The Making Of A Modern Classic Fragrance

The Making Of A Modern Classic Fragrance

When Chloé released their cult Eau de Parfum in 2008, they got everything right – and a decade on, even in today’s age of the ‘next big thing’, it’s still one of the bestselling scents on the shelves. To celebrate the fragrance’s 10th anniversary, we looked into every element that has helped it stand the test of time, and become a modern classic…

The inspiration…

Few fashion houses have the enduring spirit of Chloé – which, to this day, remains true to Founder Gaby Aghion’s 1952 mission: creating clothes that give women the freedom to be themselves.

A hybrid of classic French girl chic and romantic, bohemian style, Aghion’s designs offered an alternative to the stiff formality of haute couture at the time. Her first runway shows were no different – melding the world of high-fashion with a youthful edginess, models weaved around the tables at Paris’ Left Bank cafés; the backdrop to the counter-culture revolution.

By 2008, when the Eau de Parfum was launched, this play on contrasts had made the fashion house inimitable. Chloé were doing modern-meets-feminine cool better than anyone else, drawing a new generation to the brand. And then-Creative Director, Hannah MacGibbon, wanted to distill this new essence into a scent: one that captured both the Chloé spirit and what modern women wanted in a fragrance.

The fragrance…

By the time the late noughties rolled around, the escapist gourmands and fresh aquatic scents so popular in the 90s had officially made way for florals. But the market was oversaturated with launches, including a slew of celebrity fragrances; mostly unimaginative, largely synthetic-based scents. That’s why Chloé turned to Robertet, the Grasse-based manufacturer world-renowned for its natural, raw materials, to create what was missing: a ‘signature’ scent for the modern woman – a fragrance that could hold its own against the classics, but one their mothers and grandmothers hadn’t worn; a sophisticated eau de parfum they could call their own.

The result? A contemporary take on timeless rose. Just like Chloé’s fashion, the juice is full of contradictions – powdery floral notes (rose and pink peony) offset by fresh springtime freesia, viridescent lily of the valley and airy, swirling magnolia. Litchi lending a fresh, rosy sweetness to the top notes, whilst dry cedarwood and warm, sensual amber round out the base.

It's soft yet memorable, clean yet comforting; reminiscent of skin in freshly laundered clothes – and it's this sense of intimacy that makes the Eau de Parfum so universally likeable. Every age group, every woman, seems to connect with it somehow; even beauty editors and fragrance writers typically drawn to herbaceous chypres or smoky orientals have professed appreciation.

The bottle…

Just as Chloé put accessories on the map (the brand is widely credited for making the world’s first It bag), they made their fragrance a must-have; the accessory du jour.

To put it simply, the bottle just looks damn good on a dressing table – an elegant art deco design influenced by the brand’s rich history; both the art noveau prints and motifs introduced by Karl Lagerfeld in the 60s, and the iconic Chloé blouse.

A Chloé staple since 1962, the fashion house took inspiration from their archive of silk shirts: pleated glass like pleated crepe de chine; a ‘feminine’ round cap offset by ‘masculine’, angular hardware; soft beige ribbon as a nod to the pussy-bow.

The women…

A timeless scent needed a timeless campaign, so Chloé ripped up the rulebook of their fashion house peers. The early 2000s may have seen a carefree naivety in floral fragrance advertising, but by 2007 the motto was firmly ‘sex sells’ – some of the ads so outrageous, they were banned. Instead, Chloé went back to basics; supermodel Anja Rubik, naked from the shoulder up, shot in black-and-white – not a return to 90s grunge, nor the ouvert glamour of big campaigns before, but a way of capturing the effortless sensuality Rubik famously embodied.

Over the years, some of the world’s most beautiful women have been the faces of the fragrance Clémence Poésy, Chloë Sevigny, Dree Hemingway, Haley Bennet. Each one shot in black-and-white, channelling that same cool-girl sexiness; bare-skinned, blonde and tousled, with a self-efficacious stare (the exception being Bennet’s 2017 campaign, which saw her at the wheel of a vintage car in a flowing Chloé dress).

They’re women other women want to be – shown stripped-back; as they are – not an ad man’s idea of what ‘sexy’ is.

The evolution…

Whilst the original Eau de Parfum is still beloved across the globe, Chloé isn’t a brand to rest on its laurels – releasing re-imagined editions of the scent has both helped the brand capitalise on the ‘fragrance wardrobe’ trend and cater to their customers; multifaceted women. Designed to represent a real-life rose garden, each of the four fragrances in the original line explores a different aspect of the ageless floral note.

The Eau de Toilette is a lighter and airier interpretation; a luminous infusion of white rose and freesia, awakened by mandarin and aquatic melon notes; softened by iris and sandalwood. Chloé Fleur de Parfum is a crisp, citrusy take; with top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and verbena, spicy pistil rose and almond-like cherry blossom in the heart, complemented by powdery rice in the base.

And Chloé Absolu de Parfum, the brand’s latest launch, is an intense version of the classic. A seductive, woody soliflore, it enriches the Eau de Parfum’s powdery rose notes with an intoxicating blend of earthy patchouli, velvety vanilla and hypnotically fragrant Grasse rose – one of the rarest and richest-scented flowers in perfumery.

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