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Jacques Cavallier Belletrud : romantic essences

 

Louis Vuitton has just unveiled its first feminine perfume collection, which was designed by Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, the brand’s exclusive perfumer since 2012. Numéro spoke to the man who has created some of the greatest fragrances of the decade.

Copyright : Louis Vuitton Malletier 

 

Numéro: For a long time you worked for Firmenich, a company that produces perfumes for other brands, before becoming, in 2012, the exclusive perfumer for Louis Vuitton. What difference does your new status make?

Jacques Cavallier Belletrud : It means I have time. I immersed myself totally, physically even, in what Vuitton is and in its knowhow. Developing four perfumes at the same time for different brands is more complicated.

 

You come from Grasse, where your father and grandfather were both perfumers. How has that affected your approach?

From my earliest childhood I heard all about perfume. Creating scents is like breathing for me – it’s just the obvious thing to do.

 

Louis Vuitton hasn’t brought out a new perfume since 1946. How do you structure a collection when  inventing everything from scratch?

The common thread was flowers, to celebrate a universal femininity. With flowers you can speak to things that are very profound. I was able to make pure florals [Rose des Vents, Apogée or Turbulences], leather florals [Mille Feux and Dans la Peau] or more oriental ones [Contre Moi]… Out of 90 perfumes, seven made it into the collection. I distrust my first enthusiams.

Leather is at the heart of Louis Vuitton. How do you handle it in your perfumes?

I wanted a particular, natural note of leather. Louis Vuitton has an exclusive leather, VVN, which is used to make the handles of its bags and trunks, and which has rather a floral scent thanks to a vegetal tanning process that uses, among others, mimosa. We made an infusion by macerating the skins in alcohol so as to imprison the aromatic molecules. With the resulting leather extract, I composed Dans la Peau.

 

You often talk of “emotional perfumery.”

While 99% of the time you stop smelling your perfume after a month, a quality perfume that’s rich in natural products is a permanent surprise. It has numerous facets and comes back to the wearer differently over the course of the day. The natural brings an emotional universality – it’s truth. My perfumery is based in an intensive use of natural products. On my nightstand, I have a vial of jasmine from Grasse and of Osmanthus from China; if I’m feeling down, I inhale them and they make me smile.

 

How would you qualify the particularity of your approach?

I don’t like it when people say I have a style – that would mean I’d become its prisoner. I like eclecticism. The desire to illustrate emotions through the natural is one of my main characteristics.

 

Is creating perfumes a constant search for love?

Yes ! Clearly one does this to be loved, and I like the idea that people love me. Which is why there’s this emotional charge in my perfumes.

 

You like to be loved and you compose seven feminine perfumes. Are masculine scents not a priority?

Things have to be done in the right order. And who gives life? Mine won’t be enough to pierce the mystery of woman. There’s that attraction. My first creative act had to be a celebration of the feminine.

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