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How we spent one night with Gabrielle

It's the fragrance world's party of the year, and why not? Chanel's latest offering, Gabrielle - named after the house’s storied founder - is primed for iconic status
 


The Gabrielle fragrance comes in two sizes, 50ml ($180) and 100ml ($258), and will be available in boutiques from 19 August 2017, and all Chanel counters from 1 September 2017.

The brand’s first completely new fragrance in 15 years, Gabrielle was inspired by Chanel’s famously rebellious nature, her fierce independence and determination, and her knack for defying conventions. In short, everything that made her the trailblazer she was and shaped the course of her dramatic life.

It’s also the first original composition (not counting Misia from the premium Les Exclusifs range) that Chanel’s in-house perfumer, Olivier Polge, has created for the brand.

Since taking over from his father, Jacques, in 2015, his output has included crowd-pleasers such as Chance Eau Vive and No. 5 L’Eau, but no all-new fragrance pillar until now. So, yes, it’s a big deal all right.

 

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Described by Polge as an “abstract floral”, Gabrielle is a mix of ylang ylang, jasmine, orange blossom and tuberose, with each note having been intensified, freshened, smoothed over or otherwise tweaked to produce a scent that embodies an ideal, imaginary white flower. It’s luminous, it’s bold, and it’s very feminine, radiating from the skin like a warm floral halo.


From left: Jasmine, tuberose, ylang ylang and orange blossom, the four pillars of the Gabrielle fragrance.

The fragrance, which is set to hit shelves here on 1 September, was unveiled at a launch party (here's how Australian model Jessica Gomes preps her skin for a party) in Paris’s renowned Palais de Tokyo exhibition venue.

A high-profile event just like the perfume it heralds – press and paparazzi alike were out in force – the launch immersed guests in the world of Gabrielle and conveyed its concepts via a series of high-tech installations and snazzy set-ups.

Among them, a mirror labyrinth lit by moving shafts of light; a zippy video declaring Mademoiselle-inspired mantras like “Choose your destiny even if you have to reinvent your path”; a darkened room with 3D images of the perfume bottle and juice bursting forth; a scent gallery featuring each of Gabrielle’s four floral notes. There’s even a GIF-booth where you can create a short video of yourself prancing around in a mirrored space, intercut with images of the perfume’s flowers.


Kristen Stewart, the face of the Gabrielle fragrance, with Olivier Polge, Chanel's in-house perfumer.


Pharrell Williams, who's one of the Chanel Gabrielle bag ambassadors, performs at the Gabrielle fragrance launch party. 

Of course, it’s not a blockbuster party without the celebrities, many of whom were also at the Chanel’s haute couture show earlier in the day. Pharrell Williams took the stage to get guests jumping (because I’m happy….), with Katy Perry joining him for their duet, ‘Feels’. Kristen Stewart, who’s the face of the perfume, rocked up with Victoria’s Secret model Stella Maxwell (read about how to train like a VS angel).

Other famous faces include actresses Tilda Swinton and Zhou Xun, models Liu Wen and Stella Tennant, fashion personalities Caroline de Maigret and Daphne Guinness, social media star Chiara Ferragni, and the list goes on. A fittingly star-studded welcome for what looks set to be a future olfactory star. 

Photos and video: Chanel