FRENCH PERFUMIER OLIVIER POLGE TALKS ABOUT CHANEL'S NEW FRAGRANCE
We often don’t realise when we walk through beauty departments or go into our favourite perfumier, that many of the products on display have a fascinating history behind them and have drawn their inspiration from real people and places.
Scents evoke memories, the famous fashion designer and perfumier Oleg Cassini once told me in an interview for a glossy magazine many years ago and a new addition to a Chanel range does that exactly.
Les Eaux De Chanel is a collection launched in 2018. Inspired by destinations dear to Gabrielle Chanel and created by Olivier Polge in co-operation with the Chanel Laboratory of Fragrance. Each of the fragrances, in the collection is inspired by events and places dear to the legendary Gabrielle Chanel.
The unusual names of the fragrances in the collection have always fascinated me so I asked French perfumier Olivier Polge why destination names were used for the different fragrances.
“It seemed like a natural choice, because when you think of a fragrance, a smell, it’s often tied to a place. The idea was to combine Paris, the epicentre of Chanel fragrance creation, with other destinations that Gabrielle Chanel loved and create a fragrance that takes you on a journey a motionless journey, an imaginary journey – the kind you take with your eyes closed”, says Polge. “The source of the inspiration is not the city itself, but the subjectively what is evokes.”.
The names of the fragrances In the collection are Paris-Deauville; Paris – Biarritz and Paris-Venise all three have strong links with Chanel.
“I drew inspiration for each fragrance from the destinations and I gave each fragrance the mark of its destination. It was an inspiring subject” he admits.
Polge has just created a new fragrance, joining the collection for one year only, Paris-Riveria, which he describes as “a floral and luminous fragrance that reflects the sunny spirit of the Cote d’ Azur in the 1920’”s.
Gabrielle Chanel started sojourning on the Riveria in the 1920’s. She loved driving to Monaco with the Grand Duke Dimitri or travelling south on the Train Bleu,a mode of transport made famous by Diaghilev who wrote a ballet of the same name. She frequented Cannes, where she opened a boutique and could often be found on the Duke of Westminster’s yacht in Monte Carlo or The Hotel de Paris in Monaco and had a villa built high up on Roquebrune, where she entertained celebrities of the day.
Chanel and Gigot in 1930
“The dream of the Cote d’ Azur of the 20’s is what guided the development of this new fragrance” explains Olivier Polge. “It was a sun-filled Eden that was a magnet for artists. The architecture of the villas was flawless in those days and there was a bright and happy atmosphere of party nights”.
To create the fragrance Polge teamed jasmine with a unique quality of neroli from the orange blossoms found in the South of France. “For years we have worked with a co-operative in Vallauris that distils orange blossom grown in the region’s private gardens, recounts Polge.
“The owners of bitter orange groves bring the petals picked from their trees to this cooperative to be processed on location. The local climate yields an extremely pure essence.”
Available now from Chanel boutiques and chanel.com
Main Picture: taken in 1938 Schall-in-Starrcase-La Pausa.