August 29 2014

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5 posts tagged "Charlotte Gainsbourg"

Nicolas The Nose: Ghesquière talks Fragrance, Fashion


It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that when Balenciaga unveiled Balenciaga Paris last year, the house’s first scent in almost 20 years, it was a huge deal. The violet-heavy floral chypre was an instant hit—partly because of the soft, woody scent itself, and partly because of its significance as Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière’s first foray into beauty. It wasn’t something Ghesquière took lightly, either. “[Cristobal] Balenciaga closed the house in 1968 and he didn’t want it to exist anymore, but because of its fragrance licensing, the house stayed alive,” Ghesquière explains. “Eventually, they had to add a little bit of fashion for it to make sense. Fifteen years ago, when I arrived, they were doing a fashion show just because they had to entertain the fragrances. So in a way, I exist today and Balenciaga has grown again because its fragrance archive has traveled the time.” That archive just got a little bit bigger with the release of Ghesquière and perfumer Olivier Polge’s latest collaboration, Balenciaga L’Essence. A greener, slightly more masculine incarnation of the original, L’Essence focuses on violet leaves, rather than the violet flowers, for an earthy, more androgynous finish. It’s still inspired by women, though—one in particular: Charlotte Gainsbourg. “It’s her unique sense of style, the artistic choices that she makes, which are not always easy ones,” Ghesquière says of his muse, who is the face of both of his fragrances. Here, catches up with Ghesquière to talk perfume, his crusade to end “the manipulation of women” on the runway, and that rumored move to Soho.

You launched the critically acclaimed Balenciaga Paris fragrance last year—much to the delight of Balenciaga fans worldwide. Why mess with perfection?

It’s in the tradition of a fragrance house: Once you find a scent, you develop a stronger one in a very classic way. It may be a lighter interpretation with something more…not thematic, but stronger—or it might be to push one note and turn down some others. That was the idea with L’Essence. It’s the same family as Balenciaga Paris, clearly, but the character is pushed.

How exactly has the original’s character been pushed?

Well, it’s supposed to be stronger but it’s not actually that strong—it just has a different language. It’s all the same elements but we are saying something different than we were with Balenciaga Paris, which was so much about the violets. This one has a metallic side, it’s about the violet leaves so it’s slightly more masculine and androgynous, too. With the first fragrance, we had to say “we are back” and “this is Charlotte Gainsbourg”—introducing an inspiration, a friend, a muse. It was about getting everything out there in the same message, so it was a lot to say. But with L’Essence, we’re getting closer to the skin, to the character, to Charlotte herself. It is really about zooming in and focusing more on her personality. It’s not a lifestyle anymore. It’s a portrait of who Charlotte and the Balenciaga woman is.

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At Long Last: Balenciaga Paris, The Fragrance


Word that Charlotte Gainsbourg would front Nicolas Ghesquière’s first foray into fragrance for the house of Balenciaga spread like wildfire when it was announced over the summer, and finally we’ve got some more news to share about the highly anticipated scent that bows in February. Perfumer Olivier Polge—he of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and Eau Mega fame—has produced a floral chypre fragrance. Ghesquière apparently gave Polge a list of smells he liked, including floor wax, gasoline, carnations, and violets, and the esteemed nose chose violet as the center of the eau, grounding it in redistilled woods like cedar and patchouli. Petrol fumes didn’t make the cut, although there’s an intentionally urban twist to the fragrance. As for the prismatic bottle, it’s an homage to the signature Balenciaga cocoon-shaped cape, designed with direction from Ghesquière, who insisted that the flacon have a “head, neckline, and a body.” Gainsbourg has been shot by Steven Meisel to achieve the same effect in print form. [WWD]

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Kors

Makeup Bag Check: Charlotte Gainsbourg


Despite her glamorous lineage and a head-to-toe Balenciaga habit, Charlotte Gainsbourg often champions a no-frills makeup look on the red carpet. But she amped up her typically fresh face for the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, where she picked up a Best Actress nod for her work in Antichrist. Her peachy flush and neutral pout are courtesy of Dior’s Harmonie de Blush in Coral Riviera and Dior Addict Lip Color in Beige Négligée, respectively. We applaud her general “less is more” beauty mantra, but think even the slightest bit of color suits her. You?

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

From Blue Jeans To Base Notes


Lee Cooper, the legendary jeanswear company that opened its doors a century ago, announced this week that it will enter the beauty world with a signature scent slated to debut in 2010. You might know the brand best for the collaborative line it launched last spring with model/singer Lou Doillon, who is reportedly on a three-year contract with the denim retailer. She would seem to be a natural choice to front a prospective women’s fragrance campaign. With our fingers already crossed that Charlotte Gainsbourg will be the face of the upcoming Balenciaga fragrance, there’s a chance the spawn of Jane Birkin will be taking over the fragrance industry in the very near future. Celebutantes beware.


A New Balenciaga Fragrance? Well, It’s About Time


It’s official. RSS feeds are all abuzz this morning with the news that Coty Beauty will produce and distribute a series of fragrance lines under the Balenciaga name in a new licensing deal. Aside from a few paltry offerings, the French luxury brand hasn’t experienced any kind of mainstream perfume fame since launching its debut scent, Le Dix by Balenciaga, in 1946. But if Coty’s prestige portfolio of designer fragrance winners from Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Chloé is any indication, the Balenciaga line will be back up to speed in no time. No word yet on who will be the nose on the project—or what major celebrity will be attached to the first round of ad campaigns. (Although our money’s on Ghesquière muse Charlotte Gainsbourg. She is, after all, the Coppola to his Jacobs. You heard it here first.)

Photo: Greg Kessler