In the Fragrance industry we can have historical Fragrance houses, the Cosmetic brands, we have the fashion houses, the jewelers or even very “marketed” brands. And now we have Louis Vuitton. This french luxury house is at the same time a summary of the entire luxury industry. A great heritage, a timeless elegance and a sexy creativity either thanks to their Artistic Directors but also with great artistic collaborations. And now they are going to have Fragrances.
Since Marc Jacobs took the artistic responsibility for Fashion and fashion accessories at LV, the french malletier just took off with the brand territory extensions. In moments in which some rumors are talking about the departure of Marc Jacobs to Dior as their new artistic Director, we got the official news that Louis Vuitton has now, officially, a Fragrance division. This news is crystallized on the arrival of Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud as Master Perfumer in-House. He arrived on the 3rd of January 2012 and since then, everything is going on fast and in a realistic way. I heard about a fragrance project at Louis Vuitton at least 10 times on the past 15 years and frankly the french House never really had any interest to go on that sense. Today, with the arrival of such a magnificent perfumer, things are different.
Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud is a French perfumer born in Grasse on January 24, 1962. He worked for the Swiss Fragrance House Firmenich since 1990. Since then, he has designed fragrances for many major luxury brands:
- L’Eau d’Issey, Issey Miyaké (1992)
- Classique, Jean-Paul Gaultier (1993)
- Opium for Men, Yves Saint Laurent (1995)
- Pôeme, Lancôme (1995)
- Code Sport, Giorgio Armani (2011)
After so many years of loyal service at Firmenich, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud is joining the prestigious luxury house Louis Vuitton. So LV is part of the small exclusive Brands which has its own in-house perfumer. Here are the different Big Fragrance houses with in-House perfumers:
- Chanel with Jacques Polges
- Hermès with Jean-Claude Ellena
- Cartier with Mathilde Laurent
- Jean Patou with Thomas Fontaine
- Guerlain with Thierry Wasser
I could also speak about François Demachy but his transversal role at LVMH cannot be associated to an in-House perfumer, in the traditional definition, but more like a super Technical-Creation Director.
According to LV CEO, Yves Carcelle: “Louis Vuitton, since its foundation in 1854, always had the ability to hatch and grow new businesses. Luggage, leather goods, fashion, accessories, shoes, watches jewelry and now Fragrances. For the french house, fragrances is an invitation for dreaming, to travel and explore the senses.”
To carry out this mission, they have choosen Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, one of the best perfumers of his generation. For several years, he scouted the world for the best raw materials, the most interesting qualities and he always developed the fragrances from Grasse in the south of France. According to Jacques Cavallier: “Because it is in Grasse and nowhere else where you can find the best know-how in the world”.
So to accomplish this new brand territory extension, Louis Vuitton will acquire a historical building in Grasse to install the Fragrance branch.
All this looks really exciting but the real question is: What should Louis Vuitton looks like as a Fragrance Brand? With Hermès, Guerland, Chanel or Cartier, there is not so much “space” for a new concept. Should they capitalize in Travel? Hermès is. Should they focus on raw materials? Guerlain and Cartier are already… not an easy task to do.
What you may not know is that Louis Vuitton had fragrances already more than 20 years ago. But as it was not a priority to the Brand, it just get lost in the dust of times. Here is one out of many, called Eau de Voyage.
Too late, we probably have issues with Hermès with Voyage. Let’s see if the Brand has the passion and the capability to produce their Fragrance as the next big hit in the fragrance industry.