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Boho Chic — Tom Ford White Patchouli Fragrance

 tom-ford-white-patchouli-eau-de-parfum

Ahhh, Tom Ford— the man who helmed Gucci for a decade, whose good looks and charm make women swoon (despite the fact that he’s openly gay), who graced the cover of Vanity Fair‘s 2006 “Hollywood” issue surrounded by a naked (he was also the guest art director for the issue), who tailors James Bond’s suits, whose eponymous line covers menswear, women’s and men’s accessories, eyewear, and beauty with glamour and ease…. Tom Ford is a living legend because he knows how to make women feel sexy and in control and, more importantly, how to so so with class. He’s a legend because he’s a risktaker — and those risks have paid off. I mean, it takes some serious gumption to not only incorporate patchouli, an herb from the mint family that is often mocked for its unpleasant, old-couch-meets-unwashed-corduroy-pants smell, into a new high-end fragrance, but to refer to it in the perfume’s very name. And yet that’s exactly what Tom Ford did with his new White Patchouli perfume (pictured above).

And it’s not like Ford wasn’t aware of the stigma attached to patchouli — in fact, the stigma was his very muse, as he wanted to reinvent the notions associated with it. Which makes it all the more clever that he selected Erykah Badu to grace the print advertisements for the scent — after all, Miss Badu is affiliated with a very earthy, hippie-meets-Afro-Funk, incense-burning, head wrap-wearing, tofu-eating and, yes, patchouli- and hemp-loving crowd. The ads, in which Miss Badu looks absolutely stunning (and for the record, folks: that’s a wig… Not hating at all ’cause I love Erykah and her wigs, but I’m just stating a fact… Or do I need to remind y’all of the Block Party performance where she ripped the big thing off?), kind of have a tongue-in-cheek element that I absolutely adore.

As for the fragrance, it’s absolutely divine. The smoky aspect of patchouli is subdued thanks to the usage of patchouli orpur, and the addition of notes like peony, bergamot, coriander, jasmine, rose, ambrette seed, blond woods, and incense. It’s not a look-at-me-now type of fragrance; instead, it’s pretty minimalist but with a funky edge to it, earthy and floral all at the same time. You’ll definitely smell the patchouli, but it won’t make you gag or grimace (seriously, I’m the first person to cringe when I smell patchouli, but Ford really manages to extract all the yummy aspects of the herb and subdue the harsher, dustier, mossier aspects). And, really, if you have a sharp nose, you’ll quickly detect the peony notes, and the woodsy elements pop up almost instantaneously. It’s exotic and spicy, but also sleek and modern, the type of fragrance you’d wear with flared jeans, one of this season’s platform heels, some oversized glasses, and a posh, structured leather handbag. In other words, think ’60s retro with a modern, structured twist.

Tom Ford White Patchouli perfume, $92 for a 1.7 0z. bottle or $138 for a 3.4 oz. bottle. Visit NeimanMarcus.com

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