New Collections: Andy Warhol Fragrance Launch

Now, for the artist's birthday, Bond No. 9 returns to Warhol's origins and celebrates the mutual sensuality of shoes and eau de parfum.

Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue

Launch date: September 2008


See a shoe and Pick it up and all day long you'll have Good Luck. So said Andy Warhol half a century ago, when he first got noticed… as a shoe illustrator ensconced on Lexington Avenue. Now, for the artist’s 80th birthday, Bond No. 9 returns to Warhol’s origins and celebrates the mutual sensuality of shoes and eau de parfum.

Just in time for the 80th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s birthday (August 6, 1928), Bond No. 9 proudly introduces the third in its series of Warhol eaux de parfum. Its name, Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue, recalls the artist’s formative pre-Pop years in 1950s New York, when he lived in the first of several apartments on Lexington Avenue and plied his trade as a prolific illustrator—mainly of imaginative shoes. Hence the Warhol-designed mélange of exclamation-point heels and high-button boots that covers the flacon. Lush and unapologetically seductive, Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue dares (perhaps for the first time in perfumery) to link two of the most ultra-feminine commodities a woman can own: fragrance and footwear.

The Warhol shoe connection

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, Á 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.

The fragrance

Now, fast-forward to 2008 as Bond No. 9 began developing its third Warhol fragrance (following Silver Factory and Union Square). With fanciful shoes the most directional fashion story in recent years, we found our theme when we discovered the rich lode of phantasmagorical shoes Warhol created on paper fifty years ahead of their time. And we relished the idea of sharing Warhol’s early career with our fragrance-sniffing clientele.

The eau de parfum we concocted is a floral woody chypre (chypre meaning 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.”

The flacon

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.

Warhol and Perfume

"Another way to take up more space is with perfume. I really love wearing perfume,“ Warhol remarked. What’s more, "for an iconic time, perfume is a way to see and be seen,” adds Bond No. 9’s president, Laurice Rahmé. “We were attracted to Bond No. 9’s creative approach to luxury perfumery which celebrates New York City,” said Michael Hermann, director of licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation. “Working with Bond No. 9 represents a unique, unexpected, and exciting opportunity to introduce Warhol to an ever-widening audience.” The connecting point between The Warhol Foundation and Bond No. 9 is New York. If Andy Warhol was a mirror of his time, he also reflected the vitality and creativity of his adopted city—exactly what Bond No. 9 is about. With the Warhol collaboration, Bond No. 9 takes it as its mission to enhance the artist’s dynamic by connecting his vision not just with a line of fragrances, but with another kind of artistry—that of the sense of smell, and to interpret for today the scents of the studios, the clubs, the streets of New York that Warhol frequented and made famous.

About The Andy Warhol Foundation

As the preeminent American artist of the 20th Century, Andy Warhol challenged the world to see art differently. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. is a New York not-for-profit corporation established in 1987 which promotes the visual arts. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s objective is to foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work. The Foundation has given out over 1,700 cash grants totaling more than $70 million. For more information, visit www.warholfoundation.org.

About Bond No. 9

In business for four years, Bond No. 9 is an edgy downtown perfumery, committed to designing artisanal scented evocations of the neighborhoods and streets of New York—from Riverside Drive to Chinatown to Coney Island. An impassioned client base advises us on which parts of town they'd like us to do next. Our Warhol series of collectibles, beginning with Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory (introduced last year) will celebrate the New York locales this late 20th century artist made his own.