Even storied French fashion houses can’t escape the allure of the City of Lights. This summer, CHANEL unveils Paris-Paris, the newest addition to its unisex fragrance collection Les Eaux de CHANEL. Launched in 2018 by in-house perfumer Olivier Polge, the collection now features six scents inspired by places that were meaningful to founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Each recalls a trip departing from Paris to destinations like Biarritz, Venice, or Deauville, where Gabrielle opened her first boutique in 1913. With such a rich history to work from, it seemed inevitable that Polge would put the spotlight on Paris itself for the latest chapter in the Les Eaux story.
For Paris-Paris, Polge intended to evoke an enduring, idealized view of the city—one that glitters. “There is something very light about Paris-Paris, something fluid, sparkling, though elegant at the same time,” he says. To achieve this, he selected the Damask rose as its top note. “When [the rose] is distilled with water, it grabs all the fresh aspects of the flower. It has a slight citrus feel to it.” The blend also features pink peppercorn extract and a patchouli base, making it a fresh, spicy take on a floral fragrance. “It is a specific grade of patchouli,” Polge explains. “It’s very clean, vibrant, and I think it brings something more to the rose.”
As a second-generation perfumer—Polge’s father, Jacques, preceded him in the role at CHANEL—he is just the fourth person to hold the position in the maison’s history. “My father joined CHANEL when I was very young. One of my first scent memories is of my mother wearing Coco in the early ’80s.” But mining those early memories isn’t a fruitful source of inspiration. Instead, he’s open to finding ideas in his surroundings. Polge explains that the pleasure of creating Les Eaux de CHANEL is that each addition begins with the thought of a place. He and his team are then asked to create something that nods to Gabrielle’s history while simultaneously speaking to consumers in the present. In the case of Paris-Paris, he says that the idea of an everyday French woman, their style, and the way they might spend their day certainly influenced him. It’s interesting to learn that the image of an effortlessly put-together Parisian woman is a fashion paradigm that still fascinates even those working in the industry. “When I hear that my friends are coming to Paris, they always [ask], ‘Is there something special about Paris and its women? They look naturally elegant,’ ” says Polge. “I think it’s very true. I hope that this fragrance [captures that].”