Le Lion de CHANEL

Le Lion de CHANEL - the new fragrance joining the LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL range.
Reading time 6 minutes

Certain coincidences have the power to forge destinies. For Gabrielle Chanel, the lion was one of them. The fifth sign of the Zodiac, the lion watched over her from the day she was born on August 19, 1883. Superstitious and fascinated by the stars, Gabrielle quickly considered the animal associated with her birth date as a source of luck. 

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“I am a leo and, like a lion, I use my claws to prevent people from doing me harm. But, believe me, I suffer more from scratching than from being scratched.” Gabrielle Chanel

In 1920, devastated by the sudden death of the love of her life, Boy Capel, she let her friends José-Maria Sert and his wife Misia convince her to join them on their trip to Venice. Gabrielle fell madly in love with the city and experienced it like a rebirth. She drew strength from the bustling energy and the artistic and fashionable atmosphere of the city, like her, under the sign of the Lion. Guardian figure of the city that captivated and inspired her, the feline symbol of bravery and renewal was everywhere. Sovereign. Towering over St Mark’s square, decorating pediments and palace doors, gracing mosaics and stone statues, her revered animal filled her with the strength to carry on. Venice marked the beginning of a new life. The treasures of Byzantine art she discovered in this city of contrasts that marks the boundary between East and West became a lasting source of inspiration for her style, in which the lion quite naturally found its rightful place. Because it seemed to have been there with her from the start, Gabrielle, an enlightened lover of fortuitous coincidences, saw the lion as much more than an emblem: it was her talisman. Bold, instinctive, solar, she cultivated the strong and independent character that likened her to the lion and surrounded herself with its benevolent presence.

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1936 - Gabrielle Chanel on Roussy Sert's yatch in front of the Lido of Venice (Photo V.H. Grandpierre © All Rights Reserved / Courtesy of Vogue Paris)

The lion became the guardian of her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon. Sculpted in marble, bronze or wood, set on a table or a mantle, watching over her cigarettes and scissors, the king of the animal kingdom protected the intimate space of Gabrielle Chanel. To keep it by her side, she also added it to her creations. Engraved on tweed suit buttons or the clasps of her bags, the lion would become a favorite subject and icon of CHANEL High Jewelry. Today, it is making a majestic foray into the world of CHANEL fragrances as the latest addition to the LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL collection.

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LE LION, Patrimony visual, Gabrielle Chanel's apartment, 31 rue Cambon, Paris CHANEL

The ultimate expression of CHANEL Parfumeur expertise, LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL constitute a realm of absolute freedom. Freedom of creation, first and foremost, since each fragrance inspired by the heritage of the House and the singular style of Gabrielle Chanel is the culmination of a powerful idea. A bold statement that cannot be strayed from its original path, save by the perfumer’s own demands. Next, freedom of raw materials, since the selection of the palette that composes these eaux de parfum is bound by no constraints. Absolutes or essences, natural or synthetic, from Grasse, India or Haiti: only the finest are retained to stir the emotions of their scents. Last but not least, freedom to align the esthetic quality with the olfactory experience they propose. Housed in an understated monolith of transparent glass, topped with a magnetized black cap marked with the iconic double C, LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL have opted for a sleek, sober look that cuts to the essentials: the fragrance. Composed in the past by Ernest Beaux, Mademoiselle’s perfumer, followed by Jacques Polge and now Olivier Polge, LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL uphold the legacy of this freedom. It is the secret and yet obvious ingredient that renders them truly inimitable and perfectly timeless.

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“I was much more interested in the emblematic CHANEL lion than the animal.” Olivier Polge, Perfumer-Creator for the House of CHANEL

Olivier Polge did not devote his new creation to the animal, but the vision that CHANEL cultivates of it. Wild and majestic, Gabrielle Chanel’s totem animal is the symbol of a power that chooses to protect rather than dominate and the emblem of absolute elegance. Fueled by the many faces of the lion in the world of CHANEL, Olivier Polge endeavored to transpose this radiant strength of character incarnated by the lion in scent. This appropriation of the animal by the House gave him the idea to leave his own mark on a powerful archetype: oriental fragrances. Taming the codes of this olfactory family, he imagined a trail with a refined intensity, contained by a soft and warm signature. A sophisticated composition with a force that rises to the surface without ever overflowing. A lion that does not need to roar to command respect. A resolutely elegant oriental.

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Naturally, a few sparkling citrus notes — lemon, bergamot — bring the essential burst befitting to the first moments of a great fragrance. Only a few seconds are needed for the shimmering gold fragrance to unfurl the warmth of its oriental imprint. An ambery accord tamed by the perfumer-creator’s skill and faceted like the thousand-and-one faces of the lion in the world of CHANEL. Its heart of cistus labdanum, a lively resin with animal notes, is tamed with a custom-crafted essence. Smoothed of its rough edges, it concentrates the ambery, velvety effects that gradually verge on leather, while an infusion of vanilla from Madagascar exalts the quintessential ingredient of oriental fragrances. Cistus labdanum and vanilla intertwine in a smooth and enveloping pas de deux, blending together into a deep trail that lingers on the skin. Sensual and creamy sandalwood tempers the musky vegetality of a raw patchouli. Endowed with a restraint that is the privilege of true power, this oriental radiates a confident and pronounced elegance. Majestic and solar olfactory finery.

Available in only 1 boutique in Riga and 1 boutique in Vilnius starting from January 15th



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