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 stirredstraightup.blogspot.com.
Model Helena Barquilla in Vivienne Westwood photographed by Pamela Hanson for Elle UK, March 1992, from heycrazy.wordpress.com.