This year sees the launch of a new Chanel fragrance, Gabrielle, during couture week in Paris. This is the first new fragrance from the luxury maison in 15 years, and has been many, many years in the making.
Chanel nose Olivier Polge followed in the footsteps of his father, becoming the fragrance creator for Chanel four years ago. In creating Gabrielle, he says he was honouring that young girl who first discovered her survival skills in the French orphanage where she grew up.
Gabrielle, the fragrance, has been referred to as an “abstract floral”. Chanel herself loved white flowers and always had fresh white flowers in the Rue Cambon salon where she worked and entertained across the road from the Ritz Hotel.
In creating Gabrielle, the fragrance, Polge has drawn on all the white blooms that inspired Chanel, and almost created the ultimate white flower, re-engineering the jasmine fragrance on a molecular level. “Nature can only give us so much. If we want to go further, we have to break down the molecules and rebuild the fragrance, amplifying it. I have amplified the creamy aspect of the jasmine,” he says.
Other white flower scents in Gabrielle are ylang-ylang, orange blossom, and a touch of tuberose. Musk notes add velvetiness, and milky sandalwood accentuates the tuberose. Polge boosted the freshness of orange blossom with mandarin peel, grapefruit, and a hint of blackcurrant.
The result: A luminous, imaginary flower that is going to be viewed as something of a fragrance revolution. Mademoiselle Chanel would have approved.