Luis Vuitton is redefining luxury fragrance with their new line of seven scents, created by Jacsues Cavallier-Belletrud, with actress Léa Seydoux as the face of the line. This is the first line of perfumes for the fashion house since the 1940s. Called Les Parfums Louis Vuitton, these scents are more luxurious and exclusive than their department store counterparts. The line is unabashedly feminine, as Cavallier-Belletrud said, “All my work is a tribute to flowers,” with these scents being particularly luxurious.
The fragrance names evoke a bit of mystery, meant to capture abstract concepts and narratives such as Mille Feux (“A Thousand Lights”) and Contre Moi (“Close To Me”). To create these indulgent scents, Cavallier-Belletrud used a technique he modified from the decaffination of coffee to extract essential oils, which are normally extracted with alcohol. This new technique gives the perfume a more true to life scent, as Cavallier-Belletrud said,
“Now we get all the delicacy, like we’re smelling the flower itself.”
Cavallier-Belletrud used this technique with flowers such as Grasse jasmine to create the lightly floral Apogée, and with the heady contrast of tuberose and musk found in Turbulences. Cavallier-Belletrud liked contrast in his work, as evidenced in the perfume Matiére Noire (“Black Matter”). The fragrance combines patchouli and agarwood with cyclamen to create a scent that starts out as unisex or even masculine but slowly blends to become warm and sunny. Cavallier-Belletrud’s innovation is also on display in Mille Feux and Dans La Peau, which uses a leather note. Leather notes in perfume are typically created from woods and musk that mimics the scent of real tanned animal skin, but Cavallier-Belletrud decided to use the genuine material. He took scraps of Luis Vuitton’s leather trim from the house’s atelier and macerated them in alcohol, checking periodically until the correct scent was produced.
The line’s anchor scent, however is rose. Called Rose Des Vents (“Rose of the Winds”), it is a sparkling rose scent that changes into a light spice after time. Three rose species were used, including the May rose, found only in the Grasse region. This happens to be Léa Seydoux’s favorite fragrance in the line, as she said,
“For me, the rose is the symbol of femininity. It embodies mystery and sensuality.”
Femininity was a strong theme for Cavallier-Belletrud, for whom Luis Vuitton is a very feminine house. He stated,
“Women are the ones who choose; they’re the ones who decide in life…it was impossible for me to do something other than a women’s fragrance.”