Sometimes the launch of a fragrance is so much more than simply an opportunity to smell something new, it’s a whole sensory experience. Visiting the Espace Gabrielle Chanel on London’s Bond Street was just such an experience. I managed to pop in on a rainy afternoon hoping to have a quick sniff and escape an absolute soaking. What actually happened was so much more exciting than that!
I was greeted at the door by a super friendly consultant clutching a handful of scented ribbons. Being approached in this way can sometimes be a bit intimidating as there is always the possibility that you are going to be subjected to the hard sell but in fact that couldn’t have been further from the truth! The person who guided me through the space seemed to be getting as much pleasure from the whole experience as I was and at no point did she suggest that I might want to buy the fragrance (although if I had wanted to, there was plenty of it there to be bought!).
To say that the exhibition (I debated what to call it but exhibition is the most fitting description I think) is beautiful is an understatement – the whole place screams luxury – but it is the interactive elements that really did it for me. I was invited to smell the individual white flower notes, which have been captured and then diffused via some very hi-tech looking equipment. It is always great to get the opportunity to smell and understand a single note and I think it really helps when it comes to identifying said note in the fragrance itself. I thoroughly enjoyed the little ‘mood creation’ film and the stunning displays of bottles and while I’m not the biggest fan of brand ambassador Kristen Stewart, the huge visuals of her are really powerful. Once I had been shown where everything was my hostess left me to it and I was free to wander round at my own pace looking, sniffing and taking pictures. I was offered the opportunity to book in for a full half hour fragrance ‘immersion’ but with a train to catch I couldn’t commit on that day which is a shame as I was so into it all by then!
Just before I left I was asked if I would leave my email address and having done so (and very unexpectedly) I was presented with a lovely gift. OK it wasn’t a full size bottle of Gabrielle but it was a fab tote bag and poster bearing Gabrielle Chanel’s famous words ‘I decided who I wanted to be and that is who I am’ – my new maxim for life!!
And the fragrance? Gabrielle is the first major female launch from Chanel since Chance in 2002 and was created by perfumer Olivier Polge (whose father Jacques created Chance), who describes the new fragrance as an abstract floral. I really liked it (but then anyone who reads Perfume Anorak will know that I am a white flower nut!). Tuberose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Orange Blossom all combine in the creamiest of scents. The fragrance has extraordinary longevity and by the time I went to bed that night I could still smell that creaminess but with added caramel-ly, gourmand notes that were just so comforting. There is definitely more than a touch of the Coco Mademoiselle about Gabrielle but if you liked that fragrance, the chances are that this one will be for you too.
The Espace Gabrielle Chanel pop-up is located at 27 Old Bond Street, Mayfair and is open from 11am – 8pm. Entry is free but you’ll have to be quick as it closes on Sunday September 24th!