Friday, December 09, 2011

Vivienne Westwood- Boudoir

Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood is one of those perfumes with a reputation that only rivals their sillage. It was the first perfume released under Westwood's name in 1998 and was right away labeled as a love-or-hate fragrance. I'd go out on a limb and say that a lot of the hatred was probably the result of over-application, which is anything that exceeds half a spritz. Have I mentioned Boudoir has some serious sillage?

Vivienne Westwood was never about subtlety. Neither is Boudoir. It hits you with bucket loads of pink roses and super-extra-powdery orris. Then there's a billow of sweet vanillic patchouli that requires you really really like this kind of confection, as they took it to an exaggerated level. On my skin it also takes a very honeyed form, a little spicy, a little animalic, and quite gourmand.

Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir smells very pink. Perhaps that's the part I find most interesting. It's floral yet it's really not about flowers- it's about skin covered in honey and body warmth. That's, I guess, is what many conceive as dirty and skanky. I get it, but the attraction-repulsion I smell is more about the over-ripe flowers and the way Boudoir introduces something so clearly synthetic into the mix. That's the trashy element in my opinion, but with a certain sense of humor, like the photo of Diana Dors in the very pink boudoir. There's also the touch of vintage over-glam in this perfume. Some find it dated, but I think it's utterly delicious, especially since it's so rare in modern designer fragrances.

An interesting thing about Boudoir is the fact it changes its color over time. The fresh juice is pink, but it becomes an ambery red as it ages, and rumor has it that it also improves. Another rumor that I can't confirm but will not surprise me at all, is of a reformulation that took away some of the potency (and color). I haven't smelled a fresh batch of Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir in many years, but please take into account that any perfume that has been on the market for 13 or 14 years has been adjusted one way or another.

Notes (via the Perfumed Court): viburnum, marigold, orange blossom, orris, red rose, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, amber, vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli.

Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood can be easily found online at around $50 for 1 oz.

Photo of Diana Dors from
Model Helena Barquilla in Vivienne Westwood photographed by Pamela Hanson for Elle UK, March 1992, from


  1. This is one of my all time favourite fragrances. I am still clinging on to the last few drops of deep red liquid from one of my first ever bottles.
    This to me is one of the sexiest fragrances but sadly, my husband doesn't agree so I don't wear it so much these days xx

  2. They spritz and spray Boudoir all over the Vivienne Westwood shops so much that I am really tired of it. I wouldn't wear it just for that reason, cause I would constantly think I'm in a shop! Anything you get from their shops also smells like that for quite some time which I find very annoying. I know it's a perfume, but to me it's become room fragrance; a very annoying and persistent room fragrance.

  3. Boudoir is one of my favourites, I also like Let It Rock by Vivienne Westwood.

  4. I think freshly-applied Boudoir is a really pleasant perfume. It's the next morning when it gets, ah, well, it lives up to its name.

    I only have samples/decants and I'm thinking they must be an older formula (they're from swaps). Now I'm a little afraid to try whatever is passing for Boudoir now.

  5. Honey is one note I love in a scent, it does develop into a warm musky slightly skanky impression. Don't know about the super-charged rose though, I like mine with lots of oakmoss or patchouli (my three faves are Magie Noire, Gucci III or L' Arte di Gucci) for that type of composition. I don't think I've ever tried this one though.

  6. I bought my bottle back in '98 and have treasured it ever since. It never fails me. I get complimented each time I wear it, especially by men. I've even had a few tell me I smell incredibly sexy. I tend to search out dirty fragrances, but have yet to find anything similar to this one. It's a gem. I was considering ordering a new bottle since mine is getting low. I'm just too afraid I'll hate the rumored reformulation.

  7. I started wearing Boudoir in 1999 and it was my signature scent for years. I received a bottle as a gift around 2007 and it was a much lighter pink color and was nothing like my beloved Boudoir. Does anyone know if perhaps it's been reformulated again to be closer to the original? I had contacted the company (back in 2007) and they had said they were working on reformulating it again, but I'm too afraid to purchase a bottle.


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