Balenciaga has unveiled their new highly-anticipated scent, ‘Florabotanica’. Florabotanica is the third fragrance for the fashion house, following on from ‘Balenciaga Paris’ and L’Essence’. The exhilarating fragrance includes a vetiver, amber and caladium-leaf accord, that is balanced by a (hybrid) rose, carnation and mint accord. The campaign stars Twilight actress Kristen Stewart wearing a structured floral-print dress from Nicolas Ghesquière’s spring/summer 2008 collection for the label and strikes the perfect balance between masculine and feminine—this duality is also beautifully captured by the new scent. We had the chance to chat with Balenciaga’s Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière about the inspiration for the fragrance and why Kristen Stewart captures the essence of the scent.
Florabotanica by Balenciaga is available now at Holt Renfrew.
HR:Why did you decide to go back to 2008 and translate the 3D floral pattern from your spring 2008 collection into a scent?
Ghesquière: That collection from Spring/Summer 2008 was a big inspiration for the project. We refer to the collection as the flower collection because most of the dresses were floral but not in a naive and romantic way, they were floral in a modern architectural way. I think it’s also what this fragrance is expressing, so that’s why we chose this environment and the flower.
HR: The name Florabotanica incorporates both the worlds of science and nature, how does this represent the fragrance?
Ghesquière: Well I always like to mix classical elements, like the flowers, with something very architectural, like the test tube. Adding the Balenciaga touch to something more classical and natural in a way that is quite edgy and not naive. There is always that aspect with Balenciaga. Something cooler mixed with something more classical. I think this perfectly represents Florabotanica.
HR: You worked with perfumers Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Hérault to create the scent, can you describe the process for us.
Ghesquière: It’s always very interesting. Somehow you can be more abstract than when you start to work on clothes or accessories. You can use words and from there the perfumers bring their point of view and interpretation through smells. This starts a back and forth and it helps you understand exactly what you want.
HR: How do you describe the Florabotanica juice? How does it differ/complement Balenciaga Paris and L’essence by Balenciaga?
Ghesquière: For Florabotanica, I wanted a floral scent, something very natural. The first two fragrances were more about the House and about her classical history. Balenciaga Paris and L’Essence were talking about how with Le Dix, for example, Balenciaga has a huge past in perfume. Florabotancia is very floral and has a hint of something stronger and masculine. It’s very feminine, but it has a hint of masculinity, and I like that. It’s what makes it so special.
HR: As the third Balenciaga fragrance, why is now the right time to launch Florabotanica?
Ghesquière: Balenciaga Paris and L’Essence are about the House and her history, the timeless and classic side of Balenciaga. This new fragrance is more about Balenciaga today and is more connected to the modernity of the brand. As Balenciaga is the balance between those two aspects, it was important to quickly bring this contemporary aspect of the House today.
HR:What is your first fragrance memory?
Ghesquière: Urban scents such as rain on stones and metal.
HR: The campaign was shot by Steven Meisel and stars Twilight actress Kristen Stewart, why was she chosen to be the face of the fragrance?
Ghesquière: For me, Kristen Stewart has a very unique personality. I had this special project due for a magazine and I asked her to be a part of that story. That’s how we met. The moment I met her I thought she was so Balenciaga and she had such an interesting personality and a great beauty. I began wishing for her to be part of my story so I kept that in mind, and when we started working on this project, I knew it had to be her.
HR: Has the process of developing a scent influenced your fashion and accessory collections?
Ghesquière: In fact the creative process was during my work on the Fall/Winter 2011 collection, in which I created dresses with the same kind of prints as there is on the packaging and the campaign images.
HR: How does this fragrance complement your Fall 2012 collection?
Ghesquière: It’s bringing a floral smell to a city working girl.