Gabrielle, is CHANEL’s first fragrance to be released in 15 years and it is heart-stoppingly beautiful. Brought to life by Olivier Polge, he was tasked by the brand to create a scent that embodied the very essence of Gabrielle Chanel — a woman who was equally fierce in her determination as well as passions, a woman unafraid to express herself at a time when such acts of defiance were practically forbidden, a woman who paved the way for so many who followed. This is Gabrielle.
“I HAVE CHOSEN THE PERSON I WANTED TO BE AND AM”
GABRIELLE CHANEL Eau de Parfum (CAN $183.00/100 ml) | Before she was Coco, there was Gabrielle, a tiny woman with a grand vision; finally, the venerable House of CHANEL is paying homage to the founder with the creation of this truly remarkable fragrance. Described as a ‘Solar Vibration’, no 1 single flower could possibly embody the free yet absolute femininity of Gabrielle Chanel, and so Olivier Polge, in cooperation with the CHANEL Fragrance Creation and Development Laboratory, composed a dream flower, a symphony in white. Drawing upon all of the floral varieties ever recorded in the history of the brand, he began by selecting ylang-ylang, jasmine, and orange blossom, as well as a touch of tuberose now grown in Grasse, the perfume capital of France. He then decided to take this ‘white concept’ even further by analyzing the very molecules of this range and adding to that musk notes which provided more velvet to the ylang-ylang, and accentuated the creaminess of the tuberose with sandalwood. Lastly, he boosted the freshness of the orange blossom with mandarin peel, grapefruit zest and a hint of grapefruit, culminating in a scent that acts as an olfactory vibration upon the skin, displaying a luminous power that diffuses like a floral halo.
Years in the making, CHANEL needed to create an exceptional bottle for an exceptional fragrance. Just as the rebellious woman who inspired the scent, the bottle needed to reflect her direct drive and so steering away from traditional heavy glass, the brand took the opposite approach and developed a thin-walled glass in a square shape, echoing the iconic lines of CHANEL fragrances. The technical feats didn’t stop there; the “marloquette” — the slightly curved bottom inside fragrance bottles — was pushed outward and then polished; viewed in profile, the walls of the glass converge towards the centre of the bottle, where the square label — the same size as the one on the cap — is positioned so that every facet fully reflects the light.
Finally, the square matte lamé stopper in a colour that straddles the border between gold and silver, is directly inspired by the Haute Couture fabrics preserved in the CHANEL Heritage department, and a hue that also echoes this light-filled fragrance. The last detail, which incidentally perfectly mirrors the perfection of one of Mademoiselles jacket linings, is the patented embossed interior of the inner case which cradles the bottle, so that when the fragrance is removed it almost gives the illusion of leaving its perfect imprint behind in silhouette.
Gabrielle, alongside the ethereally beautiful Catherine Deneuve
Like intense light concentrated in fragrance form, so is Gabrielle — a floral unlike anything I have ever encountered before, and one that has stolen my heart & senses but utterly and completely. I’ve said often enough that I don’t do traditional florals and that with me, certain scent combinations can trigger an instant migraine so you can bet I approached with caution. I needn’t have bothered, because Gabrielle is bewitching and mysterious, as hard to pin down as Gabrielle Chanel herself. Unapologetic, fierce, sensual, feminine, and strong, it winds itself along the skin and continues to whisper its seduction until it finally fades away to a memory. Until the next spritz, that is.
Available now at all CHANEL counters
Media sample kindly provided, all opinions my own