The Star Power Behind COMÈTE Les Exclusifs de CHANEL Perfume

I wanted to cover women in constellations…Stars!” said Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1932. She was talking about her first high jewellery collection, which featured one particularly notable piece—a glittery diamond necklace shaped like a comet, with a head that hugged the neck and a tail that spilled into a burst of stars on the chest. From that collection on, the designer was partial to using stars and comets as celestial symbols in her world to enhance women’s beauty. And now, 92 years later, CHANEL’s in-house perfumer Olivier Polge borrows Gabrielle Chanel’s inspiration to create a new perfume in the French fashion house’s Les Exclusifs de Chanel line, called Comète.

“It makes me think of stardust,” says Polge of the cosmic splendour. “So I had this idea of a perfume that is very powdery and luminous at the same time…and flowery as well.” To achieve this, Polge suffused the fragrance with a cherry blossom accord of sparkling fruity notes, heliotrope for flowery and nutty notes, and iris for powdery and woody notes. At CHANEL, a fragrance’s ingredients are just as important as its combination of notes, so not only do Polge and his team create and manufacture all of the brand’s perfumes, but they also produce and often handcraft the raw materials, too. “We extract [the scent], and we develop a certain facet,” says Polge. Take iris, for example, which his team grows in the south of France, in Grasse. “It takes three years in the soil to develop the roots, because we extract the scent out of the root…and the smell of the ingredient [only] develops as it dries,” says Polge. “And after six years [we’re] able to extract the scent.”

Comète is Olivier Polge’s fifth fragrance for the Maison’s Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, which is composed of a total of 20 fragrances: four historical perfumes created in the 1920s by Ernest Beaux, and 10 contemporary perfumes created between 2007 and 2013 by Polge’s father, Jacques Polge, who preceded him as CHANEL’s in-house perfumer. Each contemporary fragrance created by both Polges pay homage to a significant element in Gabrielle Chanel’s world—such as one of her character traits, a notable place in her life, or a symbol that guided her designs—boasting notes that are paired together to elicit each inspiration. For example, the idea behind Coromandel, which was created in 2007, came from the decorative Chinese wood panelling in her apartment. “It was built with a certain intensity, with a lot of textures,” says Polge of his father’s creation, which boasted notes of amber and patchouli. Somewhere else on the Les Exclusifs spectrum you have Comète. “It refers to something symbolic that was dear to her…the belief in the magic of constellations,” says Polge. “It’s a very comforting, luminous scent.”

Polge didn’t create Comète with a certain woman in mind, but to evoke a feeling. “Perfume is very intimate,” he says. “I like to think there’s a special interaction between someone and the perfume.” It holds a lot of power, and Comète, Polge believes, can help enhance emotion, brighten your mood, and make your personality sparkle.