Boudicca, the London-based design house of Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby, will launch Wode, their first fragrance, this fall (it was introduced in conjunction with their Paris couture collection this week):
An experiment five years in the making, involving a small army of specialists who've all signed non-disclosure agreements, it's more of an anti-perfume that Kirkby claims "does something never done before and is applied in a new way." But here's the kicker: it won't be available for sale when it's unveiled in a "spectacular" September launch. "If I say too much I'll be in breach," explains Kirkby, "but it will not follow the conventional route of a fragrance."
The fragrance is named for woad, a plant traditionally used to produce blue dye, and when sprayed from its 'graffiti can', will initially turn skin and/or clothing blue, then will turn transparent:
Wode, the revolutionary Art Fragrance from BOUDICCA, explores further the myth around Queen Boudicca (aka Boadicea). Legend has it she and her tribe wore a cobalt blue war “paint” on their skin that gave them a ferocious and mythical look when advancing into battle. When finally defeated by the Romans, Queen Boadicea killed herself by swallowing hemlock, an extract of which is included in Wode.
The fragrance itself is a spicy animalic by perfumer Geza Schoen of Escentric Molecules. According to Schoen, the perfume "is based on the smell of raw opium".
You can watch a short video for the fragrance at Platform 13.
(first quote via hintmag, second quote via platform13, third quote via The Independent, 2/23/2006; additional information via wwd, style)
Update: the Boudicca Wode scent will come in a regular Eau de Toilette (€98 for 150 ml) or in the blue paint form described above (€83). It will launch in October; in the US, it will be at Barneys, in the UK, at Browns and the Dover Street Market. (via cosmeticnews)
Another update: see a brief review of Boudicca Wode.
Oh, brother. I don't even want to imagine the “applied in a new way” angle. And what IS that image?
An aside: can you comment on Escentric Molecules? I have to be honest, I became really curious after reading the copy posted on Luckyscent (I think it might have been their own commentary). It seems gimmicky, but the copy is working on me and making me want to try some.
I see: the image is from the video. I find it beyond creepy.
Is that The Bite of the Blue Vampire?
And it isn't easy to get a WOW out of perfumistas these days…
I think the “applied in a new way” is explained by the graffiti can & the blue dye…
I think Geza Schoen is a wonderful perfumer. I have samples of the two new Escentric Molecules though & haven't gotten to them yet…hopefully this week.
It's pretty darned creepy.
That video is *almost* NSFW.
I hate to sound indelicate, but I won't be purchasing this one.
But since it's not following “the conventional route of fragrance,” perhaps it will never be available for sale, just a “spectacular launch.” All joking aside, this sounds more like an art installation than a new fragrance.
R, if it was not Geza Schoen, I'd have less interest…but I'd kind of like to smell it. I assume I won't be able to buy it — American Express is financing the launch, as they do Boudicca's couture collections, which means, I guess, that they don't “need” it to make money and can go as arty as they like, right? Even if it means using slasher film imagery and not selling it in stores.
One word comes to mind – GROSS!!!!
Well, I am very interested. Geza Schoen created Infusion, for the Bombay Sapphire Gin people, which was the exact smell of Bombay Sapphire, but just *worked* on skin so you didn't smell like you had too many at lunch. And it was in a super cool ice blue and black square bottle. Sadly super-LE as it was only in gift packs with BS gin at duty free around 2000.
interesting. would like to smell for kicks…definitely creepy ad. but a little “perfumance” art can't hurt…
I think the blue-to-transparent is too much for me to deal with. I spray right before I leave them apartment; I don't want blue juice dripping down me. And the packaging doesn't sound like it'll do much for me. I mean, a graffiti can?
I'm curious about the scent, though, but I think the blue-ness might just be too much. I'll try it if I can access it, but if I can't, I probably won't be too disappointed.
Man, that video scared the bejeebus out of me. o…o;;;;
And I hope that was dummy perfume; I bet her nose would die if that was the real stuff.
Yep, don't think perfumes which dye the skin are going to catch on in mainstream perfumery.
He has done some wonderful work, much of it uncredited.
“Perfumance” — I like that!
Clearly they are not aiming for a market that is looking for perfume as something to wear, you know? They've got more artistic fish to fry
Sometimes art seems so silly. And heaven forbid you “wear” your pefume.
I bet it's ridiculously overpriced. I mean, five years is not a short time to employ a team of specialists. So, yes, artistic, incredibly loaded fish.
You know, I can see people getting this and showing their friends the blue effect and just leaving the bottle to gather dust.
I love the audacity of it, and I'm so excited to read all of your opinions on what perhaps will also be a fabulous perfume.
Apply quotes around “specialists;” statements like that can't be taken at face-value.
I'm loving the idea. Almost especially if it is only at art piece rather than a for sale item, though obviously my frustration at not being able to smell it might make me less entranced. Perfumery is an art as much as it is a science (and big business), and playing about with context/form and challenging preconceptions is all good. And all the better if big business money is paying for something that has little or no financial gain.
My inner Iceni just likes the idea of a Boudicea inspired scent.
Boudicca Wode, what's that brand ???
When you look at the picture, you feel like in Profiler, you know the TV program with serial killers.
Is it Waterman blue ink or Clorox toilet cleaner on her in this picture ?
I remember it! It was wonderful. I do love me some Geza Schoen, and I do love me some fragrance video. The theme of woman dabbing on scent and then flung into near-death rapture has been done by David Lynch for Gucci and Opium. I'm sure it pushes bottle wile enhancing the prestige of ER specialists
Three cheers for the intersection of art and science. I'm all for cheap chemistry tricks, and after trying the “fizzing gel” Angel, I'm ready to kick it up to disappearing ink Boudicea.
This is totally going to be the silly-string/whoopie cushion of fragrance gifts. “No, seriously—try some on! It'll go so well with that elegant, white silk blouse.'
Eek. Maybe it's art, but I don't like it. I like the idea of a perfume that's visible on the skin and I love the (ostensible) homage to Bodacia, but the ad is just so off-putting…the combination of violent/sexual imagery and a passive/turned-on woman turned me off, frankly. Misogyny in a spray can, anyone? Now if the perfume STAYED blue and we could wear it in stripes on our necks or our wrists, THAT I could get behind.
Are you sure this isn't a leftover entry from the Prix Eau Faux?
Very funny – Actual woad smells AWFUL! Fermenting woad for blue dye is notoriously offensive. I do hope the irony was intentional.
I think this is silly and over-the-top…and absolutely fascinating.
I mean, it sure beats another fruity-floral-aquatic inspired by a walk around Jennifer Love Hewitt's garden, or whatever.
Indeed! GdG Series 10, Pigment.
I don't know Profiler, but it does look like a slasher film…
Sorry about that!
Perhaps, and perhaps I'll never get to smell it
Hard to say if it will be overpriced…it isn't clear if they're going to “sell” it. Agree that sometimes these projects seem more like they're going to shock value than for an artistic statement.
Fizzing gel Angel? I missed that!
Have a feeling it won't be cheap/easy enough for that
LOL — it would never have won, it's too over the top!
You know, a dye that stayed put (for longer than a few minutes, anyway) would be kind of interesting, wouldn't it?
Interesting, thanks — had no idea.
So very true…
I think this sounds just awful – I'm all for perfume as art, but I also want it to be a functioning perfume, as well, you know?
I really love the idea. What's all the fuss about it being nonfunctional? It disappears and I love the spray can idea. Too bad I will never be able to get my hands on it.
The first thing I though when I read woad was whoa! From my studies in economic botany: It was the manufacture of the blue dye that caused Queen Elizabeth I to pass the first “environmental emissions” law for want of a better term. They have to rot the woad plant, make it smell completely putrid, to begin the extraction process. She decreed that no woad manufacturing plant could be located within ten miles of her palaces.
So a foul smelling manufacturing process/product named in conjunction with a ballsy, yet ultimately suicidal queen. Okey dokey.
Bouddica do some of the most interesting, directional designs in English fashion. Geza Schoen is one of the great post-modern perfumers. I'll be very curious to smell this.
P.S. But I won't, will I, since it won't be for sale… Oh well.
A spicy animalic by Geza Schoen could be wonderful though…
Curious to see what their distribution plans are! Maybe we'll all get to smell it, maybe none of us will.
Interesting, thanks! Well, at least it doesn't say the *smell* was inspired by woad…
We'll have to see what they do. Supposedly it launches this fall…so that must mean there is some sort of plan for distribution? If it was just for the sake of art, there'd be no need to do more than they've done (introduce it at their couture show) you'd think.
This is odd.
First, we have the vile Tom Ford ads.
Then, the “end of macho” French menswear show.
I, personally am against slasher films as they just give directions to idiots on what to do. They should be banned outright.
I think this alleged fragrance should be named “Misogny”.
Art installation, whatever. Obviously it meant to provoke. iIt did.
It reminds me of the “invisble ink” stupid guys would try to spray on you in grade school.
Anti frangrance indeed. What's the point?
Is there still time for me to submit my entry to the Prix Eaux Faux?
Perhaps I'm being oversensitive, but I think that image is just horrifying. She doesn't look like she's in some kind of perfume-engendered euphoria, she looks like she's had a vein violently opened.
The whole manufactured mystique around this scent reminds me very much of the first Viktor and Rolf perfume, which was a completely unscented fluid in a bottle that wasn't even meant to be opened. Very different execution, but the same sort of art-gone-wild sensibility.
Wow (yes, it is hard, but this one's done it), this could either be really good or really weird… we shall see, shall we not?
Also, I wikied Queen Boudica, and the story of her uprising is pretty terrifying… this perfume looks interesting, that's for sure. Not sure how I feel about it.
Well, I guess my mind is in the gutter but that video looks to me much more like a porn “money shot”, with all the writhing around and rubbing in of stuff.
I have a feeling I'll forget this perfume exists before I ever see it in person but the artist in me is intrigued.
As an artist, I want to stand up and applaud–Now THAT's really different! But as a perfume addict, I want a perfume to stand on it's smell (hmmm, bit of a mixed image there) and not on a “different way of application,” or slasher flicks. If I loved gratuitous sex, I'd go back to Tom Ford.
But still. . Wode you wear it? I wode not. Or something. . .
I didn't find it so very upsetting, but it is true that if the scent wasn't by a perfumer I admired, I probably wouldn't be interested.
There's always next year, LOL…
Agree on “manufactured mystique”, and in that sense, it isn't really all that different from the way all perfumes are marketed. The first perfume company that bothers to speak to its customers like they're grown-ups, *that* will be different.
Thanks, I'll have to wiki it myself…
Okay, my dear Robin, time to revisit that gs02 from Biehl I've been pestering you about!!!!! It's da bomb, baby! Try it and tell me so. Then maybe you'll drag the bunch of them out of Purgatory and put your magic pen to work telling us about them. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, I don't know what I think until I've read what you've written.
Yeah. I'll be kind of happy when it moves off the front page.
I don't think they're after perfumistas, you know? And huge LOL at “I wode not”, thanks!
Yeah, it looks like that too.
I liked both of his biehl scents, but I didn't love either. But I need to retry them, you're right, and a few others in that line. But you should write a paragraph on them — then you'll know what you think
LOL. You really are sweet and funny. I've grown very fond of you, you know. . .
And I of you
Awww. You warm my heart, fellow R.
I bet they use this as a one off “perfumance” (love helen's expression!) and then bring something on the market which is related to it but a conventional perfume.
I don't see why this is not welcomed by everyone who usually complains about the boring mainstream releases!! It's original and expressive. I don't find it creepy at all. She's obviously enjoying it in the vid. Admittedly the picture is a different story.
I don't see the violence. And it's much less sexual/sexist than most other ads.
In the video she's enjoying it, it rather a self-satisfactory thing where no other person is involved. The photo I agree is a bit different, still it looks to me more like an overdose/suicide than a violent attack.
The disappearing of the blue is part of the concept, apparently. I think “Hidden meaning” is the title of the collection.
“[…] Broach explained that they wanted to explore the idea of transparency (think juxtaposed layers of translucent lace and cotton) as a counterpoint to their first fragrance […]. In fact, many of the dresses had invisible prints that were visible only when the fragrance was applied. But with their airy elegance, the dresses didn’t need that gimmick to look cool” (Dominique Maitre on http://www.wwd.com).
I sign your post! Thank you!
We don't get more exciting concepts because obviously the majority doesn't appreciate concepts, even in a blogg about perfume. To come up with a good concept often takes time, people need to sit down together and think about it, otherwise it tends to be just another clishée. Unfortunately people want to hear what they are subconsciously prepared for, which mostly is a sexy/romantic picture, often copied from someone else's concept.
A suggestion: if you look carefully at the photo—a princesse's death in some ancient fairytail in the style of a modern criminal investigation—the woman slightly opens her decoltée, as if yearning for more. She looks like in a self-induced trance. I think it looks peaceful once your eyes get used to the unusal blue liquid. It's too abstract for me to be scary, think noble blue blood.
BEAUTIFUL! Don't you think?
Also, this is refrechingly free of sexism, I find.
To me she looks peaceful. If she's dead then self-induced, cause by an overdose. Don't want to repeat myself though…
WOW! That sounds and looks so intriguing. Finally a story behind a perfume that actually IS a story and causes a variety of associations instead of listing impossible flower names or someone's fetishes.
Great idea, great label. It also complements their collection, which I think more labels should try to do to maintain an identity.
guess i'm in the minority but i LOVE this whole concept and scent story. the video is haunting and weird, but the blue disappears as promised….makes me think of the invisible ink i had a as a kid.
different and indeed, not another fruitly floral walk through Jennifer Love Hewitt's garden (lmao Mrs Williams, well said!!) no idea of the scent, but it almost doesn't matter *ducks*
interesting and truly off the beaten “spoon fed like everything else” path. perfume as art- love it.
Sadly, I don't know their fashion (not an interest of mine) so can't really comment on that.
LOL — you do need to duck if you say the scent doesn't matter
All I really care about is the scent, so you won't hear me complaining if it's wonderful — assuming I ever get to smell it! But I do think the video is pretty creepy.
LOL! i did say “almost”!
what i meant was knowing beforehand what the scent is, or knowing what “wode” smells like doesn't matter to me, they “had me” with the disappearing blue juice
'S ok, we'll allow that, LOL…