Chanel are launching a new perfume in Les Exclusifs, the 17th to date, range called Boy, a reference to the man who is widely considered to be Gabrielle Chanel's sincerest love, Arthur 'Boy' Capel, who tragically died in a car accident at 38...
The line of Les Exclusifs is dedicated to the proposition that perfumes created and worn with more freedom are genderless. For this opus nevertheless, in-house perfumer Olivier Polge - son of the previous Chanel "nez" Jacques Polge - relied on a thought process influenced by the way Coco Chanel looked at fashion. So, he discarded the classic notion of "unisex" and instead concentrated on creating a perfume which was a priori uncompromisingly masculine, but which could be worn by women.
It is a little bit like that moment when Gabrielle saw a group of French fishermen unselfconsciously wearing "vareuses" while dragging their boats back to shore after a long day at sea and her seeing the potential that their attire had for both sexes in the fashion world.
"My way of working on this fragrance was really not to try to make a unisex fragrance but really more to dive into men's fragrance...and to show how well it could be worn by a woman,"
The perfumer was guided by this idea that a man's white shirt can fall on a woman's body in new, convincing ways. For him,
"So it was not to try to create an in-between fragrance, but a very masculine fragrance. And -- like many other things in life -- gender is given by the person wearing it."
The creator counts on the singular appeal of the blend,
"We are targeting people who are looking for unexpected scents."
The family of perfume to which the new scent belongs is however classic, a fougère. Fougères have been labeled as "manly" and evocative of barbershop atmospheres usually, although feminine fougères have been on the rise again in the last few years after a hiatus of several decades. See for instance our recap of femme fougères while reviewing Géranium pour Monsieur by Editions de Parfums.
Boy features notes fougère notes allied with more markedly floral and sweet ones while promising a sensual skin accord. There are notes of lavender, rose geranium, lemon, grapefruit but also heliotropin, orange blossom, rose, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.
The fragrance launches from March 24, 2016 in the Marais Chanel boutique first - a creative, bohemian neighborhood of Paris and a new perfume island of the capital city - then will roll out internationally from June 2016.
Previously, Polge composed Misia in Les Exclusifs, a more feminine blueprint since it riffs on the scent of lipstick and powder, but also genderless. This time, the nose is taking a point of departure located at the opposite end of the spectrum.