The French fragrance house, owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has collaborated with Parisian couture collector and designer Didier Ludot on its latest scent, called La Petite Robe Noire (or The Little Black Dress, in English).
The project marks a departure for Guerlain and a first for the brand. “A dress has never been the source of inspiration for a Guerlain fragrance before, so La Petite Robe Noire is a first,” said Laurent Boillot, Guerlain’s president and chief executive officer, during a recent cocktail party celebrating the new scent at Guerlain’s flagship on Paris’ Champs-Elysées. “La Petite Robe Noire was not only inspired by women, but it represents the very idea behind the woman who wears it, which is what sets it apart from the other fragrances in our portfolio.”
Ludot, an avid collector and designer of little black dresses, created a gown as inspiration for the scent. Guerlain chose to work with Ludot because, as Boillot noted, “Didier Ludot is the little black dress.”
“Guerlain is Parisian luxury and the little black dress is Parisian chic — this combination made for an interesting osmosis,” Ludot added. “A little black dress truly comes alive only when worn with a fragrance; it is the sole piece of jewelry needed.”
The scent’s sartorial inspiration is carried through to its flacon, which was designed by Serge Mansau to recall vintage Guerlain bottles. It features the outline of a dress etched into its black-tinted glass.
La Petite Robe Noire’s fruity floral juice, blended by Drom perfumer Delphine Jelk, features notes of Sicilian lemon, almond, liquorice, patchouli, rose and smoky tea. Priced at 90 euros, or $114.80 at current exchange, per 50-ml. spray bottle, the eau de parfum will be part of Guerlain’s The Exclusive Fragrances Collection.
Distribution for the fragrance is to be highly selective. For its debut this month, it will only be available in Guerlain’s 11 Paris boutiques, while special orders from retailers in the French provinces will be shipped from the Maison Guerlain. There is no timetable for international launches, but, according to Boillot, rollout to markets including Russia, the U.S. and Hong Kong will be on a case-by-case basis.
Guerlain executives declined to discuss first-year sales forecasts. However, industry sources estimate La Petite Robe Noire will generate first-year retail revenues in France of 10 million euros, or $12.8 million.
There will be no advertising for the fragrance.
A copy of the dress designed by Ludot, which inspired the fragrance, will be auctioned off for charity. Additional ones will be sold in the designer’s Palais Royal boutique for 950 euros, or $1,211.80
To fete the launch of La Petite Robe Noire, 13 dresses from Ludot’s spring 2009 collection are being shown in Guerlain’s flagship through Thursday.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast