Louis Vuitton’s New Pacific Chill Fragrance Is the Erewhon of Perfumes
It seems silly to call Erewhon a grocery store, even though it technically is. The California-based chain has become the epicenter of West Coast wellness, a status symbol for a new era, thanks to viral celebrity smoothies and comically priced fresh-squeezed juices. The Erewhon effect can be felt everywhere right now—even in luxury beauty. Case in point: The fifth olfactory installment of Louis Vuitton’s Angeleno-inspired Cologne Perfume fragrance collection is a love letter to L.A.’s iconic wellness culture, including scenic hikes and the beloved grocer.
Pacific Chill’s conception fittingly took place over a shared love of green juice, and to commemorate the launch, the fashion house took over a $27 million mansion in Malibu. With fog topping the Pacific Ocean, master perfumer Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud and multimedia artist Alex Israel discussed their creative processes. “I sent Jacques to Erewhon yesterday,” Israel told a small gathering that included campaign face Miranda Kerr, influencer Rocky Barnes, and other friends of the brand. “And what did you think of it, Jacques?”
Cavallier-Belletrud confirmed that the Hailey Bieber smoothie was “fantastique,” but his philosophical musings went much deeper. The perfumer noted the parallel between the discerning palates of young L.A. residents—in their wellness-influenced food and lifestyle choices—and their standards in selecting fragrances. ‘This is a trend, especially for young people, to seek products that are good for the planet, good for their bodies, free of harmful chemicals. … They have become very demanding, and for perfume, too,” he said. “All over the world, people are becoming very demanding in this aspect.”
The perfumer’s scent formulation began in the joy brought to him by the raw simplicity of his daily detox smoothie. His creative philosophy when working on scents is about making the wearer feel good without fail, and he found himself inspired by the positive effect of the simple concoction—carrot, orange, and ginger—which he drank surrounded by greenery. Pacific Chill’s starting point was thus carrot and orange, plus a sour complexity added by black currant and a grounding whiff of grass.
“The choice of ingredient was crucial, and to use carrot is very unique for fragrance,” Cavallier-Belletrud continued. “You use carrot seed oil, which is a crude oil, with a woody-smelling fruitiness and softness.” To develop the scent, he added notes of basil along with some apricot, which delivers a moderate sweetness. There is a subtle balance in the scent’s mix of fruitiness and greenery—similar, of course, to the blending of elements in a green juice, with sweet tartness from apple or kiwi balanced against the nutritional jolt of kale or romaine.
“Life is [an expression of] tension from the very beginning. The challenge is that we have to find the right balance,” Cavallier-Belletrud said. “For perfume, it’s the same thing: building new balances by destroying the existing balance.” His method of creation reconciles opposing forces, the way one might use darkness to reveal the freshness and beauty of light, or vice versa. “My style is to play with contrast and show new contrast when it is possible. To find new balance, that’s our quest. To reveal and create, creates new emotions—and they’re so important for the people around us.”
The wearer’s emotional experience of the fragrance, and how it impacts their interactions with others, again brings the process back to the concept central to the project: wellness. Cavallier-Belletrud believes that attraction to a fragrance is about self-seduction, memories associated with childhood, beloved relationships, and what makes you truly happy.
And at the core of the entire Cologne Perfume collection is the collaboration between two artists and friends. For Israel, whose vibrant blues and greens are seen in Pacific Chill’s bottle and packaging, the wellness theme understandably took on a more material and active form.
Israel’s visual translation of the scent was inspired by his favorite hike through the Pacific Palisades; he created a landscape painting based on his recollection of the trek. “Because memory is so important when wearing a fragrance, it felt appropriate to paint based on the memory of a place, the fantasy of a place, for this project,” he said. “This is a new category of fragrance—a wellness fragrance. This is something you can work into your daily regimen when getting ready to go stretch or go hike. The fragrance can be a part of your actual wellness routine.”
Cavallier-Belletrud and Israel said their joint aim as artists is to use natural, raw materials in an attempt to speak to something universal, to evoke something within a shared human consciousness of sorts. One thing is undeniable: Pacific Chill captures a genuine facet of the wellness-seeking Angeleno lifestyle. “If there is one message that we have today, it is to be happy. Be chill,” Israel said. “And the chill is starting here.”
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