"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 on Lexington Avenue. Can you believe the iconic artist would have been 80 this year (August 6, 1928)?
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Just in time for Warhol’s birthday, Bond No. 9 is introducing the third in its series of Warhol eaux de parfum. ‘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.
Why this fascination with footwear?
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, A La Recherché du Shoe Perdu, filled with his illustrations of shoes.
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 at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, which chose Warhol to update its image with illustrations for ads that would appear in the New York Times and the Herald Tribune. 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.)
Now, fast-forward to 2008 as Bond No. 9 began developing its third Warhol fragrance (following Silver Factory and Union Square). No the perfume does not smell of feet, nor leather. In fact, it smells fantastic! The eau de parfum Bond No. 9 concocted is a floral woody chypre (chypre meaning fresh citrus topnotes and a lingering forest-like base) with contemporary gourmand notes—a brew of peony, orris, patchouli, sandalwood, cardamom, fennel, almonds, cumin, and even crème brulee. It’s the perfect fall fragrance! I literally could not stop smelling my wrist while wearing it.
The bottle itself is a Warholian fantasy collage of richly colored shoes and boots, as commissioned by I. Miller.
Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue will launch next month (September) and will be available in two sizes: 100ml ($195) and ($135) 50ml, at Bond No. 9’s four New York City boutiques, www.bondno9.com, 877.273.3369, and at Saks Fifth Avenue nationwide.
* Note: For the holiday season, Limited-edition flacons will feature Robert Lee Morris sterling silver shoe pendants of Warhol’s shoe designs—four of them—on a sterling silver chain for $575.