Beauty,  Fragrance


If ever there was a brand I’d want to go on a journey of discovery with, it’s CHANEL.

While that is highly unlikely, they have created the next best thing, a fragrance journey to three of Gabrielle’s favourite towns. I realise that a scent is not the same as an actual trip, but studies have shown that because of our brain anatomy, scent has the power to evoke memories and emotions far more than any other sense.

When I think about my favourite places, the smell is always a strong part of my memory. The salty air of Puerto Ayora, the diesel fumes from London buses or the incense from the temples on Bangkok. These vivid memories are what perfumer Olivier Polge (the nose behind scents like CHANEL Gabrielle, D&G The One for Men and Lancôme La Vie est Belle) wanted to recreate with LES EAUX DE CHANEL – a mini break to each of the three towns. You don’t need to have visited the places to get the feeling for them, either. Each of the scents, although each connected with key notes, have their own special character.

The three towns in question are Deauville, a seaside resort in Normandy; Venice, where Gabrielle retreated to in order to recover from the loss of Boy Chapel; and Biarritz, a glamourous haven on the Basque coast. The scents were inspired by the journeys from Paris to each of these destinations, as well as the feelings each town conjures up.

CHANEL very kindly sent me Paris-Biarritz, which is a journey I actually did four years ago as part of a road trip around France, Portugal and Spain. To me, Biarritz is Monte Carlo with more charm. I find parts of Riviera to be overwhelming to the point of tackiness, but Biarritz seems to keep its sophistication and old-world appeal.

For this scent, Olivier was inspired by the feeling of the ice-cold Atlantic hitting your skin after the nearly 800km journey from Paris. Refreshing and bright, it is sprinkled with aqueous hints and citrus notes of grapefruit and mandarin that give way to a lily-of-the-valley accord. The base is made up of the delicate and comforting notes of musk and vetiver.

You’ll find the whole LES EAUX DE CHANEL collection on counters now for R2070 each. Each of the eau de toilettes come in delicate 125ml bottles inspired by hip flasks used for train travel, and are topped with double C stamped thermoset caps that deliver a satisfying click when closed. And, as a final elegant touch, that only CHANEL can deliver, the bottles are housed in corrugated white cardboard, reminiscent of protective materials used to keep precious items safe in transit.