Did you guys know that Elie Saab has a new perfume? It’s the first and only perfume from the couture master, and last night I got a glimpse at what went into making it. At a little Vogue-sponsored gathering at the Clift Hotel of San Francisco’s fanciest — which included a mix of bloggers and socialites — the Elie Saab folks told us all about what went into creating the bottle and the scent. Creating just the shape of the bottle was a painstaking six-month-long process, and the cap was finished six months later after 25 tries! I do think the bottle is lovely. It’s feminine with out being too literally hourglass-shaped, flowery or pastel-y.
The same can be said about the scent, actually. Based on the powdery colors of Elie Saab’s gowns, I imagined a very light, summery and floral scent. But it has something more substantial — and forgive me while I try to describe a scent, which I find extremely challenging. It’s got a hint of spice and a deeper sweetness that I find unexpected and lovely. It’s got a hint of orange blossom, but what prevents it from being too flowery is what the fragrance’s “nose” (the guy who invented it) describes as a “duality between cedar wood an patchouli.” You might guess that my inner bohemian adores that. And I found as I wore it, I didn’t get tired of it or worse, get a headache as often unfortunately happens to me!
Having recently read Deluxe: How Luxury Lost It’s Luster by Dana Thomas, I found the presentation last night fascinating. Thomas writes a section on scents in which she explains that there are very few “noses” left in the world (only 80 in France when she published the book in 2007). A nose is a perfume expert who specializes is the painstaking process of customizing a scent for elite clients. Even fewer work as “in house” noses, meaning they’re employed full time by the fashion house for which they’re making the scent. Most perfumes are created by large laboratories that compete for clients. Basically there are ready-to-wear style perfumieres and couture ones, and while Elie Saab doesn’t employ an in-house nose, he did go the couture route by hiring Francis Kurkdjian, who also created Narciso Rodriguez For Her and Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier.
Saab and Kurkdjian are both of Lebanese origin, and Krukdjian wanted to bring some of the Middle East into the scent. This is how he described the way he thought about it: “It’s when the sun is almost gold or even white. it’s called ‘noor.’ Noor means light in arabic; it’s also my first name. It’s both white and colorful as if gold was glowing so brightly that it was almost white.”
I love that.
I’ve never had a go-to scent — well maybe Obsession in the ’80s (yikes), and way to much of it. French poet Paul Valery said, “A woman who does not perfume herself has no future.” Well now. Perhaps finally my future is bright and smells delicious.
Also, stay tuned for photos from the event!
P.S. I forgot to give you guys deets about availability! One ounce of eau de parfum will be $90. Three ounces will be $120. They’re also making a body lotion, which will be $50 for 6.7 ounces. A shower creme will be $42 for 5 ounces and a body creme will be available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue for $85 for 5 ounces. Everything else will be at Bloomingdale’s Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks in September.