rive dambre tom fordBeing nice will get you far in life. It will also get you a boatload of Tom Ford samples. This past weekend I took myself out on a perfume date. Given the proximity to Fall, I figured it was time to find a new scent. After trying out a half-dozen, I landed upon Tom Ford’s Rive d’Ambre.

“In reading about the Orient’s rituals and history, I became entranced with the refined art of gift-giving. Rive d’Ambre in inspired by the tradition of presenting precious citrus fruits as gifts. True to my nature, the sparkling fruits are wrapped in rich and warm sensuality.”

– Tom Ford

The Notes

Bergamot, Lemon, Bitter Orange, Tarragon, Cardamom, Moroccan Spearmint Oil, Benzoin, Pear Wood Accord, Cognac Oil, Tolu Balsam and Amber.

How Does it Smell?

Rive d’Ambre possibly sticks out amongst the others in the Atelier d’Orient collection simply because it is the least heavy, dense or spice laden perfume in the bunch – in fact it is positively refreshing and effervescent in comparison.

Opening with a blast of zesty orange, mandarin and a sprinkle of bergamot, Rive d’Ambre is a sparkling and almost drinkable citrus cologne in its opening stages with a nice balance between the bitter and sweet facets of fruit – but it isn’t just a cologne – in fact it is so much more.

Sitting just beneath Rive d’Ambre’s surface is a palpable layer of sweet, gauzy benzoin which adds to the proceedings a comfortable layer for which those citrus notes can bounce off. As the citrus dies down the benzoin becomes richer but it never transforms in to a fully realized amber accord (there is no creamy or plush vanilla to bolster it), meaning that it keeps the spirit of the cologne alive.

Rive d’Ambre is a delightful perfume that takes the age-old style of cologne and turns it into something warmer and deeper. This is by far one of my favorite Tom Ford private collection scents.

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matt williamson 15

Last December, Matthew Williamson installed Danielle Scutt as his head of design, but she is no longer with the brand. What that means is that Spring was all down to Williamson himself; he was up for the task. “I have been doing this a long time, and the trick is to not make a collection repetitive and boring,” he said backstage. “We have to infuse some freshness in it, and here there are no curveballs, no tricks. This all came straight from the heart.” Williamson is known for his use of tapestry, brocade, embellishment, and embroidery, and he has a keen eye for tailoring. All of that was on display here, as he turned a well-worn travel reference into a strong collection.

The show started off with a maroon suede trouser suit with floral sequin embellishment, flared trousers, and a tassel belt. That was followed by some high-octane looks with silk dégradé floral patterns inspired by Williamson’s recent trip to Bali, as well as plissé halter-top looks with flouncy flamenco details on the hem. Shots of sky blue with citron yellow stood out, as did the pieces that had a more reflective quality.

The blouses were ingenious: a wrap design that just showed an inch of skin via a triangle, achieved through clever cutting. There was also an ostrich-feather detail that was more subtle than usual for Williamson. The high point was a sea blue ikat shorts-and-jacket suit that summed up a big part of the designer’s appeal—the touch he has with brocade. In the past few seasons, the brand has been trying to find a line between business and boho, and at times the direction has felt unclear. With this collection, however, it seems that things are back on track.

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The Costello Tagliapietra boys were thinking a lot about the nuts and bolts of construction for Spring. Sure, they’re known for their thoughtful draping, but there was more here. “We were reevaluating—and falling in love with—the way we put together clothes,” said Robert Tagliapietra, who designs the collection with his partner, Jeffrey Costello, after the show. “We wanted to highlight each piece by delineating the lines.” Indeed, there was noticeable attention paid to every seam, particularly at the waist. An olive silk jumpsuit, for instance, was accented with navy leather, a gold jersey dress with tonal grosgrain ribbon. The pleats on the front of a cocktail dress were made to lie flat, creating the subtlest detail. And the backs of many of the dresses—including an ombré V-neck number and a navy-plaid wrap dress—were made with jersey in contrasting colors to achieve a second-skin fit.

Costello Tagliapietra’s color palette was moody and romantic, inspired by Patricia Arquette’s character in David Lynch’s Lost Highway. The hammered petrol-blue brocade silk was particularly Lynchian. Fashioned into a strong-shouldered skirt suit, it belonged on a film noir star. But seasonal musings aside, Costello and Tagliapietra’s work is always very much about the woman wearing it. All of that seaming and décolletage framing is not just for showing off technique: It’s meant to make her feel beautiful.

costello spring 2015

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