 100ml - £135

Published in Grooming
Sunday, 16 June 2019 20:48

Tried & Tested Creed Aventus Cologne

Review 
Creed men's fragrance Aventus Cologne tried testedFollowing on from the hit Aventus fragrance, Aventus Cologne is said to be a fruity yet aromatic burst of ginger, mandarin and pink peppercorn, complemented by a heart of patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. A leathery balsamic base of styrax, birch, musk and tonka bean.

TheChicGeek says, “Creed has become something of a cult, and looking at the prices, £155 for 50ml, they are certainly premium, even though they’ve managed to ingratiate themselves into the mainstream - John Lewis window anybody?

Colognes are usually lighter and easier to wear, and benefit from frequent reapplications. This is safe. No note really sticks its head above its tasteful parapet. Even the top, which usually dominates a cologne, doesn’t have much distinction and quickly disappears into a that soft and dry twiggy dry-down of vetiver. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you’re investing, like here, I’d advise to demand more.”

Left - Creed - Aventus Cologne - 100ml - £215

Disclosure - A sample was provided by Creed

Published in Grooming
Monday, 20 May 2019 17:15

ChicGeek Comment Language, Timothy!

FCUK returns Urban OutfittersIt was the mid-nineties, I’d been shopping on a Saturday afternoon and somehow I’d found myself locked out of my house. I took refuge with the neighbours next door. Surrounded by shopping bags, my older neighbour took umbrage at something written on the side of one of them. In large, bold lettering, the white paper bag read ‘F.C.U.K.’. I thought nothing of it because I’d been a fan of French Connection for a few years and naively thought everybody knew what it stood for. I didn’t think it was rude, he clearly didn’t agree.

Left - French Connection brings back FCUK with Urban Outfitters

This simple shock tactic abbreviation devised by advertising executive Trevor Beattie, having noticed FCHK (French Connection Hong Kong) on an internal memo, was a revolution for French Connection’s marketing campaigns. It really was one of the best and most fashionable upper high street stores at the time and condensing French Connection United Kingdom down to this four letter word in 1997 came to symbolise the division between those who got it and those who didn’t. It was brilliant. The subsequent poster campaign, which read "FCUK fashion", received complaints from the Advertising Standard Authority, MPs and even the Church of England at the time.

Unfortunately, French Connection didn’t know when to let it go. It’s about to come around yet again with a new, exclusive collection with US Urban Outfitters. The FCUK + Urban Outfitters collaboration is taping into 90s nostalgia with a collection ranging in price from $39 to $129 and featuring the FCUK slogan loud and proud.

“Our brand has always been driven by innovation and change,” said Stephen Marks, founder and chairman of French Connection. “When FCUK launched in the ‘90s, it pushed boundaries and was wildly popular with a youth that celebrated individuality and self- expression. The timing is right to bring this back and introduce it to a new generation that shares this attitude and energy.” he said.

FCUK looks comparatively tame today. Fast forward over 20 years and we’re in an age of ‘Fucking Fabulous’ and ‘Bollocks To Brexit’. In a time of ‘alternative facts’ and fake news, people and brands are starting to say it exactly how it is. It feels like there isn’t time for tip-toeing around and the B.S. of previous generations.

Fucking fabulous Tom Ford language in retail products

Tom Ford originally launched his perfume ‘Fucking Fabulous’ as a limited edition for his Spring Summer 2018 catwalk presentation.

Right - Tom Ford saying how we all feel (sometimes)

According to American website Coveteur on how the name came about; “We were sitting in a meeting smelling the fragrance and Tom said, ‘This is fucking fabulous,’” recalls John Demsey, executive group president of the Estee Lauder Companies, which owns Tom Ford Beauty. “I said, ‘Yeah, it is fucking fabulous.’ He said, ‘Well, why not [call it] Fucking Fabulous?’ So we did. It’s a descriptive. Some people talk about fragrance ingredients; we talk about how it smells.”

For the conservative, American beauty giant Estée Lauder to sign this off was a bold move, especially considering how sensitive the middle of America can be.

“Tom Ford is the consummate gentleman. No one cares more about manners than he does,” adds Demsey. “I understand that this could be offensive to people, but it’s been done in a super elegant, high-end way with good taste. There is a very fine line between what’s salacious and what’s pornographic, what’s erotic and what has a sense of humour. Tom is one of those people who has the ability to do both.”

The PR at Tom Ford Beauty told Coveteur when I asked whether there was any resistance to the name: “This was 100% a Tom decision. We don’t negotiate with Tom Ford.”

Tom Ford has the power and track record to get what he wants and there wouldn’t be many brands or designers brave enough or powerful enough for this to make it through to market. ‘Fucking Fabulous’ has become a cult product even though the scent isn’t particularly memorable.

“I haven’t had this many requests since Tom first went into business with us ten years ago,” Demsey told Coveteur. “Everyone’s asking me, ‘Aren’t I fucking fabulous?’” he said.

This is a case of saying exactly what people think or what you hope they will think, and so it turns to the forthcoming European Elections. The Liberal Democrats slogan ‘Bollocks To Brexit’ isn’t original to them. People have been using it since the referendum, but they have been brave enough to use it and tap into people’s frustrations. It’s definitely a first for politics to be this brave and out there when it comes to campaign slogans. Some have describe it as “coarse” or “crass”, but it’s a very clear message and is exactly what people need today with so much noise on social media and confusing issues and conflicting arguments. It’s decisive. 

Lib dems Bollocks to Brexit slogans pushing boundaries

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable has defended titling the party manifesto “Bollocks to Brexit”, after the BBC’s Andrew Marr refused to read out the name on-air. Marr said: “This is the first manifesto whose title I cannot read out on Sunday morning television. Do you not feel a little embarrassed about the coarseness of your main election slogan?” Sir Vince responded: “A few people objected to it. I looked up the etymology of ‘bollocks to Brexit’ and the first thing I read was it was a word with a long and distinguished history going back to the 18th century.”

Left - Liberal Democrats slogan for the European Elections 2019

What was pioneered by French Connection’s FCUK, has been taken and run with by Tom Ford’s 'Fucking Fabulous’ and the Lib Dems' ‘Bollocks To Brexit’ and shows there isn’t time to pussy-foot around to get your message across. For brands and companies, labels, slogans and names like these are a risk, but this bravery, when it pays off, is rewarded with the both positive and negative energy needed to gain attention in today’s crowded and fractured marketing mix. 

Making people feels a little bit uncomfortable and pushing the envelope of polite language and what is deemed acceptable, resonates, leaves a lasting impression and gets people to remember your product. But, it’s a gamble, some will fall fantastically flat. It’s a question of judgement, but the potential gains are worth it. 

It’s the modern version of shouting and waving. Staying safe now means getting lost in the middle somewhere. This is like the classic Ronseal type of marketing, saying exactly what’s on the tin, but, now, it’s just what you would say to those closest to you or in private. Say it like it is.

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Published in Fashion
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