LA COLLECTION DES ESSENCES
Roll over the No. to reveal each essence
Experience a flash visit of The Fragrance Suite - a private universe inside ELIE SAAB's Parisian headquarters surrounding L'Eau Couture, the latest ELIE SAAB scent that is a ray of light infused with fresh, feminine modernity, and the sophistication of couture creations.
An exodus has taken place in the city of light as chic Parisians decamp to the Cote d'Azur, Ibiza and Mykonos, while - apparently - the best restaurants, shops and galleries shut down for the month of August. It's the best time to visit - the tree-lined boulevards are empty and the Jardins des Tuileries feels like a private garden! We reveal the addresses that are still open for the perfect vingt-quatre heures à Paris.
9am - Hotel Plaza Athenee
Be one of the first through the Plaza's revolving doors after its dazzling refurbishment (it reopened August 1) and graze over a leisurely breakfast. After the lightest croissants made by the award-winning pastry chefs, be sure to take a double espresso - you'll need your energy for browsing the luxury boutiques nearby, including the ELIE SAAB flagship boutique, just a short stroll down Avenue Montaigne.
11.30am - Palais Galleria
Take a lesson in the power of the nipped-in waist, petticoats and pedal pushers in The 50s: Fashion in France, 1947-1957, the must-see exhibition at Paris' recently reopened fashion museum.
1pm - Pique-nique
Do as Paris' leading chefs do and buy freshly made bread, organic vegetables, the finest cheeses and an array of exotic dips and snacks at the famous Marché Avenue President Wilson. It takes place right behind the Palais Galleria - once you've filled your wicker basket (you can buy that here too), head back to the museum's pretty jardin for a picnic at the Palais.
3pm - Palais de Tokyo
Discover that the work of artist Hiroshi Sugimoto goes far beyond his signature “seascape” photographs in his « Lost Human Genetic Archive » exhibition at cutting edge art space Palais de Tokyo.
6pm - Saint James Paris
For a sophisticated apero, head to the pop-up rosé bar in the charming garden of the Saint James, a hotel-cum-private club. Sommelier Micaël Morais has selected two of the best rosés of the season, which can be sipped while sitting under decadently decorated tents - magical!
8.30pm - Dinner With a View
Few restaurants offer a more Parisian experience than the Mini Palais, the fashionable eatery located within the Grand Palais - ask for a table on the oh-so-grand terrace with soaring imperial columns. Or try to get a table at L'Oiseau Blanc, the rooftop restaurant at the just-opened Peninsula Hotel that offers 360-degree views of Paris.
10.30pm - The Summer Terrace at the Shangri-La
How else to end a day in Paris but with a nightcap with a view of the Eiffel Tower? Cocktails come courtesy of Belvedere at the Shangri-La Hotel's seasonal terrace bar. Remember: the tower shimmers with light in a spectacular show that takes place on the hour, every hour, until 2am.
In a series highlighting the subtleties, seduction and symbolism of each essence within ELIE SAAB Le Parfum, The Light of Now illuminates jasmine - the sweet, floral note gravitating around orange blossom in a bouquet of radiant femininity.
Jasmine flowers exude the most exquisite perfume at dawn. It is precisely at this moment when it must be cultivated, with its white petals of such delicacy that they must be gathered by hand.
No less than eight million handpicked jasmine flowers go into one kilogram of jasmine's precious, fragrant oil. And it is an aroma of legends. The Hindus called jasmine the ‘Mistress of the Night' for its captivating early morning scent. In the Orient, jasmine flowers remain a perennial symbol of feminine beauty representing modesty, sensuality and attachment.
Many consider jasmine to be an aphrodisiac for its evocative scent. French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian explains the origin of this nearly addictive appeal: “Jasmine is one of the great and fundamental flowers in perfumery. There are three descriptions for jasmine: floral, fruity and animalistic. The ‘animal' part is cresol, a molecule that gives it a twist, enhancing the floral part, in fact. It is an essential part of the codes of sensuality in perfumery.”
With around 200 species of jasmine, only two are used in perfumery, with the variety used in ELIE SAAB Le Parfum a particularly sumptuous absolute of jasmine, sourced from Egypt. To the perfume's heart notes of orange blossom and cedar, jasmine adds sophistication and a certain narrative - one of femininity illuminated like the morning dawn.
Like sunlight refracted on water as a background to easy poolside lounging, the musical reflections crafting this season’s modernized summer jams include the Buena Vista Social Club revisited by Chan Chan (Vijay & Sofia Zlatko Edit) and the season’s hottest teaser, ‘Hunger of the Pine’ from the promising new Alt-J album. Meanwhile, Joe Goddard with ‘Other’ doesn’t disappoint with his melodic skills. Relax into summer, remixed.
It’s just after Haute Couture week in Paris, and an easy sense of summer begins to set in. South American music plays in the background at Ferdi, the bar and restaurant just off rue Saint-Honoré, owned by the sister of Maria Luisa Poumaillou. The order: two ‘piscines’, the perfectly Parisian summer drink of rosé with ice cubes. The meeting: two cosmopolites, Maria Luisa, legendary fashion entrepreneur, and Mauro Grimaldi, Vice President of ELIE SAAB.
Of Venezuelan origin yet living in Paris since she was seven, Maria Luisa is as Parisian as they come, a true insider force in French fashion. Ever since launching her multi-brand boutique on Rue Cambon in 1998, she remains at the crest of the new and the next with her sharp eye for talent, taste and style. She has launched the career of many designers, taking them on before anyone else, envisioning their potential before the fashion consensus. She is Fashion Editor of the Printemps Haussmann department store, where her famed eponymous boutique can be found on the second floor, which joins other growing ventures such as the launch of her own brand in the Asian market.
The Light of Now catches up with Maria Luisa and Mauro on the occasion of their crossing paths in the fashion capital, as they chat about the spirit of Paris, the season’s collections, a dash of the past and a splash of industry gossip.
Mauro: A certain Parisian style, chic and cosmopolitan, is often represented by Parisians-by-adoption. I’m thinking of writers, couturiers, galerists and notably you.
Maria Luisa: Paris is largely made up of people who are not Parisian by origin. Always. It’s a dream for a foreigner. It’s the summit of elegance. The summit of a certain art de vivre, undeniably. The only city with this type of natural elegance is Paris.
I think Paris serves as a cultural haven. It has always welcomed foreigners who would like to show their work here. France is in love, in some way, with talent. Its part of liberty, equality, fraternity – and talent. They adore it. I think France has a greater, faster recognition for talent than anywhere else in the world. Paris is also the most luxurious city in the world by all that it refuses, and by the manner in which we can live and express ourselves here.
Mauro: Can you tell us a story about your Paris?
Maria Luisa: As a child, I saw all the Haute Couture defilés of Yves Saint Laurent. There isn’t one that I missed, basically. My mother was an haute couture client and, at the time, everyone asked for their places at certain times…mother always chose the days when we didn’t have class, so Wednesday afternoons. My mother thought that it was part of one’s education, and she wasn’t wrong, it helped me a lot more than my studies!
Mauro: So she built your career during these afternoons.
Maria Luisa: She made a career for me without me knowing it. Me, in my uniform. In this way, I saw all the defilés. Outside of one or two pieces, each model was made for a woman that the designer had in mind, a woman that he knew would wear it.
Mauro: And, the recent collections?
Maria Luisa: I was impressed by the realism of the ELIE SAAB defilé. I had the impression of seeing 50 clients walk down the catwalk. It’s reality - that’s the base of your profession. ELIE SAAB gives us a gift with his ready-to-wear, as a piece of exactingness for everyday life. I remain persuaded that if you take any of the 50 dresses, you wear it to a soirée, and it will be the most beautiful dress there. Without a doubt, the prettiest dress. It will be the most flattering, which is really at the service of women who want a dream-like moment, a moment when she feels sublime.
Mauro: Elie always thinks of the woman who will wear his dresses.
Maria Luisa: On top of that he has a very nice hand. I think the extraordinary quality that Elie has is his sense of color. He is a magnificent colorist. Especially the most beautiful nude colors are his.
Mauro: When we ask Elie why he is driven, from such a young age, to do what he does, he always says that he likes to think that a woman who enters his studio leaves even more beautiful.
Maria Luisa: In a similar sense, I always thought that a woman who entered into my boutique, if we captured her interest – and many have stayed faithful for a very long time –it’s because when they left chez moi, they left even more beautiful than when they came in.
To view the latest ELIE SAAB selections by Maria Luisa visit the Maria Luisa boutique at Printemps: www.marialuisa.fr/paris-printemps-haussmann
Discover the sounds behind the ELIE SAAB Autumn Winter 2014-2015 haute couture collection, ‘Palais des Lumières’. Moments and impressions are captured backstage – where beauty is harmonized in a spirit of calm anticipation around the orchestration of Haute Couture creations.
From the grandeur of a Parisian interior to the intimacy of a finely embroidered décolleté, a dream-like 'Palais des Lumières’ inspires the ELIE SAAB Autumn Winter 2014-2015 haute couture collection. Reflections of faceted crystal play with light, as an echo to the intricate embellishment and lustrous surface of pearls, in a kaleidoscope of illuminated delicacy.
Watch the video of the Haute Couture Autumn Winter 2014-2015 Collection exclusively on The Light of Now.