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Gabrielle, the latest Chanel perfume, taps the fiery individuality that was Coco at the core
“I decided who I wanted to be, and that is who I am.”
So said the imitable Gabrielle Coco Chanel, born 1883 in Saumur, France.
Now there’s a motto for every modern woman.
The French fashion iconoclast was nothing if not inspirational, especially in the sense of a woman of a certain age doing whatever she pleased—in business, love and life. She was, after all, 42 years of age when she debuted the now-legendary collarless jacket and pencil skirt down the catwalk. Not 22. Or 18.
She was not a kid.
She was a woman with a past and a future. Living on her own terms. And in today’s youth-obsessed era, it’s satisfying to be reminded that she was a woman who was confident and pushing the envelope in her 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. She understood—and we do admit to buying into the mythology here too—that glamour was achieved through confidence, nonchalance, unapologetic opinion and daring. And she understood the ethereal power of perfume to add to that glamour.
In my mind, she made pretty boring.
And that brings me back to Gabrielle, the new Chanel perfume. The juice is, without a doubt, faithful to these core character traits that we associate with the imitable Coco.
There is a grownup-ness to the perfume. I don’t want to say it’s mature. Or traditional. Those words have such negative connotation these days. But grownup, in the sense of bien dans sa peau. Even timeless.
In that, the execs at Chanel are celebrating and channelling their founder and her great fragrance accomplishments here.
Perfumer Olivier Polge combined a white floral accord aimed to capture all of the signature Chanel blooms in one—ylang ylang, jasmine, orange blossom and tuberose. Then he added in sultry sandalwood and a hint of blackcurrant and citrus.
This is unquestionably a Chanel perfume to please Chanel fans and to capture the imagination of non-Chanel fans and would-be converts.
Gabrielle Chanel Eau de Parfum is floral and feminine with a breezy, fresh-air quality; a solar floral with a dose of bronzed-skin-glamour-at-the-beach appeal.
In an era where candied pistachio, weird floral and unorthodox meant-to-grab-a-headline notes are commonplace, there’s an almost ironic allure to wearing Chanel perfumes. And our prediction is that this glamorous new spritz will keep the world coveting all things Chanel and keep the brand engine revving in the relevant-meets-irreverent arena that is fashion with a capital F.
Gabrielle Chanel Eau de Parfum, $129 (50 ml)/$183 (100 ml), www.chanel.com