Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday This and That - With EIGHT & BOB

Tom Ford had a baby! It was a topic of discussion at Neiman Marcus yesterday, with comments about the new addition to the gene pool (good, no doubt) and his age ("At his age why would he want a baby?"). It occurred to me that when you have as much money as Tom Ford must have, you can afford a live-in nanny and all the trappings that make fatherhood a cakewalk.

The couple (Tom and his long-time partner Richard Buckley) has been together for 25 years. I hope the new baby - a boy - brings them much happiness. I want the dish on the woman who carried the baby. I can imagine that she was selected for her beauty and that she made a bundle for nine months of inconvenience. Were any of you as curious as I am about the biological mother?

It's too bad the baby is a boy. If it were a little girl, she could could give dad makeup advice as she matures. (See comments. Perhaps this was a short-sighted remark.)

Speaking of famous men, in mid-October, Chanel will roll out its advertising campaign starring Brad Pitt. We'll see if the good-looking but scruffy actor can sell perfume. Will he re-energize sales of the iconic Chanel No. 5?

WWD reported that Andrea d’Avack, President of Chanel Fragrance and Beauty, noted that "the commercial, shot by Joe Wright, features Pitt speaking in a way that the viewer assumes he’s speaking to a woman - and then it’s revealed that the addressee is actually the scent. Wright has worked with Chanel since 2006 and directed several Coco Mademoiselle commercials with Keira Knightley, whom he is also directing in the upcoming “Anna Karenina.” 

I am not usually motivated to purchase products because of celebrity faces, and my attitude will be no different toward Chanel with Brad Pitt as a spokesperson. It's an interesting experiment. Will George Clooney be next? Can you imagine what beauty product he might represent? It sure won't be Wet 'n Wild. That will be Fergie.

EIGHT & BOB, a new fragrance, has arrived at Neiman Marcus. It has quite a story.

Albert Fouquet, the son of a Parisian aristocrat, was part of elite French society in the early twentieth century and a perfume connoisseur. In a room on the upper floor of the family chateau, Fouquet created and perfected various essences for his own personal use - aided by Philippe, the family butler. At social events he would surprise everyone with an exquisite fragrance that became increasingly in demand within the exclusive social circle he frequented. However, Fouquet continually rejected proposals to market his fragrance.

One night during his summer vacation in 1937 on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Albert met and got on very well with a young American student who was touring France in a convertible: John F. Kennedy (JFK). Within minutes of being introduced, the vain JFK was captivated by the essence that Albert wore. John’s charm and congeniality persuaded Albert to leave him a sample of his cologne with a note at the hotel the following morning: “In this bottle, you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks.”

On returning from his vacation, Albert received a letter from John, thanking him for the kind gesture and informing him of the success his perfume was enjoying among his friends. He requested that Albert send him eight samples, “and if your production allows, another one for Bob.” Without fully understanding the request, Albert decided to send a box with sufficient samples to offset the transport costs. His perfectionism extended not only to the fragrance, but everything surrounding it. He didn’t fill the order until Philippe found some beautiful glass bottles in a Parisian pharmacy that Albert considered suitable for his cologne. Finally, he ordered several boxes decorated with the same pattern as the shirt that JFK was wearing when they met, and then labeled the bottles and boxes with John's amusing request: EIGHT & BOB.

Albert was surprised a few months later when he began receiving letters from America with requests from various Hollywood directors, producers, and actors, such as Cary Grant and James Stewart. Everyone wanted the EIGHT & BOB cologne they had apparently discovered through John's father, who had maintained relationships with well-known stars because of his previous business ventures in the movie industry.

Unfortunately, the success of his cologne would not spread much further. In the spring of 1939, Albert died in an automobile accident near Biarritz. Philippe, the only person who could handle the orders, would only continue with the work for a few months, when the start of World War II forced him to leave his job with the Fouquet family. In the final shipments, Philippe hid the bottles inside books that he carefully cut by hand to prevent the Nazis from seizing the cologne.

Decades later, thanks to the family of Philippe the butler, the formula for EIGHT & BOB has been completely recovered, along with its carefully crafted production process. Once again, it has become one of the most exclusive colognes, preferred by the world’s most elegant men.

In January 1934 Albert Fouquet traveled to Chile at the invitation of the Italian ambassador. Besides enjoying the charms of the country, he took advantage of this trip to search the Andes for aromatic plants that would enhance his fragrances.

He returned to Paris with several sprigs of “Andrea,” the name Albert had given the plant whose extracts are the soul of his cologne EIGHT & BOB. Andrea is a wild plant in short supply due to the altitude and limited area in which it grows; it can only be picked during the months of December and January. The plants gathered undergo a very exacting selection process in which only seven percent are chosen. This process ends between March and April and only then is it known how many units of “EIGHT & BOB” can be bottled; and how many can be allotted to each country.

Right now, you can purchase EIGHT & BOB for $195. I sampled it yesterday and came home with a small decant. I really like it, despite the fact that it contains patchouli (it must be a miniscule concentration). Now Smell This lists the notes as ginger, cardamom, lemon, bergamot, cedar, nuts, cistus, guaiac wood, patchouli, sandalwood, amber and vanilla. The blend sounds strange, but I assure you the fragrance is soft and beautiful on the skin.

True to its story, the bottle comes safely ensconced in a softcover book, with every page cut out in the bottles shape. You cans see the black and white book in the photo above. Once I wear my decant a few more times, and assuming the patch doesn't jump out and scare me, I may be forced to buy a bottle of EIGHT & BOB. I love the story almost as much as the fragrance.

Photo of Tom Ford courtesy of, source unknown for Brad Pitt photo, EIGHT and BOB photo courtesy of EIGHT & BOB


Nemo said...

Thanks for the Eight & Bob info.

EllenB said...

That's a good story. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing! And that Wet 'n Wild/Fergie comment gave me a good chuckle. How right you are!

Charlestongirl said...

You're welcome, Nemo!

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there, Ellen,

That is a cool story. I was enchanted when NM gave me the info a few months ago.

Anonymous said...

You never know. There are plenty of little boys out there who adore makeup. Some of the men who were once those little boys might be in your audience :)

Charlestongirl said...

So true, Anonymous.! My makeup artist buddies are almost all men, and they all wear makeup of some kind.

Wouldn't it be cool if he started the first line for teen guys? They could learn the wonders of skin care early, and find out in a non-judgemental house that it's OK to wear foundation and mascara! Lessons learned early could change a whole generation!

Katherine said...

Nice post. This is very informative and interesting blog.Nice story you share with us . I like it . Thanks for posting it.

Eileen said...

It's not Sunday, but I didn't want to let the joyous Ford news pass without comment. Congratulation on the birth of Alexander Ford! Seeing as Tom and Richard have been together for 25 years, they will obviously be bringing little Alexander up in a loving household. As to their age, who cares! As long as they fill their bousehold with love, patience, understanding, and humor, their son will thrive. Little Alexander was certainly no "accident" and I'm sure that Tom (meticulous person that he is) and Richard thought everything out before making the decision. So, congratulations and hearty good wishes to the new family!

Hi Anonymous,

You raise a wonderful point: A lot of makeup adoring little boys have grown up into beauty loving men who read the blogs. And why not? Men have cared for their skin, worn scent, and applied makeup off and on throughout the centuries. Even in today's conservative culture, the majority of our most creative and talented MA's are men, men who shape our concept of beauty and teach us how to appreciate and enhance our unique gifts. So, when it comes to blogs, let's hear it for all the great guys who ask their questions, share their experiences, and voice their opinions. True beauty is without gender.

Anonymous said...

lovely blog charleston girl and great posts! i want to ask something off and on topic!!! do you know or if anybody else knows any online store that sells tom ford beauty products-besides perfumes-to europe?
i am desperately trying to find one!
thank you

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Katherine!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous, I don't know, but I will ask a Tom Ford representative who might know. He's off today, so please come back in a day or two. I'll get an answer.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! i can't wait! my name is susana by the way!!

Susan said...

Your comments section is very "warming" today. This is my LIKE button being pressed!

Mamavalveeta03 said...

Congratulations to Tom Ford and Richard Buckley! You can sometimes have what seems like the whole world to everyone else, but not what you really want. So, maybe a child was what they really desired. I wish them joy.

And, what an interesting story about "Eight & Bob"-I'm going to have to pass that one along to my JFK loving parents!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susana,

You can get Tom Ford cosmetics from Harrods, Selfridges and House of Fraser online - I think ( fingers crossed !) they all ship within Europe. Hope this helps. Happy shopping !


Anonymous said...

what a good story about that fragrance. thank you for sharing! wendy

Anonymous said...

Hi Susana,

Just had a quick look at the websites I mentioned - Selfridges will only take phone orders for international delivery. It looks like Harrods will deliver anything except fragrance, and House of Fraser will deliver to the UK and Ireland.

Good luck !


Charlestongirl said...

You are great shoppers! Thanks!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi MamaVal,

Maybe you need to buy one for your dad! Or mom!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Susan, thanks!

Susana said...

Thank you Anne! You 're great!! i'll check them out!

mim said...

that is such an awesome story! unfortunately, it can't lure me in to the tune of 195 cool broke.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I bought eight and Bob at Madison Perfumery Budapest. Prior to that I'd tried it and had fallen in love. Without the great story, in itself the scent is great. My new signature scent.