An American In Paris:
Sortir le Soir Perfume Launch
On July 4th, Independence Day (and the first day of the Haute Couture Fall 2011 shows), an American in Paris– c’est moi – launched her first fragrance at Quintessence, a small, charming candle boutique at 38, rue de l’Université.
The genesis of this launch is a charming story, involving a real confluence of events. During last year’s holiday season, I was invited to a party for the unveiling of an unusual candle designed by French artist, Claude Lalanne. I also noticed that Sandrine Pozzo di Borgo would be the party’s hostess, and the combination of names spoke to me. During the holidays, I get more invitations than I have time for, but this one definitely seemed worthwhile.
I went with my editorial director, Mark Grischke, and it turned out we both knew the event’s publicist, Alejandra Cicognani, who introduced us to Sandrine. We became fast friends and right away started planning the design of a Susan Tabak candle, to be made by Sandrine’s company, Quintessence Paris. But during last January’s Haute Couture shows, I met with Sandrine again, and learned that her family had been in the perfume business for years. Wouldn’t I rather make a perfume? she asked. I was completely wowed and said “yes” immediately–I’d always wanted to create my own fragrance. Et voilà, a mere six months later, Sortir le Soir was born.
As for when and where to debut the finished product, the answer, for me, was always obvious–I’m such a quintessential Francophile, the only place I could imagine launching a perfume would be during the Haute Couture in Paris. Which is how July 4, 2011, became a day I will simply never forget!
A huge crowd gathered in and around the shop–it was such a nice evening, many of the guests preferred to hang out on the street, chat (and smoke) and enjoy their champagne. It was definitely a “happening” event, and so cool, in a rive gauche, casually chic kind of way. Not to mention how the seductive combination of cocktails and perfume made the whole night feel rather sexy.
The crowd was a cool mix: Marcel Marongiu, designer for Guy Laroche (whose jumpsuit I wore); Jean-Gabriel Mitterand; Georgina Brandolini; shoe designers Burak Uyan and Nathalie Elharrar (the latter of LaRare); Laura Eastwood; designer Simon Azoulay; Women’s Wear Daily beauty editor Jennifer Weil; Giorgio Pace, of V Magazine; Michele and Larry Herbert (wonderful friends of mine from New York); Jim Goldstein; Betsy and Alon Kasha (a+b kasha); Jean-Paul Cauvin; FIT’s Couture Council founders, Sarah Wolfe and Yaz Hernandez; Vincent Chaillet (with the Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris); Didier Ludot; Claus Lindorff; Anne de Champigneul; and jewelry designer Lydia Courteille, just to name a few. The perfume is named Sortir le Soir –and that’s what I do!
Photographs by Stephane Israël