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“Beauty Is Shoe, Shoe Beauty”


Before Andy Warhol started making his iconic screen-printed color block portraits and hanging out at The Factory, he was a shoe illustrator living on Lexington Avenue. To celebrate how Warhol got his start, Bond no. 9′s third fragrance in the Warhol Series is called Lexington Avenue and the bottle is an homage to his whimsical footwear silhouettes. Each of the scents in the Andy Warhol are lovely: First, there was Silver Factory and then there was Union Square, but Lexington Avenue is my favorite so far because it honors Warhol’s roots in fashion. The eau de parfum has “fresh citrus topnotes and a lingering forest-like base” with notes of peony, orris, patchouli, sandalwood, cardamom, fennel, almonds, cumin, and even crème brulee. Hmmm. Sounds heavenly already. The fragrance is seductive and intoxicating – perfect for the coming autumn-winter season. Bond no. 9 Lexington Avenue launches in September 2008 and will be available at Bond no. 9 boutiques, BondNo9.com and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Also, just in time for the holiday, “limited-edition flacons will feature Robert Lee Morris sterling silver shoe pendants of Warhol’s shoe designs—four of them—on a sterling silver chain.” More info on the inspiration of the eau de parfum and a close-up of the gorgeous bottle with the silver shoe charms after the jump . . .

See a shoe and Pick it up and all day long you’ll have Good Luck.
So said Andy Warhol half a century ago, when he first got noticed …
as a shoe illustrator ensconced on Lexington Avenue.
Now for the artist’s 80th birthday, Bond No. 9 returns to Warhol’s origins
and celebrates the mutual sensuality of shoes and eau de parfum.

Just in time for the 80th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s birthday (August 6, 1928), Bond No. 9 proudly introduces the third in its series of Warhol eaux de parfum. Its name, Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue, recalls the artist’s formative pre-Pop years in 1950s New York, when he lived in the first of several apartments on Lexington Avenue and plied his trade as a prolific illustrator—mainly of imaginative shoes. Hence the Warhol-designed mélange of exclamation-point heels and high-button boots that covers the flacon. Lush and unapologetically seductive, Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue dares (perhaps for the first time in perfumery) to link two of the most ultra-feminine commodities a woman can own: fragrance and footwear.

The Warhol shoe connection
Back in 1955, in collaboration with Ralph Pomeroy, who wrote the shoe poems, and his mother, Julia Warhola, who did the lettering, Warhol published a little book, A La Recherché du Shoe Perdu, filled with his phantasmagorical illustrations of … shoes, accompanied by riffs such as Beauty is shoe, shoe beauty… (see: Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn). Thus did he elevate the status of shoes to poetry.

But why this fascination with footwear?

As a young artist, camped out furniture-less at 242 Lexington Avenue, above a bar called Florence’s Pin-Up, Warhol needed to make a living. Along came I. Miller, the legendary shoe establishment holding court at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, which chose Warhol to update its image with illustrations for ads that would appear on a regular basis in the New York Times and the Herald Tribune. He complied with what one of his ads called “the Daringest new way to sell shoes?: whimsical displays of the Mod new pointy-toe, spike-heel pumps; he even devised gold-leaf Crazy Golden Slippers for a range of celebrities that included Zsa Zsa Gabor and James Dean. So seriously did Warhol take his shoe illustrations that in 1956 he submitted one of them as a gift to the Museum of Modern Art. (It was rejected.)
The I. Miller illustrations hinted at Warhol’s future. A decade before Pop Art emerged, he was already advancing consumer goods as a worthy subject—perhaps the new subject—of art. What’s more, in these shoe ads he began using repetition to emphasize the product’s allure.

The fragrance
Now, fast-forward to 2008 as Bond No. 9 began developing its third Warhol fragrance (following Silver Factory and Union Square). With fanciful shoes the most directional fashion story in recent years, we found our theme when we discovered the rich lode of phantasmagorical shoes Warhol created on paper fifty years ahead of their time. And we relished the idea of sharing Warhol’s early career with our fragrance-sniffing clientele.
The eau de parfum we concocted is a floral woody chypre (chypre meaning fresh citrus topnotes and a lingering forest-like base) with highly coveted contemporary gourmand notes—a brew of peony, orris, patchouli, sandalwood, cardamom, fennel, almonds, cumin, and even crème brulee. A seductive and intoxicating autumn-winter fragrance, Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue is the perfume equivalent of that rarity, an outrageously luxurious pair of stiletto heels that fit as comfortably as a glove. Wearing the scent, like wearing the shoes, will turn a woman’s walk into a sinuous glide.
“Prophetically, Andy Warhol’s first job upon his arrival to New York City was to illustrate a magazine article entitled ‘Success is a Job in New York,’? said Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation. “Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue celebrates the fashionable, sophisticated, and successful women of New York City through the whimsical lens of Andy Warhol and his artwork.?

The flacon
Depicted on the Bond No. 9 superstar bottle is a Warholian fantasy collage of shoes and boots, as commissioned by I. Miller, in rich, saturated colors. The overall effect is witty and sophisticated—as assured as the high-stepping optimism of the mid-century America of Warhol’s shoe-illustrating years.

Warhol and Perfume
“Another way to take up more space is with perfume. I really love wearing perfume,? Warhol remarked. What’s more, “for an iconic time, perfume is a way to see and be seen,? adds Bond No. 9’s president, Laurice Rahmé. “We were attracted to Bond No. 9’s creative approach to luxury perfumery which celebrates New York City,? said Michael Hermann, director of licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation. “Working with Bond No. 9 represents a unique, unexpected, and exciting opportunity to introduce Warhol to an ever-widening audience.? The connecting point between The Warhol Foundation and Bond No. 9 is New York. If Andy Warhol was a mirror of his time, he also reflected the vitality and creativity of his adopted city—exactly what Bond No. 9 is about. With the Warhol collaboration, Bond No. 9 takes it as its mission to enhance the artist’s dynamic by connecting his vision not just with a line of fragrances, but with another kind of artistry—that of the sense of smell, and to interpret for today the scents of the studios, the clubs, the streets of New York that Warhol frequented and made famous nationwide.

Launch date: September 2008
Suggested Retail Price: $195 for 100ml; $135 for 50ml

For the holiday season, Limited-edition flacons will feature Robert Lee Morris sterling silver shoe pendants of Warhol’s shoe designs—four of them—on a sterling silver chain. Launch date: September 2008. Suggested retail price: $575.

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