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EXCLUSIVE: Elle Fanning on Fame, Paco Rabanne’s New Scent

The fragrance launches July 1.

PARIS — For Paco Rabanne’s newest women’s fragrance, it is all about Fame.

That’s the name of the scent fronted by Elle Fanning, which is meant to channel Hollywood glamour with a Parisian twist, and catapult Paco Rabanne into the women’s fragrance stratosphere.

In perfume, Paco Rabanne is best known for its male fragrance franchise, which ranked third globally in 2021. The brand has three masculine pillars — One Million, Invictus and Phantom, with a robot-shaped, connected bottle.

The time is ripe to closer align Paco Rabanne’s fashion and fragrances.

“The fashion is doing amazingly well,” said Vincent Thilloy, chief brand officer at Paco Rabanne.

Fame is meant to herald in an era of women’s scents for Puig-owned Paco Rabanne.

“One of our objectives is to reinforce the [feminine] perception of the brand,” said Thilloy. “We really want to enhance this [youthful] femininity, which is more playful.”

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“For us, it’s really a new moment for the brand,” continued Romain Sottovia, general manager marketing at Paco Rabanne.

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Fame is robot-shaped, just like Phantom. “However, its story is completely different from Phantom’s,” he said.

The moniker Fame was chosen, since Paco Rabanne executives believe everyone will have 15 minutes of fame sometime in the future, due to the world’s connectivity.

The scent bottle has on what looks like Paco Rabanne’s iconic chain-mail dress, boots echoing those designed by creative director Julien Dossena in real life, as well as earrings and a bracelet resembling some of the brand’s bestselling accessories.

“I want to give women clothes that empower them, that bring them joy as well by exploring a strong femininity,” said Dossena. “I am happy to see that Fame encapsulates in its own way all these aspects of how I project the Paco woman.”

Sottovia called Fame “the most fashion-forward project we’ve ever had at Paco Rabanne [in fragrance].” He said the bottle was created as an object of desire or a collectible.

Fame’s sunglasses were inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s.

“We wanted to have this Hollywood glamour vibe, with a Parisian twist,” said Sottovia. “It’s going to be the first project that tells the story of Paco Rabanne as a Parisian fashion house.”

“The brand’s purpose is really to galvanize the young generation,” continued Thilloy, explaining Fanning is representative of that demographic. “She’s super creative — an artist, a star.”

In the film ad lensed by Solal Micenmacher, Fanning is playful, sensual and sexy.

“She has these different personalities that we love,” said Sottovia. “So we thought she was the perfect embodiment of this new Paco Rabanne femininity that is very different from what you’ve seen in the past.”

Fanning was filmed at Paco Rabanne’s flagship on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. The spot starts with her in front of the boutique. She sees the Fame bottle and it acts as a magic talisman. Set to David Bowie’s “Fame,” the film pays homage to iconic muses of Hollywood and of Paco Rabanne, including Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Françoise Hardy.

For the print ad, shot by Mikael Jansson, Fanning poses in Bardot fashion.

“I think that the Paco Rabanne woman is incredibly confident,” said Fanning, speaking from London, where she was filming the third season of “The Great,” from Hulu. “It’s someone who really does want to stand out and be daring and bold. I was excited to come on board and get to represent this brand.”

The focus in the campaign on glamour from the ’60s, made modern, was alluring.

“I’m a very nostalgic person of the past,” said Fanning. “Even though I didn’t live in those eras, since from [when I was] a little girl I’ve always been drawn to the starlets of that time. And even in my everyday life, I try to embody that. There’s something so special about back then.”

The one way acting in an ad differs from in a movie is the eye contact.

“It’s really a dance that you get to have,” said Fanning. “You get to look in the lens and really connect to the audience.”

She enjoyed shooting late into the night in Paris and the dance sequence.

Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning Courtesy of Paco Rabanne

“We got to try on so many clothes,” mused Fanning. “It was like a girl’s dream walking into that closet.”

For her, “fame” means being able to step into one’s own spotlight, “and create that spotlight for yourself and have it shining down on you, and to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, bold and confident, and to really step out from the crowd,” she said.

Fanning’s recollections of fragrance go way back.

“I remember my earliest memories, like going into my grandmother’s vanity and mixing probably too many perfumes altogether and feeling very grown-up doing that,” she said. “I’m sure my first fragrance was super, super sweet — bought at the mall — like cotton candy or something.

“Fragrance also represents so many different milestones and phases in your life,” continued Fanning. “I put on my perfume, and I feel like I’m ready to do whatever I need to do.”

She is partial to Fame, for its fresh notes.

Naturality and sustainability were watchwords for the scent’s creation. Four Firmenich perfumers — Dora Baghriche, Marie Salamagne, Alberto Morillas and Fabrice Pellegrin — conceived the juice.

“At the beginning, we wanted to find iconic ingredients,” said Sophie Mienville, Puig prestige fragrances perfumer, who called the perfume development a fine balance between precious ingredients, innovation and sustainability.

The idea was to create a new chypre scent using three incense notes wrapped in vanilla and sandalwood. Other key ingredients are mango and jasmine.

The Fame fragrance has 90 percent of its ingredients coming from natural origins, is vegan and made in France.

“It is the most sustainable fragrance we’ve ever designed,” said Sottovia.

Some eco-friendly ingredients include jasmine from Grasse, France, which is extracted using micro-liquid technology, and incense tears sustainably sourced from the Republic of Somaliland. Sandalwood was also sustainably sourced from Australia, and there’s socially responsible vanilla from Madagascar. The mango accord is made for the first time with wholly natural ingredients.

The Fame eau de toilette lineup includes an 80-ml. refillable format for 128 euros, a 50-ml. EDT for 98 euros and a 30-ml. EDT for 65 euros. The 200-ml. EDT refill costs 160 euros.

Thilloy said the ambition is for the fragrance to reach the top 10 of women’s scents at launch.

Prelaunch, on July 1, will take place in travel retail worldwide and on Paco Rabanne’s e-boutique. In September, Fame is to be introduced in Europe and Latin America, followed by the U.S. in early 2023 and China in 2024.

For more, see:

Paco Rabanne Resort Collection 2023

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