mardi 28 février 2012

Hedi Slimane back at Yves Saint Laurent? And what's up with M7?

Wires are crackling all over the fashion world with the officious announcement by the AFP agency (which says its sources are unimpincheable) of Hedi Slimane’s appointment as the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent in replacement of Stefano Pilati. Before his epoch-making stint as the artistic director of Dior menswear, Slimane had been hand-picked by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé to design the menswear of YSL. He left when Tom Ford stepped in.

The whippet-thin creator of the slim suit, who has been working as a photographer during his hiatus from fashion, will be fondly remembered by perfume lovers as the man behind Olivier Polge’s Dior Homme. The iris note was selected by Polge as a response to Slimane's claim he loved "old-school" scents; its chocolate facet was drawn from scientific observation of the common points between orris butter and cocoa.

Dior Homme translated the olfactory essence of the eponymous menswear line: classic yet edgy, gender-bending in that Slimane's suits, though perfectly masculine, could be worn by women too.
Critically hailed but not received as enthusiastically by the public, the scent started being tweaked almost from the outset, even before its formula and production were "repatriated" by LVMH, which never felt comfortable with its androgynous essence. Slimane also art-directed the "neo-cologne" trio Eau Noire, Cologne Blanche (both by Francis Kurkdjian) and Bois d’argent (Annick Menardo).

Slimane's successful transformation of the humdrum Dior menswear line into a rock-chic label meant he could be indulged when he turned his attention to fragrance.Should he become Yves Saint Laurent's successor after Alber Elbaz, Tom Ford and Stefano Pilati, it is doubtful he will be given such a free hand with the house's scents, since the Yves Saint Laurent Beauté license was bought by L’Oréal in 2008.

Still, with less-than-groundbreaking launches like Saharienne, Belle d’Opium or the Parisienne series, one can hope Slimane’s arrival might inject the jolt of olfactory originality that characterized Tom Ford’s tenure (Nu and M7 were launched during that period).

Speaking of which… M7 Oud Absolu must be on its way to blockbuster status, judging from the hundreds of daily hits I’m getting for it – it is consistently among the top three search keywords in my stats. What’s up with that? Have your nostrils been submerged by wafts of M7 lately? Enquiring minds want to know.

9 commentaires:

  1. oh boo. I rather liked Pilati, but I think I'm the only one...?

    I think the chances that a fancy designer brings about better fragrances is just about nil. Look at Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. Dahlia Noir was trumpeted all over the place as being Tisci's "first" fragrance for the line, or at least the first fragrance that he "creatively directed." Was it edgy, exciting, or innovative?

    Color me pessimistic I guess.

  2. I checked out the new M7 'absolu' about a week ago, knowing that I was not really going to like it, because I was so fond of the older 'classic'. It didn't have that cherry menthol Tunes flavour that I loved, and generally seemed weaker and less 'in yer face' than the original. Never got the love for Dior Homme but I do remember being impressed by Bois D'Argent. I was cornered by a sprayer in La Rinascente department store in Milan saying "Signore signore it's by Heady Slimming! (a contradiction if ever I heard one! The trouble is now of course I'm way too fat to wear anything remotely titled slim, and probably much too old for these young men's scents as well!
    Mum has used up the lily candle by the way! Thanks for that! Stephen

  3. Susan, I gave up on YSL after Elbaz and Slimane were ousted by Tom Ford... Still wearing my sample sale items from the Elbaz era, actually, they haven't aged a bit.
    If we go by another Groupe PPR house, Balenciaga, rather than on an LVMH brand like Givenchy, the fact is that the fragrances are nowhere near as edgy as Ghesquières' designs. But they're still more interesting that most designer fragrances, and Ghesquières *was* involved in the process like Slimane was at Dior. So it's not an entirely hopeless case!

  4. Stephen, I got the cherry menthol from the new M7, but then not having worn the old one I couldn't be disappointed.
    "Heady Slimming" is hilarious! Even at 16 I couldn't have worn his slim suits, but I find Slimane excitingly modern and probably all that Lagerfeld *wishes* he could be.
    I do disagree about one being too old to wear Dior Homme: at least in its original form, it was, as Slimane had asked for it to be, also "old school" (his very words), because of the iris note. Surely one could wear iris well into decrepitude? ;-)

  5. Dior Homme was the closest thing I ever got to a signature fragrance. The only scent I ever used up completely AND bought a second bottle of 100ml! I normally buy 30-50ml bottle and get bored of them before they are done (not a monogamist in perfume relationships I'm afraid). However that idyl turned sour and faded away as soon as I got the second bottle becaus ethe fragrance was simply not the same any more. I didn't know back then but from what you tell us there was a reformulation as soon as 1 year after the 1st release.

    M7 is another sad almost-signature-scent story. Bigger than life when it came out, ended up as a lament in vanillin, more of a snuggie blanket than a sexual mania inducing drug as it was meant to be. As it is, it reminds me of homemade liquer to be brought out when relatives visit on special occasions. Everyone drinks it with relative pleasure, no one asks for seconds.
    I predicted the reformulation would be a mass hit the moment the facial muscles around my nose twitched when I first sniffed it. It seems the appeal of vanillin is so great that people are willing to overlook the ugly spraypainted bottle. The name Oud Ablsolue helps too...

  6. Kostas, I agree the new M7 is, if not entirely snuggly (it does have darkness and bitterness), at least not a sexual potion. I quite like it as it is, but then as I said above, I never wore it, or hung around someone who wore it, back in the day.
    But your "almost signature scent" stories with both Dior Homme and M7 would indicate that, yes, outstanding juices can be put out by designer brands when their creative directors' vision includes the olfactory.

  7. Susan, you're not the only one. I have adored YSL under Pilati. I'm a little crushed that he's leaving. First Raf Simons, now this - it's almost too much for this poor little fashionista to take. One of the things I've most appreciated about Pilati is that he does design for women who are shaped liked women. YSL fits me like a dream. I fear those days will be coming to an end now that Mr. Skinny is in charge.

  8. Amy, I know you love Pilati. Like you, I'm sure Heady Slimmer will not be cutting for womanly figures. A moot point in my case since I can't remotely afford anything by YSL, but I believe that even if my bank account gains heft (and I don't), in that price range I'd probably be more likely to go for something a little more off-kilter like Boudicca...

  9. For M7, certainly not where I live! But oud is so very very popular...