The Smell of Romance: The Story of a Fearless Love.

By Camilla Iannucci

Leading a lionhearted life is something not everyone was born to do. It takes a lot of self-reflection and inner work to be bold within and in the eyes of the outer world. The concept of courage extends itself through honesty and vulnerability, especially when in relation to ‘love’, either for the self or for others. Carine Roitfeld, explores the delicate and most hidden sides of a ‘fearless’ lifestyle, through her scent collection, but it took a magical journey for her to get to this point. Read more on The Smell of Romance: The Story of a Fearless Love.

Main picture: Carine’s daughter, Julia Restoin Roitfeld

Carine Roitfelt is one of the most influential fashion figures of this century. After working as a model, stylist, and then editor of French Vogue, Carine extended her creative genius to an innovative perfume line, one that is honest and bold, just like her very persona.

Her journey is marked by a relentless pursuit of passion and purpose. With an intense love for challenges, Carine started her career when scouted as a model on a street in Paris, at the tender age of 18. However, throughout her life she was never passive, her energy and creativity brought her to push the boundaries of the fashion world, thanks to her talent, and magnetism.

Starting as a model, Carine concluded her career by resigning as editor of Vogue Paris and starting her own fashion book project named “CR: Fashion book”. Her initiative is inspiring, proving life is meant to be lived through risks, ideas, and a little bit of fear. Through her zest for life, she has been uncompromising, even as far as her love life is concerned.

Her controversial genius resides in defeating the assumptions about her character by playing with them. By freely showcasing an incredibly confidential side of her to the world, Carine presents herself as human and honest. Reminding, those who watch, that boldness is sometimes, nothing but a mask concealing sensitivity.

Carine explores the tangled reality of her self-expression through her scent collection. Alongside with ‘Carine’ and ‘Forgive Me’, ‘7 lovers’ perfumes she gives the chance to the customers to get familiar with the outstanding life of the women.

Taking a closer look at ‘7 Lovers’ perfume line. 7 Lovers in 7 Cities, is the concept defining the fragrances, carefully created to convey a sense of respect, more than passion and romance. Carine, in fact, wants to underline the idea that love is much more complex than just a sensual and impulsive feeling. The line talks about intimacy, admiration and care, all traits characterising love itself. Not intended as a primal, ferocious sensation, but rather a systematic feeling you earn.

Each fragrance is a different emotive journey, digging deep into the soul of those who wear it. A slice of a wearable love affair. Precisely describing Carine’s character as free, magnetic and stubborn. The writer compares the process of crafting the fragrances as ‘being naked as you’re baring your soul’, displaying what’s under the skin without judgment but empathy instead.

All the fragrances: Aurélien, George, Vladimir, Kar-Wai, Orson, Sebastian and Lawrence, are enriched with undertones describing the cities as well as the lovers.

Taking a closer look at each fragrance. Aurélien, tells the tale of the classic ‘polar opposite’ trope. Inspired by the iconic duality of black and white, the fragrance’s notes are Orange Blossom and Jasmine as well as Benzoin, Myrrh, Opoponax, Patchouli and Black Amber. Bottling up the Parisian elegance and the idea of depth and mystery.

George, inspired by Carine’s English lover, Poised between tradition and modernity, is an eclectic perfume. Featuring Galbanum resin and Violet Leaf – an utterly exceptional leaf absolute. Combined with Jasmine, Rose and Iris and enhanced by the classic notes of wood, earth and leather offered by Oakmoss. Attractive and sensual, this down-to-earth fragrance summarises London’s soul, mixing its truest rebel side with its collected and organised one.

Unlike the other fragrances, Vladimir tells a story of maternal, innate love. Vladimir is the name of Carine’s son. The contrasting ingredients of Iris, Incense and Amber blow hot and cold, Just like a maternal love expressing rigour and fluidity. The initial icy effect of Grapefruit and natural Bergamot is enveloped in the aromatic notes of French Sage. The heart uncovers the spicy notes of natural Cedar and Egyptian Geranium. Then arrives the warmth of Moroccan Iris and a complex ambery accord composed of sensual, woody, vanilla notes.

Kar-Wai describes addiction and gluttony. A forceful contrast of violence and sensuality. Smoked Longjing tea combined with the modern leather notes of natural Osmanthus conjures an invitation to feel the exciting yet dangerous feeling of exploring another continent. Bergamot, Cardamom, Turkish Rose and Jasmine Sambac fester the enigmatic fragrance. Topping everything up with Musk and a Saffiano, intensifying the fragrance.

Orson is playful and unique. A fragrance signifying sensuality. Petals of Hawthorn flowers, the very generous Tuberose absolute and Ylang Ylang are enhanced by Peppers. The delicate notes are dressed up by the powerful presence of Sandalwood, Benzoin Laos, Opoponax and Venezuelan Tonka Bean root the ethereal petals in the earth.

Sebastian conveys strength within affection. The fragrance evokes passion, and energy, bottling up the freedom of movement and dance. It is constructed around the Immortelle. Opening with the energetic scent of Immortelle and Indian Tuberose absolutes. Lightened by an Aqua Flora captive merged with the soft notes of Sandalwood. At its base a magnificent, natural Vanilla to complete the love story.

Lawrence transmits a spicy, tough sensation. A composition of Egyptian Jasmine absolute aroused by highly textured balsams, Tolu Balsam, Musk and Agarwood. All softened by the aromatic notes of Cumin, Coriander and Saffron. Oud base notes define this fiery fragrance donating its balance.

Her distinct unapologetic self extends to ‘Carine’. If ‘7 Lovers’ gives people a glimpse into Carine’s passionate love life, ‘Carine’ showcases her free spirit, a light way side of her that accompanied her creative self. Carine compares this fragrance to gypsy music floating in the air, revealing the sensation of carefree fun and sensual intimacy. Although stubborn and career driven, Carine proudly conveys a childlike side of her humanity. A scent of patchouli lingers, expressing all the passion of this enigmatic Parisian’s fantasy.

Her most intimate Io, resides however in ‘Forgive Me’’s bottle. The perfume is her latest creation, defined by the concept of duality within. A scent exploring the entangled trails of self, creating a sense of excitement and yet, vulnerability. It wants to convey feelings rather than a smell. Strong feelings like attraction, passion, and even nervousness.
It opens with bright effervescent notes of Tangerine, Pink pepper and Orange blossom from Tunisia, making it instantly fresh and energising. Floral rich vivacious notes of Tuberose, Ylang Ylang and Gardenia mingle. The scent goes on to reveal Patchouli, Cashmeran, Olibanum alongside Labdanum. The complexity of the combination of nuances mirrors the complexity of personality. Spicy, fresh, and flowery the fragrance has it all, both bold and delicate like its creator, it caresses your skin reflecting the scent of the most authentic confidence.

The fragrances have the audacious objective of describing a personality trait or, even, a place. As both of those elements are incredibly complex and tangled, Carine’s deep emotive aura manages to capture the very heart of both. Playing with emotions, Carine neglects boundaries by truly connecting to a past that even if gone, echoes to the present.

Carine, this strong personality navigated her reality so intensely. Including all its highs and lows, the scents show that intimacy is a delicate art, that people can experience through a multitude of factors. Bold people, like Carine, carry an emotional weight, allowing them to indulge in eclectic experiences.

find out more about Carine’s perfume line here.

If you enjoyed reading The Smell of Romance: The Story of a Fearless Love, why not read 5 It’s Beginning to Smell Like Christmas 

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