Le Figaro published an article on the upcoming Louis Vuitton perfume (see previous article) which reveals further information about the way the brand is approaching the launch of their debut signature fragrance.
Louis Vuitton have a somewhat unique perspective on the project as they do not need a perfume launch like other fashion or luxury labels do in terms of image promotion or financial gain. From what transpires from the article it seems that LV might be nevertheless interested in gaining something akin to a Chanel status in the fragrance world altough it's not been explicitly said...
Jacques Cavallier is expected to be working from a Grasse laboratory - a place he originates from - rather than move to Paris. Jean-Claude Ellena is a well-known example of a perfumer working for the very Parisian world of fashion from the South of France, a historic craddle of perfumery in Europe.
The Louis Vuitton lab will be in-house and will seek independence from big suppliers like Givaudan or IFF as well as the LVMH fragrance department managing brands like Dior, Guerlain and Kenzo. With Marc Jacobs as artistic director for the brand, it will be also interesting to observe how he will impact the creative process and no doubt, the visual aspects of the LV fragrances in the ad campaigns. He is himself at the head of a very successful perfume franchise. A Vuitton fragrance can be expected within two years. It will be for the forseeable future distributed exclusively through the 450 worldwide Vuitton boutiques.
As the article stresses, the biggest consumers of Vuitton being the Chinese and Japanese, the brand will have to hope to change the mentalities of cultural groups who are not that much interested in (alcoholic) perfumes. Will the sight of the Vuitton label win over the ultimate fans of the brand? Or perhaps LV do not care that much about imposing a modest portion of their offers on customers who are more significant to them as high-luxury buyers?
What is of note too is that Louis Vuitton are working on consolidating a foothold in the Grasse region. Rumor has it that they are attempting to purchase fields in order to secure high-quality specialty harvests, the way Chanel does it, and one of the best ways to prevent easy copycatting from the competition. Coco Chanel already knew that when she encouraged perfumer Ernest Beaux to use the best of materials for Chanel No. 5 to condem others to poor-man's No.5 by making it too rich to be replicated faithfully.
But the company has denied any agricultural endeavors at this point in time. On the other hand, they are planting roots there beyond just a functional lab and are reported to be buying a historic building called "Les Fontaines Parfumées" (Perfumed Fountains) (see pictures above) in the center of Grasse, located on a 8000 square meter terrain.
Via Le Figaro
Photos: Les Fontaines Parfumées, courtesy of the Musée International de la Parfumerie, Grasse