When Louis Vuitton calls, you answer. Back in March, I had received an email from the public relations department at Louis Vuitton inviting me on a press trip to Beverly Hills for the release of the brand's new fragrance City of Stars.
As I was already in Los Angeles visiting family, Vuitton sent a car to pick me up from my Nana’s house and whisked me away to the Beverly Hills Hotel where the brand was housing invited editors for the stay. Once I got to the hotel, I was immediately greeted by the Vuitton team and given a room key in a cute custom Louis Vuitton cardholder imprinted with a design of the city of Los Angeles.
The brand had invited us to dinner at the Sunset Tower Hotel. I hadn’t been in that area since my late teens when I had a fake ID. We enjoyed cocktails and bites near the pool that overlooked the city in all of its glory. Dinner was great. It was filled with good laughs and conversation.
For day two, we headed to the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills restaurant to eat and mingle on the rooftop and enjoy the city's views. Once lunch was over, we headed back to the hotel, where I checked some emails and did some light work before heading out to the grand event of the evening at the Academy Museum, in which the brand's latest fragrance would be unveiled.
The scent's collaborators French perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud and artist Alex Israel were on hand to explain their process. Regarding Los Angeles, Belletrud noted that the city had "special vibes" for him. “As you'll see, we are in a place which is really fabulous. We have a spectacular view; we are waiting for the sunset,” said Belletrud
“I asked Jacques what do you smell here in L.A.? And he said, 'the sunlight.' I looked at him and replied 'What do you mean sunlight?" shared Israel about collaborating with the famed French perfumer. "Jacques said he smelled the light and shared that no scent is just about fragrance; it's also about the atmosphere; it's about the color of the bottle; it's about the name of the fragrance; it's about the packaging. And I started thinking what's so great is that Jacques has this totally expansive definition of fragrance and that's really something interesting to think about. And for me, I think about fragrance as an accessory to performance, and I think Los Angeles is a city of performance. So it really makes a lot of sense bringing these concepts together—this idea of L.A. and of fragrance. People move to L.A from all over the world to reinvent themselves, to become the person that they want to be—and they get to perform that every day in their lives.”
Added Belletrud, “We need positive things; we need to reconnect. My quest is really to translate the different emotions coming from the bottle. The magic and the poetry should be in the bottle,”
Louis Vuitton's City of Stars fragrance is a citrusy scent, with touches of Tiare flower and sandalwood, that is meant to be worn as an evening cologne. The sparkling notes of blood orange, lemon, red mandarin, bergamot and lime are inspired by the city’s lights. “All these citruses come from Sicily and Calabria; they have the ravishing glimmer of those sun-drenched regions. The brilliance of citrus illuminates the night and creates a paradox between shadow and light, like a tension that’s soothed by a veil of Tiare flower, the gentle scent of monoi. The essence of sandalwood and the caress of powdery musk give this perfume sophistication," explains Belletrud. "That magnetic combination is what lets this cologne bring on the night and exude sensuality—as if to say, ‘this is forever.”