Perfumery has always been about head-turning. Now, perfumes are about to be turned on their head. For the first time in fragrance history, a major, full-blown fragrance collection is to be launched as an homage to a great city. The name of this fragrance collection is Bond No. 9 (which is also the address of its headquarters boutique at 9 Bond Street, in Noho). The city it celebrates is none other than–could be no other than–New York.
The Bond No. 9 start-up collection–40 women’s, men’s, and unisex eaux de parfum–has a dual mission: To restore artistry to perfumery, and to mark every New York neighborhood with a scent of its own. Each fragrance represents a specific downtown, midtown, or uptown locale or a city-wide sensibility. With new introductions in the coming seasons, Bond No. 9 will infuse the island of Manhattan with scents.
While each Bond No. 9 fragrance is unique, all 40 share something in common with the city in which they were created: They have an edge. From the most audacious (and several are very audacious) to the wittiest and most whimsical, they all convey a courage, a gutsiness, that captures (as in a genie’s bottle) the uncompromising spirit of this grand-scale, fast-paced, hard-working, hard-living kaleidoscopic city. They’ve got a kick–a savvy assurance that says, Yes … this is the place to be … this is the scent to wear.
Bond No. 9 is what happens when a French perfume expert, Laurice Rahmé, for 25 years a loving resident of New York, turns her uncompromising, opinionated nose to her adopted city. She couldn’t help but give New York its own array of scents. Steeped in the art of 20th century Paris perfumery (the juice … the bottle … the packaging … the pitch), Rahmé has sniffed out the city, and developed a series of scents as tone-poems, that smell of the dreams, the longings, the mystique, the energy and spirit of her adopted home–the brave and bold premier metropolis of the 21st century.
Going against the grain of most commercial fragrances, Bond No. 9 restores the grand art of perfume blending, using only high, 18 – 22 percent concentrations of pure eaux de parfums–the longlasting concentrations of the legendary vintage scents of the 1920s and 1930s. What’s more, each fragrance has been blended in New York, by hand-picked French perfumers who, like Rahmé, have gravitated here to what has become the world capital of beauty and fragrance.
Circa 2009, New York is in much the same position as fin de siecle Paris. It has a similar excitement and charisma, a similar electric pace, a sense that it’s come of age. Like Paris a hundred years ago, New York is the teeming metropolis the whole world watches, the center of taste-making and trend-setting, endlessly reinventing itself, forever remaking the rules.
In that spirit, Rahmé calls her Bond No. 9 collection la parfumerie autrement (alternative perfumery), or laissez faire perfumery–personal choice perfumery–for this city that revels in a multitude of choices. Even down to the details, Bond No. 9 breaks all the taboos.