It is common practice for celebrities from all “walk of fame” to release their own fragrance. To name just a few: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Taylor, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Shakira…and the list can go on and on and on...
Mean, jealous people in the perfume industry might argue that “you can’t swing a dead cat” without hitting a new perfume launch from a famous person whose overinflated ego wants to show the world that he/she can do this, too…
But this tendency does not manifest only in famous people. Everybody and their grandmother wants to have their own moment in the sun, every insignificant member of “who’s who of nobody cares” dreams of a juice that would forever speak about their talent, beauty and glamour (of course, with a little help from a gifted, possibly modest perfumer, who would agree to remain anonymous regarding his/her contribution to the project).
There is an explanation for this appetite of self-aggrandizing endeavor. First of all, as I have said many times on this space, perfume is a fantastic way of artistic expression. Whether you wear it as a signature scent or you boldly go and create your own brand, we are all convinced that we can make a dent in the world by simply using/creating a fragrance.
Moreover, for the financially comfortable celebrities, launching a fragrance is more than a show of ego. It is possibly the wish to capitalize on their famous name for economic/financial benefits (this is true if, for instance, people would buy a scent just because it comes with a famous label).
But, as you know, I am in the business of niche luxury products, more precisely perfumes. So, although I am not completely immune to skillful marketing stunts, I also have other professional criteria which I employ when judging a scent.
Carine Roitfeld, famous because of her role as former Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue is also considered to be one of the most influential fashion-and-taste gurus of recent years. Carine Roitfeld was born in Paris to a Russian emigré film producer and a French mother, and began her career as a model.
A visionary in her own right, gifted with a remarkable talent for writing, Carine was also attracted to the art of styling. Known for her provocative and controversial editorials, the providential meeting with legendary photographer Mario Testino changed the course of her life. They began working as a team, shooting for international editions of Vogue and she soon was recognized as the inspiration muse for fashion brands such as Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, and later, Karl Lagerfeld.
An open minded trail-blazer in the fashion industry, after leaving her career at Vogue, Carine Roitfeld focused on her new perfume collection, Seven Lovers. This was officially unveiled to the press on July 1, 2019 during an evening at the Peninsula Hotel in the midst of Fashion Week in Paris.
Seven Lovers is the umbrella label for her first collection of genderless, niche perfumes and the idea behind the collection is seven fragrances inspired by seven lovers. Each one bears the name of a different man and each one is supposed to represent an “unforgettable lover in an iconic city” to paraphrase the text on the brand’s website.
Although these are “phantasy lovers”, Carine manages to invest them with that particular sensuality that resonates with their geographic origin. Seductive and emblematic like the men who inspired them, the fragrances symbolize her insatiable quest for romance, passion, experience and love.
"Each scent is an extension of myself, and holds within the power of seduction”
Her son, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, worked alongside her and he was - in fact - the one who came up with the idea of building a brand. In a creative game of imagination, the Seven Lovers Collection shows that Carine Roitfeld has wisely used her exquisite taste when it comes to perfume and she has successfully collaborated with perfumers such as Aurélien Guichard, Yann Vasnier and Pascal Gaurin.
"Each scent is an extension of myself, and holds within the power of seduction” declares Carine Roitfeld, making clear that the fusion between her vision and the talent and knowledge of the perfumers have merged into these stunning fragrances. Just like a tribute to Carine’s career in fashion, they have attracted both praise and criticism.
I find it fascinating how a fragile built woman as Carine is able to face the negative shots and the wave of condescending remarks of the critics. Just like a Cèdre du Liban, she remains strong and proud in the storms, so splendid in her confidence and her audacity.
It is hard to pick just one of the seven fragrances… George, was inspired by an encounter in a bookshop in London. This is a modern chypre that brings forward some wonderful green scents from the past. Light and chic, this fragrance is as contemporary as can be, pushing the old green notes into the present day.
Created by Yann Vasnier (Givaudan) George is incredibly fresh and sharp, with delicate green and floral notes of violet leaf, jasmine, rose, iris and oakmoss. Sparkling with citrus fizz and the warmth of galbanum, after a while, it brings a charming combination of woods, earth and leather.
Aurélien, signed by Aurélien Guichard, is the lover from Paris and the most "feminine" of the line. An opulent and warm scent, it opens with a Citrus blend that leads to a deep heart of Davana Oil and Myrrh. This is a spicy floral with orange blossom absolute and jasmine, reinforced by resins as a symbol of the Parisian elegance of black. I have to say that this one is my personal favorite because it has a sort of sobriety and charm that somehow transfers to me, every time I wear it.
Kar-Wai, meanwhile, is a “night owl” from Hong Kong, a bewildering mixture of tea, leathery osmanthus, Turkish rose, musk and vetiver, developed by perfumer Pascal Gaurin. New York, the city that never sleeps, has inspired Orson (after Orson Welles), a sexy interpretation powered by generous amounts of tuberose absolute, ylang ylang. Also, there are some notes that linger on the skin for hours like Hawthorn Flower, Benzoin and Tonka Bean.
A special occasion to celebrate oud and the vibrant Middle Eastern city of Dubai has resulted in the creation of Lawrence. Opening with sweet and peppery notes of Tolu Balsam Resinoid, this is a leathery, spicy, virile composition.
Vladimir is a reminder of Carine Roitfeld’s Slavic roots, the city of St. Petersburg and her son. The contrasting ingredients of orris, incense and amber blow hot and cold, create a special kind of fluidity. In the beginning, you are met by the icy effect of grapefruit and natural bergamot, followed by notes of French sage. Then, the heart reveals the notes of cedar and Egyptian geranium. The grand finale is sustained with an accord of amber, vanilla and woody iris.
And last but not least, we have Sebastian. The lover from Buenos Aires evokes the lifetime of adventure and sensuality which has guided Carine to the furthest reaches of the world. In her scenario, they dance the tango together in an Argentinian café. Seductive and emblematic, this is an Amber Floral scent for women and men. Sebastian was launched in 2019 and the nose behind this fragrance is Pascal Gaurin.
Just like every woman with refined taste, powerful and assertive, Carine Roitfeld has a soft spot for fragrances. In her opinion “scent is the most defining style signature, containing within each molecule the power of identity and the magic of seduction.” This powerful “ars poetica” makes her an example of a celebrity that does not disappoint when she decides to take on a monumental endeavor in her business.
“Scent is the most defining style signature, containing within each molecule the power of identity and the magic of seduction.”
Her enduring charm based on years of experience in the merciless spotlight, combined with a poetic mind and a sharp business sense, makes Carine Roitfeld an abundant source of inspiration for generations of contemporary women. Uninhibited by non-essential dogmas of modern society, transgressing the codes, Carine shows the way into the future with bravery and charisma, and I, for one, can’t wait to follow her lead….
Photo credits: carineroitfeld.com and @carineroitfeldparis Instagram