An iconic de­signer launches a soon-to-be-iconic sig­na­ture scent.

ELLE (Canada) - - Beauty -

how do you cap­ture the vi­sion and style of Azze­dine Alaïa in a bot­tle? That was the chal­lenge faced by per­fumer Marie Sala­m­agne, who says the only brief she re­ceived from the no­to­ri­ously shy, rule-break­ing Tu­nisian de­signer was that he wanted some­thing “time­less yet fresh, with a feel­ing of trans­parency.” Alaïa, who puts art be­fore com­merce, also banned busi­ness words like “deadline,” “mar­ket share” and “con­sumer in­sights”; any­thing cre­atively in­or­ganic or trendy had to go too.

Con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of un­for­get­table fash­ion mo­ments Alaïa has shared with mod­els such as Christy Turling­ton, Linda Evan­ge­lista and Stephanie Sey­mour dur­ing his three­decade ca­reer, one might ex­pect the per­fume to be in­spired by a ’90s-era Naomi Camp­bell flash­bulb-lit run­way strut. In­stead, the fra­grance has more mod­est begin­nings. “Alaïa had a child­hood mem­ory of his grand­mother’s house in Tu­nisia,” ex­plains Sala­m­agne at the launch in the de­signer’s Paris stu­dio. “She would of­ten go out­side and throw a bucket of cold wa­ter against the sun-heated white walls.” This meet­ing of hot and cold hu­mid­ity was what he wanted repli­cated. The re­sult is the se­duc­tive Alaïa Paris fra­grance. It starts with an airy, icy blend of freesia, peony and pink pep­per be­fore dry­ing down into a musky sec­ond-skin note as clingy as his de­signs. It’s a chal­lenge to ex­plain the scent fully—not least be­cause Alaïa re­quested that no ingredients stand out in­di­vid­u­ally. “My per­fume is not rea­son­able,” he says. “It makes time lie. It does not re­flect any par­tic­u­lar era but emo­tions from ev­ery era. It does not come from any coun­try be­cause it has trav­elled through them all. It does not res­onate with any one sea­son be­cause it lives in all sea­sons”—an ex­pla­na­tion just as mys­te­ri­ous and mag­i­cal as the com­po­si­tion. n

The trans­par­ent black bot­tlewas de­signed by Martin Szekely and made to repli­cateAlaïa’s sig­na­ture ge­o­met­ric­cut pattern; the cap re­sem­bles a spool of golden thread. AlaïaParis Eau de Par­fum Spray ($160 for 100 mL). For de­tails,see Shop­ping Guide. Clas­sic Alaïa model mo­ments (from top): Fit­ting Cana­dian supe Linda Evan­ge­lista in 1989; Christy Turling­ton in a look from the spring/sum­mer 1990 col­lec­tion; his beloved muse Naomi Camp­bell in 1989

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