Few films or film series have had as much impact upon men’s fashion as James Bond. Luxury, quality goods are ingrained in the film franchise courtesy of author Ian Fleming’s penchant for the finer things in life. And while we’ve all come to accept the fact that modern Bond films are just as much about product placement as they are about action and adventure, there are those products that are designed to emulate Bond but exist solely outside his fictional universe. Yes, Tom Ford exists both in and out of Bond’s universe, and come October you’ll be able to buy Tom Ford designs that also feature in the new Bond film Skyfall, but there are those products that have been created to play to the adage that “men want to be him, women want to be with him” and then encourage men to part with their money.
They’ve been created for the James Bond effect. The trouble is that, were James Bond real, he wouldn’t be seen dead near them.
The latest of such such money spinning products that jars with the actual world of James Bond is the recenlty announced James Bond Fragrance For Men.
James Bond, even Daniel Craig’s interpretation of the character, is particular. He’s particular courtesy of the fact that author Ian Fleming was particular, and he’s particular courtesy of the fact that the films series’ first director Terrence Young was particular. He opts only for the best, and he has the knowledge of what is best engrained within his keen mind.
Colonel Smithers: Have a little more of this rather disappointing brandy.
M: What’s the matter with it?
James Bond: I’d say it was a 30-year-old fine, indifferently blended, sir… with an overdose of bon-bois.
Therein lies his charm. Bond, with his fictional expense account, lives better than most. Therein lies his appeal.
An appeal for us, and an appeal that applies also to those people within Bond’s world. His lovers don’t wear scents released under the marquee of a celebrity name; they opt for the likes of Balmain’s Vent Ver (released when Balmain was more than it is today) and Guerlain’s Ode. Proper scents. Proper people. Particular people.
We never find out what scent James Bond himself wears within the original Fleming novels. It probably was the bergamot and neroli laced Floris No.89 as Fleming himself preferred. Nor will we ever find out what Bond himself would think of a celebrity fragrance let alone one that bares his name (Bond steps outside his own fictional universe in The Authorized Biography of 007, so it’s canonically possible for him to pass judgement). But we could borrow a quote from 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever should we wish to get just a glimpse of how Bond might review the James Bond Fragrance For Men as he turned his nose down at it,
James Bond fragrance teaser trailer
… smells like a tart’s handkerchief.