Capturing the essence of wanderlust, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud uses seven scents to translate Louis Vuitton's spirit of travel into a fragrance collection.
The luxury French brand has long had an affinity with exploration, with a rich heritage of leather travel cases and trunks. Belletrud, who has his roots in the French town of Grasse where both leather and perfume are famous exports, combines these dual elements in his collection for Louis Vuitton.
“I started when I first arrived at Louis Vuitton in 2012,” says Belletrud. “While I was exploring the Maison and getting to know the people who work there, the different designers, the leather goods and crafts, I was already jotting down my first formulas. I didn’t want perfume ingredients that to me seemed too trite. I wanted to tell real stories on the skin.”
Inspired by rare and raw materials, Belletrud explored unusual scents and combinations to create not one but seven perfumes: “Working on seven leads simultaneously allowed me to create conversations among compositions. One provided respite from another when I was overcome by doubt. And it gave me great freedom because it let me tell seven different stories without trying to bring all women together in a single perfume.”
Embracing a mix of natural fruit and floral scents as well as leather and spices allowed Belletrud to create unique infusions that conveyed Louis Vuitton’s heritage with travel: “I went looking for ingredients that could help me tell the stories I wanted to tell.” The collection is also available in 1920s-style monogrammed travel cases, a tribute to the brand's leather trunks.
See how the cases are made in the gallery below:
Recalling a visit to Louis Vuitton's Asnières workshop, Belletrud explains his inspiration for one of the scents, Mille Feux: "I saw a leather craftsman working on a skin with an amazing colour, a dazzling red, and he was in the process of softening it. I was struck by the contrast between the suppleness of the leather and the intensity of the raspberry red, and I wanted to transpose that in a fragrance. The sensual leather meets the vibrant red—adding a bit of diversion, amusement, joy."
Aiming to inspire the desire for exploration and convey movement, Belletrud used innovative techniques like supercritical CO2 extraction to achieve the perfect balance in his palette.
This technique allows for greater precision in the refinement process as it uses no heat, and results in a purer concentration of the raw ingredients which creates more depth. Already used on ingredients like vanilla, Belletrud has explored the extraction of rare ingredients like jasmine and May rose, exclusive to Maison Louis Vuitton.
“This adventure made me even more inventive and allowed me to push the creative boundaries of my approach to perfume.”