Tag Archives: Banana Republic

Good Read…

I find it incredibly sexy when I come across a woman who admits she wears men’s cologne. It’s the confidence that comes along with making that choice that does it for me. The industry does a good job segregating fragrances and having the courage to break the rules takes knowing yourself and what works on you. Continue reading

Republic of Men by Banana Republic

BR_RepublicOfMen

If you’re in the media business, September is one of THE most important months of the year. TV show’s premiere, magazines go all out and cosmetic companies launch new products. If you’re a fragrance lover, it can be quite an exciting time as well.

A new fragrance worth checking out is Banana Republic’s Republic of Men. It is the embodiment of sophisticated masculinity. Sparkling clementine mingles with wet plum and dewy fig leaf. A modern aromatic ensemble of sambac, rosemary, basil, sage and freshly crushed hazlenut comprises the scent’s inviting heart, while the lasting signature of the fragrance lies in unique bottom notes of fresh sandalwood, cedarwood and creamy skin musks.

Republic of Men Eau Toilette is $45 (1.7fl. oz/50ml). I love the size. It’s a definite “must have” for your fall gym bag. You can find this gem exclusively at Banana Republic stores nationwide beginning September 2009.

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Meet Harry Slatkin

Harry Slatkin presented The Living Legend Award by Allure Magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells

Harry Slatkin presented Living Legend Award by Allure Magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells (c) 2009 Photo Baude

Harry Slatkin is a name I’ve come to associate with affordable home fragrance options that make my home smell delightful. I know when I walk into Bath & Body Works, the money I hand over for the products with his name on it won’t let me down. Apparently I’m not alone in recognizing his special gift. The past Thursday, the American Society of Perfumers honored Mr. Slatkin with the coveted Living Legend Award. This prestigious award honors a person “who has distinguished him or herself over the years with their body of creative work, their contribution to the fragrance industry and also their contribution to society.” Past honorees include Oscar de la Renta, Gianni Versace, Oleg Cassini, Karyn Khoury and Estee Lauder.

That last part however, “their contribution to society” is another side of Mr. Slatkin I recently came to know as I was invited to join him, his wife Laura and his son and daughter as they rang the closing bell of the NASDAQ in honor of Autism month. Mr. Slatkin’s son, David, suffers from Autism.  Shortly after David was diagnosed, The Slatkin’s joined forces with Suzanne and Bob Wright as founding board members of Autism Speaks. Additionally, they have focused their efforts locally by founding the first public charter school dedicated to serving children with autism which opened in 2005, the New York Center for Autism (NYCA) Charter School. In the fall of 2008, NYCA opened the doors of the Autism Training Institute at Hunter College, a collaboration that aims to increase the number of qualified educators available to work in the New York City Public Schools.

That is quite a contribution to this growing epidemic that is diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls.

I was given another opportunity to get to know a more intimate side of Mr. Slatkin and am honored to share it here:

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
It has to do with what my parents wore when I was a child. My mother used Joy and Norell – Joy for special evenings and Norell for every day. Those fragrances are so unique to that moment in time that every so often when I’m in crowded elevator and I get a whiff of them I want to ask who is wearing Joy or Norell but I fear they might think I am a pervert! My father used Canoe and eau Sauvage. He died when I was 13 and I continued wearing it until my dear perfumer friend Christophe Laudemiel created a scent for me. And like the way I am with my familiar parental scents, my 9-year-old daughter loves to go into my closet when I am traveling and smell my suits. It’s like a big hug!

Since you initially went the finance route, working for Bear Stearns, how did your love for fragrance play itself out up until you decided to make the switch? Did you collect cologne, candles, etc?
When I was very young I was in charge of setting up all the home fragrances for my mother. She used Rigaud candles and floris lamp rings – I remember the rings the most as I would put several drops of oils on the rings and the heat from the lamps would make the scent rise. We varied the scents and my mother let me decide what scents to use throughout the house. It’s funny that I now have a home fragrance oil business today because we are the #1 dominant player in that area. As the years passed I used home fragrance and tried many different scents from shopping and my travels – I tend to change my personal scent less than my home scents – I like decoration and to me scent is about decorating your home.

Do you remember what you were doing when you had the epiphany that you were going to make a career shift to the fragrance industry?
Well, it first started out with a friend on Wall Street asking me to meet his fiancé, Vera Wang. At the end of our dinner she said Wall Street is great for her fiancé, but for me, I had too much creativity. She was right. That led me to do some soul searching, as I was a director at Bear Stearns and I was leaving to start my own business from nothing – but the biggest rewards are the biggest chances you take. Home fragrance was an accident that my wife and I were dabbling in when Rose Marie Bravo came to see us and launched us in Saks not on the home floor but in a large shop in Couture. Then WWD wrote a big article on us and then Ralph Lauren, Martha Stewart and Banana Republic all came to me to do their home fragrances and the rest is now home history!

Are there any scent families that are dearest to your heart?
I am asked this often and I have mood changes but I always seem to go back to the Orientals. I love that mood year round but I will always layer it depending on the season. This time of year I’ll mix it with fruits or something clean or fresh for summer, floral for fall and then holiday scents. I like to change often and I have about 14 different scents in my New York home mixing at all times.

Do you have a personal signature candle scent? If so, what is it?
I have two scents that I think have become iconic to Slatkin & Co – my bamboo and Jasmine and my holiday scents. No matter how many we make of either of these products, they sell out quickly and have for years. If they aren’t in stock, I get tough emails and letters demanding them!

Are there any plans for a Harry Slatkin personal fragrance collection?
Not yet, although, the success we’ve experienced on QVC has made people ask for other products. So it could happen in the future.

With all the success you’ve achieved, what does the Living Legend Award from the American Society of Perfumers mean?
As I was sitting and listening to my dear friend Linda Wells’s and all the kind words she had to say about me, it was her remarks about the difference I have made in the industry and that the name Slatkin will go down in history for home fragrance that made me very proud. I have made a mark and I did change the industry into a behemoth. People will never live without home scent and I am glad that I have made so many people happy who use my products. And thank God it’s a Living Legend award and not something in memoriam!

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
It’s funny but I have two distinct favorite memorable scents. Every time I kiss or hug my son and daughter I smell them. They have a unique scent that I would never share with anyone. That is my most precious olfactive enjoyment and wherever I am in the world I can smell them and it makes me smile. Some scents are not meant to share.

Thanks for sharing Mr. Slatkin. By the way, that Bamboo candle of yours is one of my favorite as well…

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Meet Michael Haar


One day I was sitting with Michael chatting about a printing job I was asking him to consider for a client of mine when I just decided to blurt out, are you into men’s fragrances. I mean, he’s a pretty hip cat (he was wearing some sweet colored Nike Dunks) so I figured it was a fair question…well not only is Michael into fragrances but he proceeded to email me a picture of his collection. Needless to say, I was quite surprised by his submission and decided to let him have his say.

What’s your favorite scent?

Dolce Gabbana

What’s getting the most wear these days?

Banana Republic’s Black Walnut

What do you look for in a scent?

I like something that’s fresh but not to sporty. I particularly like woody and spicy scents.

How often to you buy cologne?

I would say I purchase a new scent at least twice a year. I’m slowing down a bit but there are a bunch I want to get like Dolce Gabbana’s The One, and ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, John Varvatos and Paul Smith all have ones that smell great.

What was your last purchase?

Hanae Mori It’s really sweet but not in a feminine way.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance in your life?

I remember in the 70’s, my dad and a substitute teacher I had for 1 day, its kinda weird but I remember him vividly down to his lack of control of the class and his tan corduroy jacket with the elbow patches and long side burns, they both wore Old Spice which was more an after shave but it was very strong and nasty.

How would you finish this statement…my most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

I’ll give you two that have stuck with me like it was yesterday. When I was 15 I had a girlfriend who had the most amazing smelling hair. She used Silkience and it was amazing. Some years later, I was dating a young lady that wore Christian Dior’s Fahrenheit. Although it was for men, the way it laid on her skin drove me crazy….that was a good summer.

I bet it was Michael. Thanks for sharing.

Banana Republic Classic

Often times, packaging can make all the difference in the world. Case in point, this weekend I went to a Pinot Noir tasting and it came down to two from different regions but both were quite tasty. As I stood conversing with the attendant, I openly said this one is going to come down to aesthetic. He chuckled! But think about it, you’re entertaining friends and you’ve gone through the trouble to decorate as uniquely as you can, you certainly want your wine presentation to be up to par. To wine aficionados, this would be considered downright dumb. But these two wines were so closely matched that I needed something to push me over the edge. The bottle I picked, which was actually also picked by about 95% of the other customers that attended the tasting, possessed a sophisticated looking label while the other seemed a bit playful…either my palette was in tuned with the other patrons or the labels beauty nudged some decisions. All that to say that when I received my sample of Banana Republic’s Classic, it was in the most unassuming bottle…downright plain Jane so I couldn’t be persuaded by anything other than the scent. All I had running through my head was my own skepticism. Fragrance is the last thing I associate with them. If I need a reasonably good priced sweater, jacket or shirt, I’ll see what they have to offer because they have great staple pieces and every now and then, they produce a winner. Well, one of those winners for me this season is Classic.

As part of Banana Republic’s 30th Anniversary, they decided to reintroduce an updated version of Classic. Originally launched in 1995 as an Eau de Toilette, the limited edition remixed version is being offered as an Eau de Parfum. From the moment I sprayed this on myself, I felt refreshed. The scent has a sweet crispness to it that one would associate with a summer scent but is being offered August-December. That makes me like this even more as its a bit unconventional. As fall rolls around so do the scents that are heavily woody and spicy and this is far from that. While cedar wood, ginger musk and teak wood make up the dry down notes, the freshness of the top and middle notes, which include grapefruit zest, bergamot mandarin citrus, lavender and honeysuckle, really dominate. So while your compadres will be smelling like burnt wood, or leather or a bunch of spices, you’ll have the cool, crisp edge of Classic to set you apart.

By the way, the bottle looks good too.