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France’s first lady of fragrance is back — and this time, she’s doing it her way.

This story first appeared in the April 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Chantal Roos, the powerhouse behind such legendary juices as YSL’s Opium and Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey, has teamed with her daughter, Alexandra, to create a quintet of scents aimed at high-end consumers. Rather than catering to a designer’s demands, however, this time Roos is creating the DNA for Dear Rose, her new range of scents.

“In my roles creating fragrances for YSL, Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultier, I always worked within an established DNA — sexiness, transparence, whatever, etc. — and my job was to take that DNA and transform it into a fragrance,” said Roos. “This is the first time I have started completely from scratch. With Dear Rose, I am creating my story and my daughter’s. The dear is for the emotion, and rose is a mythical flower in fragrance.”

In fact, it was her daughter who inspired Roos to take the leap, said Roos.

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“Alexandra is an artist — she has launched four records and writes music — and she asked me why I’d never considered launching my own fragrance,” said Roos. “In the process of helping me start development, she also fell in love with the process. To transmit something of your savoir faire to the next generation — it is a wonderful feeling. It is as if we had always been doing it together. And even when I am a very old woman, I will have a place to go to be useful.”

Roos was determined to create an offering that was completely different from what is currently on the market — including nontraditional names and ingredient combinations. “There is no point in doing the same thing using the same bottle and a lack of creativity and emotion,” she said. “That is the lack of a good reason to launch something.”

A Capella combines notes of rosebud absolute, ivy leaf and luminous white woods, which capture the morning sun, said Roos. I Love My Man addresses the joy of love with notes of Bulgarian and centifolia rose, cinnamon, tonka bean and sandalwood. Bloody Rose, which combines ylang-ylang, orange flower, incense and patchouli, addresses the choice to love. Sympathy for the Sun, an ode to love on the beach, combines jasmine petal, peony and salt. La Favorite, a combination of pink pepper, saffron, oud wood and patchouli, is intended to capture the heady essences of evening, noted Roos.

The scents were concocted with Firmenich’s Fabrice Pellegrin, Roos added.

Each scent will sell for 125 euros, or $173 at current exchange, for a 100-ml. eau de parfum.

The collection will begin rolling out in May to select niche perfumeries in France, Germany, Austria and Australia, and Roos is currently eyeing U.S. distribution, which could include independent perfumeries and high-end specialty stores. She is currently working with a distribution agent, Different Latitude, which represents brands in that niche distribution. “We will grow slowly, as our company is just the two of us right now,” said Roos. “We also want to look for the right distribution opportunities.”

While Roos declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the fragrances could do roughly $3 million in retail sales in their first year on counter.

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