Luxury trunk-and-luggage maker Louis Vuitton created its first parfums – Je, Tu, Ii (I, You, He), and Eau De Voyage – in the 1920s.
They were made to fill the beautiful crystal flacons that came with Louis Vuitton’s sturdy trunks.
But the brand’s perfume ambitions were curtailed during the wartimes of the 1940s.
Fast forward to 2016 Fall, Louis Vuitton will be introducing seven new scents under its Les Parfums collection.
Just like the perfume houses of Chanel ( helmed by Olivier Pole, son of the legendary Jacques Polge), Dior (Francois Demachy), and Hermes (the very famous Jean-Claude Ellena), Louis Vuitton will have its own in-house perfumer.
This ensures that its scents have an air of exclusivity and signature, that keep them distinct from the regular run-of-the-mill perfumes. Most of the juices from other luxury labels are usually made by the oft-nameless perfumers in the flavours and fragrance conglomerates such as Firmenich, Givaudan, and IFF.
To re-embark on its olfactory journey, Louis Vuitton hired Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud.
A native of Grasse – the age-old French capital of perfume and leather where the perfumed gloves of yore were created – Cavalier-Belletrud is an award-winning perfumer known in the circles for his original and exquisitely feminine creations.
Before he joined Louis Vuitton in 2012, he was the creator of classics such as Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey, and Jean Paul Gaultier Classique. As well as new favourites like Maison Martin Margiela Replica Beach Walk, Flower Market, and Funfair Evening (with Marie Salamangne). He was also the co-creator of Tom Ford’s gorgeous Private Blends Noir de Noir, and Tuscan Leather (both with Harry Fremont).
Rather aptly, Cavallier-Belletrud will be working for Louis Vuitton in a mansion located in Grasse. Previously, the property was a perfume house established in 1640; now it has been transformed into a state-of-the-art lab, but still with a charming lawn and bubbling fountain outside.
This old-world and new-world characteristic of the Louis Vuitton Parfums Maison is also reflected in its soon-to-be-launched juices.
Fronted by the feline-sexiness of French actress Lea Seydoux, the perfumes are made with both hi-tech perfumery, as well as old-school alchemy.
For instance, the May Rose, and Grasse Jasmine, are given a carbon dioxide extraction before its natural scent is replicated with similar molecules; just so the smell of the flowers remain delicate in the final perfume.
While in order to get the scent of leather, Cavalier-Belletrud ordered for scraps of Louis Vuitton’s signature beige leather to be shipped to his perfumery in Grasse. He macerated the leather in alcohol for the right smokey note, instead of relying on a combination of molecules for similar accords.
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Photos: Louis Vuitton