“See a shoe and Pick it up and all day long you’ll have Good Luck.” ~ Andy Warhol
This twist on a popular saying is in line with women's two most feminine accessories: fragrance and shoes. Because just in time for the 80th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s birthday (August 6, 1928), Laurice Rahmé introduces the 3rd fragrance in Bond No. 9’s Warhol series: Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue. Think pre-Pop, 1950s New York fashion, shoes of course and fragrance: “Another way to take up more space is with perfume. I really love wearing perfume,” Warhol had remarked.
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 Recherche 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.
Now, fast-forward to 2008 as Bond No. 9 began developing its third Warhol fragrance(following Silver Factory and Union Square). The rich lode of phantasmagorical shoes Warhol created on paper fifty years ahead of their time was the theme.
The Lexington Avenue eau de parfum is a floral woody chypre (a modern chypre with 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.”
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.
The project is udertaken with the collaboration of the Andy Warhol Foundation Visit the Warhol Foundation here.
Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue will be available in two sizes: 100ml and 50ml, at Bond No. 9’s four New York City boutiques, http://www.bondno9.com/, 877.273.3369, and at Saks Fifth Avenue 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 hanging from the neck of the bottle.