House Blends, Designer Fragrances

In the fashion world, designer fragrances are where mythology meets mixology. Here, the elements that inspired three of the season's chicest new brews.

Excerpts from a fragrance editorial by April Long, House Blends.

Balenciaga Paris L'Essence perfume

L'Essence by Balenciaga

Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière says he was influenced by muse Charlotte Gainsbourgh's "different elegance" when he conceived L'Essence, a green violet-leaf fragrance deepened with a chypre accord of cedar, vetiver, black pepper, and pimento berries. Ghesquiere wanted the notes to "result in a new, intimate yet powerful sensuality" while also alluding to the mossy scent of a forest. The bottle resembles a prism, one of Ghesquiere's obsessions, while the cap's color references the pyrite and hematite pieces - including a shark-tooth necklace - in the Balenciaga jewelry collection.

Elie Saab Le Parfum Elie Saab perfume

Elie Saab Le Parfum by Elie Saab

The debut fragrance from Lebanese couturier Elie Saab is an olfactory interpretation of what he calls "radiant femininity." The orange blossom top note "reminds me of the garden in my childhood home," while a cedar accord in the base recalls the trees that grow on the hillside around Beruit. Jasmine and patchouli endow Le Parfum with what the designer calls a sensuous heart, and the trail of the scent - a mix of wood, rose, and honey - mimics the way the train of a dress billows in its wearer's wake. The bottle, he says, is "an ode to light," inspired by a crystal bowl Saab keeps on his desk, as well as by the hourglass shape of a woman's figure.

Fan di Fendi perfume

Fan di Fendi by Fendi

Ciao bella! The spirit of Rome imbues Fan di Fendi - a fragrance that the Italian luxury label's accessories designer Silvia Venturini Fendi says was conceived "to be as iconic as the Baguette or Peekaboo bag." Bright top notes of tangerine, pear, and pink peppercorn open up to a blooming central accord of rose and yellow jasmine, meant to conjure real gold as well as the golden glow of a sunny day in the Eternal City. Fendi says the patchouli and sensual musk at the scent's base are a not to the onset of evening, "when parties begin," while a unique leather note pays homeage to the cashmere-soft materials used to dreate Fendi's coveted bags.

(Long, April. "Beauty: Obessession, House Blends." Elle Sept. 2011: 370-374.)

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