2017 is the Year of Gabrielle, the iconic founder of Chanel, and what better than to celebrate it with the launch of Gabrielle, perfumer Olivier Polge’s first fragrance since joining the French house in September 2013. It has been 15 years since a brand-new Chanel fragrance launch and we are excited to welcome Gabrielle into our perfume wardrobe.
Like most Chanel scents, Gabrielle is a dominantly floral scent. Drawing inspiration from the flowers used throughout the history of Chanel’s fragrances, Polge rearranged the sequence of the flowers to create a floral bouquet that consists of only white flowers such as orange blossom, jasmine, ylang ylang and tuberose, and described the scent as “shimmery” and “luminous”.
Olivier Polge and Sylvie Legastelois, head of packaging and graphic design at Chanel, share their experiences and inspirations in an interview below:
What were your sources of inspiration? Were you specifically inspired by an object?
Sylvie Legastelois: From the start of this creative idea, we were inspired by the subtle shades of certain lamés and tweeds interlaced with golden and silver thread. The box offered by Duke of Westminster, and all the creations that are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside, also inspired us for the interior of the folding carton. Mademoiselle said, “luxury is what you don’t see.” This luminous gold conveys all the richness of the solar and floral fragrance.
How did you come about choosing the colours for the bottle?
SL: The solar quality of the fragrance was my inspiration for the indefinable colour of the cap, the label, and the sleeve. It is neither gold nor silver, like a lamé. I wanted something simple, solar, luminous, but not a flashy gold.
For a house with such an illustrious heritage, what is the process that goes into designing a new bottle?
SL: It’s not something that is done haphazardly. The creation of a new bottle at Chanel reflects a statement and a new message. It is a general rule that the bottles do not encroach on the personality of any of our existing lines. So, a new fragrance must find its place within the family.
Why develop a luminous floral, and could you tell us which ingredients make the fragrance luminous?
Olivier Polge: The fragrance is composed of flowers that are recurrent in Chanel fragrances, but their arrangement is new and makes room for more luminous tones—something I feel is a stronger reflection of our time.
What are the main raw ingredients and where are they sourced from?
OP: Each year, we select batches of raw materials of exceptional quality. The orange blossom is primarily from Tunisia, while the jasmine is mainly Egyptian and the ylang ylang is from the Comoros (with special fractions specific to Chanel). The tuberose is grown in the fields of Grasse.
In what way is this a fragrance for the rebel at heart?
OP: It seems to me a rebel at heart would have a strong and determined personality, something I’ve always associated with white flowers.
Do you think that Mademoiselle Chanel would have liked this fragrance?
OP: I chose ingredients often used in the fragrances she created, particularly jasmine, ylang ylang, and orange blossom. So I imagine there is something about this fragrance that remains true to the House. I dare hope she would have liked it.