Le Jour Se Lève
“Have you forgotten what we were like then, when we were still first rate, and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth” – from ‘Animals’ by Frank O Hara.
Words JOHN WILLIAM
Photography ALASTAIR STRONG
When did you last stay up and watch the sun rise? Was it the last night on holiday, or one of those evenings when you are discovering a new best friend or gearing up to say “I love you” for the first time. When the ice has long melted, the candles burnt out and suddenly it’s a freshly damp new day. Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette captures it perfectly when after a night of gambling, cake eating and champagne guzzling the eighteen year old queen runs out into the gardens of Versailles to watch the sun rise over the lake, soundtracked by New Order’s ‘Ceremony’ and surrounded by the Orangerie that predates the building of the palace. A cork pops. Talk about Bucks Fizz.
It’s not oranges but mandarin that Louis Vuitton use to puncture the dawn with their newest perfume Le Jour Se Lève (which translates as “the day begins.”) “Mandarin is a marvellous citrus fruit because it’s possible to diffuse from it simultaneously the optimism of its flesh, the freshness of the zest and the floral aspect of the tree,” says Vuitton’s master perfumer Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud. Cavallier-Belletrud was born in Grasse, the son, grandson and great-grandson of perfumers. Once upon a time Grasse produced the best leather in Europe, but the smell of the tannery lingered putting off nobility. It wasn’t until Catherine de Medici (the 16th century Queen of France) was presented with a pair of scented gloves, that Grasse became knows as the world’s perfume capital. All eight of Cavallier-Belletrud’s perfumes for Louis Vuitton have been composed in the city, at Les Fontaines Parfumées, where a hundred years ago you could have your perfume bottle refilled at the source. This is the inspiration for Vuitton’s new approach to fragrance. Don’t dare chuck such a beautiful bottle in the bin; take it into a Vuitton store and have it refilled in a matter of seconds at one of the in-store “Perfume Fountains.”
“Comforting freshness, at once gentle and bracing; dewy and radiant.” It is a fleeting moment of optimism that Vuitton have managed to bottle with Le Jour Se Lève. Along with mandarin you get Jasmine Sambac used in green tea (a recurring note in Cavallier-Belletrud’s scents for the house,) magnolia, apricot-tinged osmanthus and blackcurrant. There is a morning mist draped over all of the ingredients like a silk robe. It might be a cliché but remember it is always darkest before the dawn, and what we all need right now is a spritz of hope.
“I remember one morning getting up at dawn. There was
such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling. And I…
I remember thinking to myself: So this is the beginning of happiness, this is where it starts. And of course there will always be more…never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment, right then.” From ‘The Hours’ by Michael Cunningham.