Beauty, freedom and fashion—in a bottle.
clare Waight Keller excels at expressing modern femininity. The British-born artistic director of Chloé creates clothing that embodies the style of a chic Parisian woman: effortless and distinctly individual yet classic at the same time. Her approach to fragrance takes a similar spin. “I think women need something genuine that speaks to who they are,” she says at the launch of the brand’s latest perfume, Love Story, at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme. “Decades ago, femininity was defined as being either romantic or girlie or classic, but now people like to use all those elements and bring it into something that’s very personal to them.” h
Capturing this idea for a new fragrance meant moving away from previous signature Chloé scents. “I wanted to go to a different side this time,” she says. “I didn’t want it to be nostalgic. I wanted something that felt very current and contemporary—how a woman would be in Paris now.”
Like all perfumes in the Chloé family, Love Story uses white flowers as a starting point. Orange blossom is mixed with stephanotis, cedar wood and musk to create a fresh, sensual floral juice. The bottle’s ribbed glass plays off the brand’s codes, evoking fabric pleats, and the gold padlock is a stylish nod to both the beloved Paddington bag and the Pont des Arts in Paris. The diaphanous flesh-coloured ribbon is also necessary, says Waight Keller, because it adds a free-spirited, flyaway feeling and softens the masculinity of the bottle. “These little touches are very subtle, but they are codes that are linked to the spirit of the house,” she says.
Waight Keller is one of many strong-spirited women to run Chloé, from founder Gaby Aghion to previous designers Martine Sitbon, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. Supporting this history is a core part of Waight Keller’s ethos. “Even though our industry is full of women, we aren’t as celebrated as men,” she says, adding that women comprise around 85 percent of staff at Chloé. When the time came to bring this fragrance to life, Waight Keller insisted on having female nose Anne Flipo (who has made perfumes for YSL, Paco Rabanne and Alexander McQueen), and Mélanie Laurent was asked to direct the film campaign. “She manages to capture a sense of emotion that is different to that of male cinematographers,” she says. Inez van Lamsweerde shot the print advertisements, and Vanessa Paradis lent her vocals to the song “Mi Amor” for the campaign’s soundtrack.
Clémence Poésy, who featured in the campaign for the brand’s signature eau de parfum in 2008 and is best known for her role as Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter films, was chosen as the face of Love Story. Poésy has a relaxed attitude toward beauty and says she values experience over perfection. “The older I get, the more I am moved by people’s faces for what they are: what their eyes say and what they have lived rather than a perfect haircut. There’s something incredibly moving about the shadows under someone’s eyes...and hair that is misbehaving.”
This embrace of individuality is where Waight Keller believes the brand resonates best. “I think that a lot of women respect the woman who has her own personal style; that’s what fashion is about,” she says. “That’s what drives me. What I put into Chloé is [the desire] to really have the person come through—a woman who isn’t trying to be someone else. Freedom is an important part of the spirit of the house.” ■
The Chloé code for f/w 2014: feminine, mysterious and sensual.