Friday, 18 July 2008

CoSTUME NATIONAL: A Design Institution

I've always been a fan of lean silhouettes cut close to the body... a hallmark of Italian fashion powerhouse CoSTUME NATIONAL. CN founder and designer, Ennio Capasa, has led his brand from strength to strength since the doors opened in 1986. His work embodies the marriage between modern sophistication and timeless Italian tailoring. His extraordinary vision favours dark and natural tones, and materials that have been researched with meticulous detail. Passionately interested in all aspects of the industry, Ennio takes an active part in the design of his garments, retail spaces, fragrances and flacons. The brand carries his fingerprint.
In 2002, Costume National launched a trio of fragrances. Capasa teamed up with IFF perfumer Laurent Bruyere and together they created perfumes that were designed to fit the body as competently as the clothing line. The flagship fragrance aptly named "Scent" was flanked by a lighter 'sheer' version, and the incredible Scent Intense - a compelling, concentrated eau de parfum.

Wearing Intense is like wearing a theatrical mask - its initial impact is unanticipated and ambiguous, but beneath lies something familiar and inviting.  Jasmine tea, hibiscus and amber play key roles in its composition, all of which cartwheel across fragrant woody accents. Sensuous, exotic, mystical, intense
For a designer release, it does not conform to the "mainstream" norm; rather, it is as bold, as edgy, and as striking as the fashion itself. Dark, refined, enchanting. 

Despite it originally being created for women, Scent Intense is also well-loved by men as a daring and avant garde creation. Every time I have worn Scent Intense to a gathering, I have been asked what I am wearing without fail. I rarely reveal the name. This one is best kept for those with an acute appreciation of the CN ethic, and of course, the art of modern perfume.

In late 2007, Costume National launched a new scent named "21" - a unisex fragrance composed of 21 accords, and celebrating 21 years as a fashion house. This is yet to be reviewed, and I am excited.

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