If Vacation Had a Scent

No matter what pursuit Chanel embarks on—the construction of an iconic bag, the designing of an intricate couture gown or the creation of a new beauty product—it is done to the nth degree. So it should come as no surprise that the launch of the house’s three new unisex fragrances, a collection called Les Eaux de Chanel, led the iconic French brand to gather journalists and influencers from around the world in France to experience the scents first-hand with Chanel’s head of perfume, Olivier Polge. The nth degree indeed.

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The Les Eaux de Chanel Biarritz perfume

The three scents, named Biarritz, Deauville and Venice, each reference a seaside town that had an impact on Coco Chanel. They were places she visited and enjoyed: Biarritz was where she launched her couture atelier, Deauville was the site of the very first Chanel boutique and Venice was a place she escaped to during a difficult time in her life.

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Chanel Beach

To fully explore the inspiration for each scent, Chanel brought everyone to Paris, before transporting them—via the Orient Express—to Deauville, a quaint beach town in Normandy that often draws the vacationing French elite. A day spent at the Instagram-ready Chanel Beach was followed by a visit to a villa where Polge went through the intricacies of the new scents, each with its own distinct personality.

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Alessandra Mastronardi

But it wasn’t only the fragrances that were new: The sleek, flask-like shape of the bottles they come in is also a first. Constructed from a lighter-than-usual glass, the bottles showcase how Chanel considers every detail, from the distinct click of the cap to the double C logo engraved on top and inside of it.

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Nicolas Maury

Here are the unique characteristics of each Les Eaux de Chanel scent.

BIARRITZ

Polge refers to the Biarritz scent as “floral musky,” describing it as the freshest of the three scents and an homage to the town’s sporty culture. A crisp combination of citrus (grapefruit and mandarin) and lily of the valley result in a fragrance perfect for vacation or any day you want to feel like vacation.

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Chanel’s Head of Perfume Olivier Polge

DEAUVILLE

Polge calls Deauville the scent “for a weekend in the countryside,” which is perfect considering Coco Chanel enjoyed going to Deauville as an escape from Paris. He describes the smell as an “aromatic, woody water.” The fragrance also bears notes of orange, basil and jasmine.

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Yara Shahidi

VENICE

A more powdery scent, Venice was inspired by a town that had a great influence on Coco Chanel, introducing her to the Byzantine and Baroque art she so admired. The perfume starts with a fresh top note of orange flower, followed by iris and then amber, and finally soft notes of vanilla and Tonka bean.

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Liu Shi Shi

Each eau de toilette is 4.2 ounces, $130, at chanel.com

Many friends of the House of Chanel celebrated the launch of the Les Eaux de Chanel scents, including (clockwise from left) Chinese actress Liu Shi Shi, Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi; Korean singer Jennie Kim and English actress Ella Purnel.

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Tao Okamoto