Inspiration hits Jacques Cavallier Belletrud and Alex Israel over a Beverly Hills brunch, leading to another collaboration inspired by the City of Angels.
One morning last year, Jacques Cavallier Belletrud met up with the artist Alex Israel at the Beverly Hills Hotel for brunch. The pair was fresh from introducing their collaboration City of Dreams to the world in a glitzy party with the Hollywood sign as a backdrop.
“We were drinking a detox juice and discussing about creation and inspiration in general, as well as the wellness culture in Los Angeles,” Belletrud, a master perfumer for the French fashion house, says. “The atmosphere was incredible: we were in a sunbathed patio, surrounded by small trees and plants. The juice was simple and energizing: a blend of fresh carrot juice, ginger, and squeezed orange.”
This whole scene gave the nose the idea to create what he calls a wellness fragrance. “I was inspired by the vitamin-packed juice and said to Alex, ‘I’m going to create a detox cologne!’ I tried to transcribe, through emotion, the well-being effects of that fruity blend,” he says. The result, called Pacific Chill, which Belletrud describes as a “cocktail of wellness and energy!” It is the fifth member of the Louis Vuitton Perfume Cologne collection, which the brand says is “inspired by the dramatic landscape, light, and extravagant beauty of America’s Pacific Coast.”
The line, which also includes California Dream, Afternoon Swim, On The Beach, and the aforementioned City of Stars, offers different facets of the same ode to LA. “Pacific Chill has a fruity peach facet, delicate and elegant at the same time,” says Belletrud. “The fragrance has a unique signature with green, aromatic notes. The other Colognes Perfumes offer a different signature: ambery as Afternoon Swim, musky as California Dream or woody as City of Stars.”
Israel, who has collaborated with the likes of Keanu Reeves and Bret Easton Ellis and has shown everywhere from the Whitney Museum to the MoMA, was tasked to create paintings to go along with each of the fragrances in the collection. He has built a reputation for being continually inspired by the city where he was born and raised. In contrast to City of Star’s dusky setting, Pacific Chill features a bright, hilly terrain that overlooks a great blue beyond, a perspective that the 40-year-old multimedia artist is quite familiar with. “The green and blue gradient is resourced directly from the landscape which I associate most intuitively with the scent: it’s the green of the hillsides and the blue of the sea and sky along the Southern California Coast in the morning. It’s where I love to hike,” says the Sunset Boulevard native.
Among the elements that Pacific Chill highlights is blackcurrant, which Jacques thinks has an interesting temperament. “It’s vibrant, fruity, almost like a raspberry but lighter, and it’s also a concentrate of leaves held aloft by notes of cedrat and lemon,” he says. “Blackcurrant’s character is fickle, which I amplified with a blend of coriander and ambrette seeds, basil, peppermint and orange essence. Hence the lightning start, like the sensation of foliage brushing against the skin.”
From the carrot seed, Belletrud extracted an essence that was developed in Grasse, the unofficial fragrance capital of the world. “That essence of carrot tempers the impact of the blackcurrant’s green tones, which are as frontal as a painting by Gauguin. The carrot has an iridescence, with creamy, velvety accents of apricot, date and fig. It brings a lot of depth; it lends structure. A hint of May Rose offers floral sweetness and seals the alliance,” he elaborates.
This intoxicating “detox” is a reflection of Belletrud’s tendency for atypical combinations. “I used ingredients that are not very often associated. Carrot has a velvety, silky, and apricot effect that contrasts a lot with the vivid blackcurrant notes that will break the sweetness and unveil it in a more solid way,” he says.
It’s a reflection of his opinion of the Golden State and the general desire of its inhabitants for earthy and organic. “For me, California is a detox! It refers to natural products, simple things that are good for emotions and sensations. Los Angeles is like a second home for me and, what I particularly love there, is the simplicity,” he says. “I find fascinating the contrast between an ancestral way of life, tuned into nature and the way to reconnect with oneself, and the future-oriented humanity.”