Louis Vuitton does not do things in halves. With the announcement that the luxury maison would be launching Les Parfums Louis Vuitton in September this year, comes news that the brand has already built its Creative Atelier in Grasse, and has appointed a house perfumer, Jacques Cavallier Belletrud. And if you think that the link between a trunk-maker and perfumery is tenuous at best, you'll be mistaken. Besides making trunks and vanity cases, travel flasks and even fragrances stamped with the Louis Vuitton name have been created throughout the 20th century.
In the 1920's, other luxury accessories like tortoishell hair brushes, mirrors and perfume vials were also popular among the elite. Louis Vuitton commisioned artists to design decorative motifs for engraved crystal bottles. These exquisite pieces were known as 'Editions d'Art', with artists like Camille Cless-Brothier, Gaston Le Bourgeois and André Ballet among those who designed and crafted these bottles. Buoyed by the success of 'Editions d'Art', the first Louis Vuitton fragrance, Heures d'Absence was launched in 1927, followed closely by Je, Tu, Il in 1928, and Réminiscences and Eau de Voyage in 1946.
But how exactly do these vintage Vuitton scents smell? The truth is, no one knows for sure, as all that exists are the original bottles (still in mint condition), but minus any actual juice. However the 'vanishing act' of these original Vuitton scents leaves the brand in a unique position — with the freedom to reinvent its new perfumery arm. Perfumer Belletrud, a native of Grasse, has been busy over the past four years, assembling a dream palette of raw materials using extraordinary new technology, for use in his perfume creations. One of the first things he was inspired by was of course leather — the hardy material being a signature of the house. Belletrud wanted to invent a made-to-measure infusion.
Says the house's press release "Of all the leather aromas he explored, the one that drew him in was the gentle scent of natural leather, the light beige material used to cover the handles and straps of the Maison's trunks and handbags. Fascinated by the subtlety of its fragrance, which is more floral than musky, Jacques Cavallier Belletrud asked the perfume workshop for an extraction of this leather. Steeped in alcohol, leather becomes resinoid, a dark substance that was clarified again and again until a limpid note was achieved. On the skin, it's a perfume unto itself. This exclusive note possesses neither the aggressiveness of cade (juniper) nor the smokiness of birch. It is soft and sensual, like discovering leather for the first time."
Belletrud will also work with 'exclusive' flowers, having travelled to China to suss out osmanthus, magnolia and jasmine sambac, and finding these local varieties to be distinctive and unique. He has also explored the use of the supercritical CO2 extraction — a process that requires no heat and is used for ingredients like vanilla. In fact Belletrud has tried this process out on fresh flowers May rose and jasmine, and has been happy with the results. With the amount of care, expertise and dedication given to the Les Parfums Louis Vuitton collection, we are certainly looking forward to making new olfactory discoveries with the brand.
Les Parfums Louis Vuitton will be available from 15 September 2016, at Louis Vuitton Marina Bay Sands and Ngee Ann City
To read our interview with the perfumer:
Inside the world of Louis Vuitton's much-anticipated fragrance collection
To find out which fragrance would suit you:
Which Louis Vuitton fragrance are you?