Strip is the latest perfume creation by upscale whimsical lingerie brand Agent Provocateur founded in 1994 by Serena Rees and Joe Corres; the latter is the son of Vivienne Westwood another high priestess of sexiness.
Agent Provocateur does not hesitate to advertise themselves as "The most erotic lingerie in the world" and it appears futile to try to argue with them after you have glimpsed at their catalog, which short of being X-rated is definitely found under the auspices of Venus. They even succeeded in getting banned from the airwaves (see Kylie Minogue's banned commercial for the brand). So when they decided to use the image of the stripper in this particular case one could anticipate that they would not only talk the talk but walk the walk.......
The new eau de parfum is a limited edition which is already sold in the UK on the brand's website and will be available in the US at Bloomingdale's in October of 2007. Some olfactory affinities with the original Agent Provocateur perfume are apparent, the Haitian vetiver accord in particular. The concoction is described by the press release in the following manner: "The original Agent Provocateur formula has been stripped down to the core to reveal a powerful, mesmerizing, and hypnotic formulation."
Strip is Agent Provocateur's fourth scent creation, except for massage oils, and to date, their most sexual-boudoir-like perfume. It comes after their debut fragrance, Agent Provocateur in 2000 (a chypre), which was followed by Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle then Maîtresse (a white floral). Exploring further the art of the sexy boudoir perfume with a requisite pinch of (British) humor thrown in, Strip, mercifully, does deliver unlike the recent Sarah Jessica Parker Covet that seemed to have trouble breaking the puritanic mold when attempting to shoot an arrow in the hearts of men although it officially said it was going to do so. We then wrote that given the hyperboles accompanying the launch of Covet one had hoped for a modern-day Bal à Versailles that is that kind of perfume that is all the more interesting because it elegantly stinks a little yet miraculously retains a well-mannered polished lady-like quality. In other words such a sexy perfume could not but exude the charm and effluvia of an old-school Gallic perfume, the product of a culture that appreciates stench as a higher form of refinement and aid to l'Amour.
Strip is more firmly implanted in this lineage of daring stinky beauties that harmoniously mix both natural and civilized olfactory hints. It can potentially evoke many things and amongst them, drawers full of silk stockings and unmentionables discreetly scented by powder sachets, frilly handkerchiefs that would have retained traces of the heavily sensual Tabu by Dana - a reference which seems to have been cultivated in this case - while evoking the warm scent of skin, and more.
The scent thrives on these cultural hints while remaining a wearable and clean warm floral amber perfume in the end. Like the Tom Ford Private Blend perfumes, the top and mid notes are more passionate and fiery than the base ones also known, in principle, as the lingering ones. Hence, a certain cultural code of seduction has been re-thought.
Meanwhile, however, Strip succeeded in unleashing naughty images like its original inspiration, the peep show, does. Like it, it alludes to sex, but it keeps it what it is in this form, mostly allusive and imaginary. The scent also interestingly offers a masculine side to it thanks to significant woody and dry root-y facets that enhance its seductive character, evoking a type of femininity that is extra womanly, fatale, and a bit masculine, à la Marlene Dietrich with her capacity to be a bit canaille or roguish.
The scent starts with an immediate twist: a woody and brandy-like accord making one think of aged cognac and oak barrels near a mossy forest. The earthy, dirty accents intensify in particular with the interesting showcasing of vetiver from Haiti combined with patchouli. What is noteworthy is that the naughty vibe of the perfume rests more visibly upon root-y notes than animalic ones. The vetiver is so dense at times, it is almost leathery. Strip then segues into a softer more feminine powdery musky and amber-y accord with floral notes, the ylang-ylang rounded off by rosy accents, softened by iris and slightly sweetened with vanilla. The perfume then takes on that sexy dark amber tarry quality that is so well exemplified by Dana Tabu, but in a lighter fashion than in the latter one. The scent continues on its sexy trajectory retaining the almost romantic scent of dry patchouli leaves with their slightly chocolate-y and tobacco-like nuances, which used to preserve Cashmere shawls in the 19th century. Again, there is this suggestion of intimacy and feminine textile weapons of seduction. It mingles with soft roses and vanilla and warms up durably with the amber oils. The undercurrent of subtle peppery spiciness contributed by geranium bourbon adds interest. The overall contrast between the vetiver made more incisive, sharper, and more sexually aggressive with its edge of musk and the rounder softer floral amber accord on the other hand is very well done and rather captivating. When the skin is more moist, the dry-down smells more of amber with tobacco/patchouli leaves and when it is drier, it smells more powdery. The impression of natural dirt emanating from the patchouli and vetiver somehow translates figuratively in one's psyche as "naughty" and as standing for a franker, more overt sexual proposition than one is accustomed to seeing in perfumery these days.
The official description of the notes is: "Agent Provocateur Strip has an evocative soul accord made up of exotic Ylang Ylang, Iris Bud and Geranium Bourbon. This is embraced with the heat of Hot Amber oils, Vetivert from Haiti, precious Exotic Woods and musks that react to your body temperature and exudes from your skin to release the sexual attractant within."
The flacon is only available in a 50 ml size. Like the other Agent Provocateur fragrances it offers the form of an egg-shaped hand grenade. The glass is actually a transparent raspberry pink with the motif of the red fishnet stocking with gashes in it reading "Strip" running all around the bottle. This is a limited edition and retails for $65. There is currently a prize draw for Strip on the Agent Provocateur website and their annual sale is now taking place.