Chloé was a late bloomer in the fragrance world, with its first scent coming out only in 1974 — more than two decades after the brand’s inaugural fashion collection in 1952.
Simply called Chloé, it was created with Karl Lagerfeld, then the label’s designer, who tried to express olfactively the brand’s romantic, floral essence.
“I knew I liked heavy perfumes, old perfumes, and I knew I hated green scents. There are so many of them around today,” he told WWD in a 1976 interview. Lagerfeld was describing the initial stages of his work on the fragrance, which was developed with Elizabeth Arden, Chloé’s fragrance licensee at the time.
Working with an International Flavors & Fragrances perfumer, he learned a lot. “I learned that the extract isn’t like the flower at all,” said Lagerfeld. “Jasmine in extract is the worst, and I love jasmine flowers.”
Lagerfeld found the process of translating his ideas and feelings into a scent both fascinating and difficult: “It’s like asking someone without hands to do a sketch. You just can’t mix up a fragrance yourself.”
The designer predicted that of the 20 or more fragrance introductions over the two prior years, only two or three would still be around a few years hence, and he hoped Chloé would be among them. That dream became reality as the signature scent for women became a strong seller and still figures in the brand’s portfolio.
Chloé’s next major perfume launch came in 1992, with Narcisse, followed by some smaller introductions, such as Chloé Innocence in 1996 and Chloé Collection from 2005.
In May 2005, Coty Inc. acquired the brand’s fragrance business as part of an $800 million deal with Unilever, which involved the consumer goods giant’s portfolio of prestige scent licenses that also included Calvin Klein, Cerruti, Vera Wang and Lagerfeld.
At the time, that Chloé activity was “really small,” according to Françoise Mariez, senior vice president of marketing for European fragrances at Coty Prestige. Yet fast-forward to today, when industry sources estimate the business rings up more than $100 million in wholesale revenues annually and has been chalking up double-digit gains each year.
Right away, Coty began reconstructing the Chloé fragrance branch practically from scratch. To accomplish that, it looked at archives and the fashion collection, for instance.
Chloé stands for “femininity,” “effortless chic,” “strength” and “freedom,” explained Mariez. “Our first step rebuilding the fragrance house was to really encapsulate in one fragrance the core values of the brand today.”
So Chloé Eau de Parfum was born in 2008. That it would be a floral was evident.
“As soon as you mention Chloé to fragrance consumers, the first thing they’d say is there are two values: romantic and floral,” said Mariez, who clarified that it’s a modern romanticism.
The signature scent was created by Robertet’s perfumers Michel Almairac and Amandine Marie and includes notes of rose, magnolia, lily of the valley and cedarwood.
Mariez maintained that the signature scent, which is the brand’s bestseller, works so well “because it’s a perfect translation of the Chloé spirit and brand values.”
Chloé Eau de Fleurs, a trio of soliflore scents, was introduced in January 2010. Yet the second major fragrance launch for Chloé under Coty was Love, Chloé, in 2010. Fronted by model Raquel Zimmermann styled as a modern-day Charlie girl, it targets a slightly more mature consumer. The juice, concocted by Givaudan perfumers Louise Turner and Nathalie Gracia-Cetto, includes notes of orange blossom, pink pepper, lilac, wisteria blossom, musks, talc and rice powder.
The Chloé business, whose two main brands were subsequently expanded, is a particular hit in Japan, where it ranks first among prestige women’s fragrance labels. In Italy, Germany and Spain, Chloé figures in the top 10. It’s in the top 15 in the U.S., where it’s “growing quite fast,” Mariez said, and in France and the U.K., Chloé lands in the top 25.
The next major Chloé project will be a women’s fragrance launching next spring. It’s possible that the brand could ultimately branch out into other beauty product categories, as well.
“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