If the truth be known, king of French fashion chic Karl Lagerfeld has always unsettled me with his appearance. There's something about that shock of white ponytailed hair, his caramel coloured perma-tan, and fingerless leather gloves that seemed somehow incongruous with a man in his 70's... not to speak of his mystifying black shades à la Michael Jackson - but despite the veneer, the man is a fashion genius. In his sensational career, Lagerfeld has worked with the greats: Chanel, Balmain, Cholé and Patou, but his present fame has been achieved with his freelance career and numerous couture and ready-to-wear collections that carry his own name.
In 2008, Lagerfeld teamed up with several accomplished noses to create a new trio of unisex perfumes in his contemporary Kapsule range: Light, Floriental and Woody. A series of scents designed to carry you from daybreak to well after dark; I was particularly charmed by the intriguing Olivier Cresp creation: Woody... a fragrance that bestrides the line between genders and summons one to explore further. Woody is built around notes of dry cedar and dark mosses - each of which lend an earthy masculine charm, but tendrils of climbing green ivy and bushels of velvety violets disclose a softer, tender heart. When I close my eyes and inhale, I see with my mind's eye; dark cypress-green hues and rich purples. There is a semi-gourmand aspect to Woody that I attribute to a lush and narcotising plum accord - one that is not too saccharine, but lends an opulent nectar-like quality to the formulation.
As it evaporates from the skin over an impressive 8 or 9 hours, Woody shifts recurrently. The fragrance unfurls unhurriedly, and at times, reminds me of Armani Privé's Cuir Amethyste, or the wonderful dry black tea-like accords distinguishable in Burberry's London for men.
I am excited with this release as not only does it bring something new to the mainstream by way of a unisex woody scent; but also because it is unpretentious and surprising.
One to sample generously.