The scene at DKNY’s Madison Avenue store
For the second year in a row, I turned the much-hyped Fashion’s Night Out into my own Fragrant Night out. My night was a mix of hitting up some of the crowded boutiques, Bergdorf, Henri Bendel, Gucci and DKNY and sampling some of the fragrances retailing at the better men’s department stores. I must say, as opposed to last year, the staff at the fragrance counters I visited was very helpful. I was even surprised by the offering of samples. At Bergdorf, I was given a sample of Duc De Vervins and at Barney’s I was given samples of YSL’s La Nuit De L’Homme and Costume National’s Scent.
Last year I sampled quite a few of scents, this year however, not so many. There really wasn’t that much out there that I hadn’t seen or smelled already.
My first stop of the night was Bergdorf and it was bananas. Thank God for the men’s store which was a bit calmer but just about shoulder to shoulder. Upon entering, I was greeted by guys playing air hockey and ping-pong. I ran into one of Esquire Magazine’s style arbiters Josh Peskowitz who made me want to own some clay-colored pants. Tom Ford was scheduled to make an appearance and sign the bottles from his collection but I dipped before that scene ensued. I did sample Champaca from his private collection and it left a lasting impression all night. The wine and cognac top notes don’t open boozy at all. In fact, I never felt I was sniffing alcohol. It does, however, have a floral sweetness reminiscent of Le Labo’s Rose 31. As the night wore on, the similarities grew but Champaca didn’t contain that B.O. undertone I detect in Rose 31. I shall own this one-day but for now, the similarities make it feel like a redundant purchase. That being said, it was one of the best of the night.
After stopping in at Gucci, which had a line that wrapped around the corner, I shuffled my way into Henri Bendel, as I wanted to smell Histoires de Parfum’s Défilé New York. Apparently only 150 bottles were created and the scent pays homage to Fashion’s Night Out. As exciting as that maybe, what peaked my interest were its base notes ingredients, which included chocolate and coffee. An added and unexpected treat was the appearance of the brand’s founder Gerald Ghislain. He was super sweet and explained the scent’s influences which he said included the early morning smells of Bryant Park (where Fashion Week was previously held) and editors showing up with their coffee as they waited for the shows to begin. As someone who’s experienced Fashion Week firsthand, I found that story very intriguing.
Overall my fragrant night out was a lot of fun. Défilé was the most original scent I sampled all night. The way fresh-cut grass, bergamont, Rhubarb, chocolate and coffee all play together makes this an incredible scent. I fought the immediate urge to purchase it as I thought I could double back, but I should have known better. After making my way over to DKNY (they know how to throw a party) and having a few cocktails, my plan took a detour down to Soho where I ended the night. As Jesse Jackson would say, “Keep hope alive.” I’ll be calling Henri Bendel to see if Défilé is still available.
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Tagged Barney's, Bergdorf, Champaca, Costume National, DKNY, Fashion's Night Out, Gerald Ghislan, Gucci, Henri Bendel, Histoires de Parfum, Josh Peskowitz, La Nuit De L'Homme, Le Labo, men's cologne, Men's Fragrances, Men's Scents, Rose 31, Tom Ford, YSL
So as you know, September 10th was deemed Fashion Night Out. Kudos to all who participated. Stores were packed, people were shopping and the weather held up quite nicely. I decided to partake in the festivities but with my own twist. I made it a fragrant night out.
My first stop was Bergdorf. The main store was bananas. Zac Posen painted dresses in one of the 5th Avenue windows and a large crowd gathered to take photographs. My good friend Ainsley Connell and I made our way into the store but quickly exited as the crowd was quite thick. A good thing for them, not so good for us. We went across the street to the men’s store which was much more relaxed. After checking out some of the wears, we quickly made our way over to the fragrance counter. Before we could even begin asking questions, we were introduced to Cuoio by Odori. I found it to be extremely sophisticated and quite masculine. The bottle’s packaging, which seemed familiar with its wood and leather accents makes it worthy of being prominently displayed on your mantle of colognes. We then sampled two stand out scents, Vetiver Ambrato by Bois 1920 (earthy, woody, very sexy) and Lyric by Amouage (modern take on Rose with spicy, green accents). I highly suggest checking these two out. To me they possess the distinct characteristics one should search for when looking for a new fragrance. Also, if you’re still hanging onto the belief that rose scents are for women, its time to come from under that rock – and smell the roses. Come into the light and start with, Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Homme…if this doesn’t change your mind, nothing will…Our next stop was Barney’s.
To my surprise, they had the Comme des Garcons/Monocle collaboration, Hinoki. My first introduction to Comme de Garcons was Odeur 71 and ever since then I’ve been a huge fan of their fragrances. I was introduced to Monocle magazine about a year and a half ago and truly enjoy reading it from time to time. Thus when I heard about the collaboration, I was quite intrigued. I am happy to report, I was not let down. It is quite woody and resinous but also quite sensual. We then sampled a few scents from Byredo Parfums, Bal D’Afrique, Pulp, and Fantastic Man. The guys are hot right now and after smelling these three scents, I know why. Each have their own unique quality bot for me, Fantastic Man was the winner. It has a traditional appeal but they dry down quickly updates it nicely.
Before heading to the lower level in search of champagne, I wanted to get a whiff of Nasomatto’s Black Afgano. For me, this was the winner of the night. I became a fan when I discovered Duro and this also swept me off my feet. From Afgano’s opening, I detect what smells like cumin. I’m not sure if it’s there and the salesman wasn’t quite sure but there was a sweaty factor I recognized. With that I knew this is for a confident man. If I was invited to the after after party where the unmarked door opens to a fete that doesn’t really start jumping until 3:30 am, this is what I’d wear.
The moral of the story for this rather fragrant night out is it’s all about sampling. Gents, if you’re looking to add to your collection, get out there and try a few things before making a rushed decision. How many stores do you visit before purchasing a new camera or television? How many questions do you ask the salesman before buying a computer or new stereo? The same reasoning applies. Do this and you’ll make better decisions about which fragrances suit your taste and style.
Posted in News
Tagged Amouage, Bergdorf, Bois 1920, Byredo, Fashion Night Out, Hinoki, Monocle, Nasomatto, Odeur 71, Odori, Parfums de Rosine, Zac Posen