By The Beauty Hub  |  October 11th, 2015  |  Brands,Editors Pick,News

One should not be surprised if, in creating his first fragrance, Azzedine Alaïa proceeded exactly the same way as in his previous projects.

Alaïa’s aesthetic is in fact a manifesto, a true statement, a genuine declaration of women’s rights. “If Azzedine Alaïa sculpts women’s bodies,” says Carla Sozzani, “it is because he has a special relationship with them: he sees them beautiful, he makes them beautiful, he makes them self-confident about their bodies. Sicurezza da bellezza, as we say in Italian.”

This was indeed a revolutionary transformation: by inserting himself into the social dynamics beginning in the late 1960s with unprecedented clothes, Azzedine Alaïa transgressed the limits of conventional fashion, publicly proclaiming himself the ally of the woman on the go, and stating that, on a daily basis, he was transmuting both their clothing habits and their identity – actively committing himself in a true mission of empowerment.

With his revolutionary stretches at the dawn of the eighties, gum-printed tulles, wool woven then embroidered and charred successively by Japanese, Italian and French craftsmen, applications on muslin, laser-cut leather, layered lace, he stated that his materials were anchored in his time. Based on the mastering of new materials, his creativity meets discoveries of physics or mechanics, just as in those textiles in origami that are unbendable, but only stretchable. Using particularly audacious technical turning-points, controlling some very sharp information, basing his work on laws in progress, he moves forward, unstoppable – finding anew, in his own productions, the questions that occupy the thinkers of his time. Beyond his dazzling technical skills, he remains an architect and a poet, following his road, between structuration and creativity.

Thus, through his eau de parfum, Alaïa Paris, imposing Beauty as absolute once more, Azzedine Alaïa’s enchanted universe goes on, as he offers, in a truly Baudelairian gesture, an immortal Invitation to the Voyage.

With his choice of a cold and surprising accord, with his decision to offer a shock, an olfactory surprise, Alaïa remains himself, time and again. Once more, he steps in as a pioneer, opening the gates to unexpected feelings. Resolutely modern, the olfactory pyramid of his eau de parfum finally defines itself as an impression of freshness. “It is not a parfum, but an eau de parfum,” he insists. “Besides, to perfume oneself is like to refresh oneself, it’s a very usual gesture, complementary to that of the toilette.” Once again, Alaïa’s mystique moves forward.

But the story of Alaïa’s Paris is also the fruit of an unexpected encounter – that of a young woman perfumer, Marie Salamagne, from the new generation of Firmenich perfumers. Bold, determined and enthusiastic, as soon as she heard of ‘Mr Alaia’s brief’ (the smell of cold water falling on hot chalk), she immediately started searching. “Very quickly,” she says, “I came up with a formula that evoked this feeling: they were fresh, aquatic mineral notes; I created this accord by progressive essays, in less than one day. Then, I had the intuition that it needed to be mixed in clair-obscur, in a less innocent way and I added an animal note by surrounding it with musk.” Among many projects submitted to Alaïa, only that of Marie caught his interest. With his scarce original intuition, once again, the creator found himself at odds with the fragrances of the time. “The accord requested by Monsieur Alaïa,” Marie Salamagne states today “is a true oddity, it has nothing to do with what is currently offered.”

The olfactory pyramid:

A fresh impression: airy notes and pink pepper.

A floral impression: freesia and peony.

A bare- skin impression: animal notes and musk.

The story of Alaïa’s Paris is the continuation of a decades-long connivence, of an infallible friendship between Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani who has followed the creator’s career for decades now; together, they planned the creation of the eau de parfum; together, they refined its elaboration, step by step.

The story of Alaïa’s Paris is also the story of a fruitful collaboration between Alaïa and BPI (Beauté Prestige International). BPI has initiated numerous privileged partnerships with some of the world’s greatest fashion-designers who created legendary, internationally renowned perfumes. Nathalie Helloin-Kamel, CBO (Chief Brand Officer) of BPI International and the BPI teams contributed to the project both their expertise in the world of beauty and their decades-long experience in the realization of creators’ perfumes.

The bottle? It has been conceived by designer Martin Szekely who wished it to become “a fetish object dedicated to women.” Following his Black Mirror – pure, compact and strange – Szekely created a body of heavy and precious translucent black glass (half-way between a meteorite and a polished pebble), that he adorned, front and back, with the famous Alaïa laser-cut pattern, an emblematic pattern which first appeared on the leather corset in the 1990s. The cap? In contrast to the bottle, as if to enhance it, it is a homage to Alaïa’s craftsmanship – a spool of golden thread which seems to takes its flight, made of zamak and pink gold.

The packaging is delicately framed with black, it carries the Alaïa nude, an intense pinky beige that evokes the skin, one of the creator’s fetish colours.