Celine Launches Its First Fragrance(s) in over 50 Years

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Celine Haute Parfumerie Hedi Slimane fragrance
Celine Haute ParfumerieCourtesy of Celine

Hedi Slimane’s Haute Parfumerie collection for Celine comprises 11 fragrances, each evoking a specific moment in the designer’s life – available now in a dedicated Paris store

Hedi Slimane’s tenure as creative, artistic and image director of Celine has been defined by his singular vision: one that he now brings to the world of scent, with the launch of the house’s inaugural ‘Haute Parfumerie’ collection. Comprising 11 fragrances – nine of which are available from today – the collection will reside in a dedicated Haute Parfumerie boutique, newly opened on Paris’s historic Rue Saint-Honoré. The venture marks Slimane’s long-awaited return to olfaction (as creative director of Dior Homme, he created three Maison Christian Dior perfumes in 2004), while also marking the Parisian house’s first fragrance in over half a century, since 1964’s Vent Fou.

The ‘Celine Boutique Haute Parfumerie’ recalls the sleek, marble- and mirror-fitted interiors of the Celine stores Slimane has re-outfitted since the start of his time at the house, though on an altogether more intimate scale. Finding its starting point in the “Art Deco store signs of the great perfumers”, the era is evoked in the store’s refined design, which combines antique lacquered marble and illuminated alabaster with numerous mirrors, giving the illusion of endless space. Contemporary artworks, spanning Luisa Gardini’s composite scultupre Senza Titolo, abstract painted canvases by Camilla Reyman and Søren Sejr, and Rochelle Goldberg’s Composite Release #3 (the latter commissioned by Celine), are scattered within.

Amid this, the fragrance bottles themselves are displayed, as one might a collector’s item or curiosity, in glass-fronted cabinets and mirrored displayed stands (the centrepiece is a mirrored “amphitheatre”, in which the bottles appear infinitely reflected). The bottle’s design – a classic rectangular shape with riveted sides and a black lid imprinted with the house’s ‘Triomphe’ monogram – also nods to the Art Deco period and recalls traditional French glassmaking techniques, albeit reintepreted in Slimane’s streamlined style. Various other objects are available for sale, too, housed in vitrines which run down the centre of the space, numbering luxurious perfume cases (in alligator and calf-skin), matchboxes, lighters, combs and shaving sets, among others.

The fragrances themselves – each based around a single, powdery note, previously described by the house as “like a diaphanous veil placed over the skin” – are perhaps Slimane’s most personal endeavour yet, finding their origins in the designer’s own life experiences and reminiscences. As such, the vast majority are based on the city of Paris, where Slimane was born, studied and has spent much of his career – such fragrances include Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Dans Paris and Cologne Française – though one fragrance, Eau de Californie, draws inspiration from California and Los Angeles, where Slimane has been largely based since 2007.

Each of those four fragrances, alongside Parade, La Peau Nue, Bois Dormant and Rimbaud (the latter two available in 2020), make up the collection’s “day” scents; while the headier Black Tie, Reptile and Nightclubbing are designed for evening (although, the house say, this distinction is by no means prescriptive). The comprehensive collection is rich and evocative, with a largely nostalgic feel: Parade, for example is made to recall carefree 19th-century dandies and 60s musicians, with fresh notes of bergamot and neroli set against musk, vetiver and oak moss, while the intoxicating Reptile, sees tree moss, musk, and pepper meet seductive notes of cedar and leather, to evoke Slimane’s own photographic portraits of musicians and rock stars. 

As such, they invite the kind of desire one feels for Slimane’s collections for Celine thus far: drawing on the nostalgic allure of bygone eras, Celine’s Haute Parfumerie collection is nonetheless attuned for our present day – and, as the fragrance bottle’s timeless design attests, the days and decades beyond.

Explore Celine’s Haute Parfumerie collection here.