Gabrielle Chanel adored visiting Venice, especially in the company of Boy Capel, her one true love. What she didn't love: fussy frocks. Inspired by the striking juxtaposition of the city's strong lines with its baroque touches, she created what is arguably one of the most important contributions to fashion - ever: the LBD. "Before me, no one would have dared dress in black," Coco Chanel once noted about the way she transformed a traditional color of mourning into that everywoman-staple none of us today could conceive of living fashionably without - the Little Black Dress (which I wrote about here & included this shot of her groundbreaking dress being featured in a Vogue spread from 1926).
Her love of seduction over perfunctory exhibitionism, the luxurious over the vulgar, the intense over the bland norm most recently inspired the maison's Master Perfumer, Jacques Polge, to further explore this mysterious shade and translate it into a new Oriental fragrance.
"For COCO NOIR," explains Polge, "I wanted to continue exploring an entire esthetic range of CHANEL perfumery, a range that distinguishes itself from the Florals, one that is illustrated by Bois-des-Iles and Cuir de Russie. I took it up with Coco. It’s what I like to call the CHANEL Coromandel culture, [which I showcased the history of here - along with more juicy pix] what you see and feel in her apartment. The night vision of the ‘Orient that starts and ends in Venice’ imposed itself upon me and that is where I wanted to go."
TOP NOTES Grapefruit, Bergamot. "The spicy freshness of pink peppercorns and grapefruit tinges the top note with Tiepolo pink* (below) & gives it a fresh, light and lively momentum," explains Polge. *[Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) was an Italian rococo artist who painted prolifically for the European courts; his best-known works are the large frescos he created in Venice - and his name is now associated with a particularly luminous shade of the hue.]
HEART Rose, Jasmine, Narcissus. A fleshy-floral accord that is "as disconcerting as it is elegant."
BASE Indonesian Patchouli, Tonka Bean, White Musk Frankincense, Sandalwood (to add warmth & tie everything together).
"Cedar imposes its lofty dryness on more expansive balms and rose geranium leaf, cultivated in Grasse, adds a minty touch to the opulent seduction of beautiful flowers," adds Polge. "The notes bring us back to the legacy and remind us what a fragrance owes women and what a woman owes herself...The night vision of the Orient that starts and ends in Venice imposed itself upon me, and that is where I wanted to go."
- Lesley Scott