“Thanks for coming to our wedding,” joked Alex Israel, walking through rows of lined benches in the open air, alongside Louis Vuitton’s maître parfumeur Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud.
It’s a marriage of artistry; the two presented their latest fragrance collaboration, the fifth in the series, Pacific Chill. They faced an audience of influencers and press overlooking the ocean, perched atop the hills of Malibu on Wednesday.
“They certainly brought the Pacific chill,” remarked a reporter with a chuckle. It was a particularly hazy view of the beach town, where the luxury French house took over a property to immerse guests into the world of the scent.
It’s a world inspired by California, with notes of black currant, cédrat, basil, lemon, coriander, as well as carrot seeds and orange.
“Of course, I had to respect what I was drinking,” said Cavallier-Belletrud prior to the event — a wellness day that included a sound bath and yoga session. He was referencing a juice that sparked the inspiration behind the newest creation: the 14 Carrot Gold served at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge. Made of carrot, orange and ginger, he enjoyed it every morning while visiting Los Angeles about a year ago. On one of those days, he was with Israel.
“The weather was quite nice,” he explained. “It was the beginning of April.”
The artist had asked him how he finds inspiration for fragrances, and Cavallier-Belletrud said: “I said, ‘Well, Alex, that is very simple.’ We were surrounded by trees, small plants and the smell of black currant. I said, ‘Well, inspiration of this place, for example, is this juice I’ve been drinking for a few days every morning that’s bringing a lot of energy to me. That’s very L.A. for me. And this black currant note around us.’”
Pacific Chill was born then and there, with soft fruity notes coming through in the end. Cavallier-Belletrud considers it the “detox” scent of the bunch.
The wellness sensibilities of California, as well as its social causes — from “protecting nature” to “defending minorities” — resonate with Cavallier-Belletrud. It’s a fragrance developed to open both the senses and mind.
“I love the West Coast,” he said. “I love the freedom from this piece of land in the United States.”
Israel, born and bred in L.A., offers a direct connection to the city.
“With Alex, it’s very free,” Cavallier-Belletrud said of collaborating. The perfumer sources ingredients globally before bringing a creation to life in his atelier, located in Grasse. Enveloped in a blue-green hued vessel, a 100-ml. bottle of Pacific Chill retails for $300.
“Our discussions are really very important to me, because he is the master of California,” Cavallier-Belletrud continued of Israel. “As we are together, both of us artists, we have a bridge built on emotions. And he’s bringing to me all these very strong emotions from California.”
Israel began collaborating with Louis Vuitton in 2018 with the release of his Artycapucines handbag, which launched a year later. He has also created scarves, small leather goods and a surfboard with the house.
“As we’ve gotten more comfortable working with one another over time, the brand has allowed me to become more involved in the creative marketing,” Israel wrote via email. “With Pacific Chill, this added responsibility has ranged from naming the fragrance to allowing me, for the first time, to direct our collaboration’s live action content featuring Miranda Kerr.”
He worked on branding, including the fragrance’s name, campaign, packaging and “visual identity,” he added. His aim was to “capture this unique aspect of Los Angeles life — the city’s love of wellness and nature and its cool, uncanny morning light — in a bottle. Literally.”
Of the final result, he noted: “It’s a testament to Jacques’ talent that it really does something so effectively, it really captures this whole ethos, in a way that no other fragrance has even attempted to do before. It doesn’t just illustrate L.A. wellness culture, it becomes a part of it: you want to apply it first thing in the morning as a prelude to your hike, your stretch, or your morning workout.”