Making his perfume bottle design debut, Frank Gehry and Louis Vuitton launched their Les Extrait Collection collaboration.
“I wanted to approach the project from a sculptural point of view. To bring something different to perfume” Gehry said. “It’s not a finished geometric form, it’s just movement. Visual movement with the added interest of ephemerality.”
Formulated without top, heart or base notes, the extracts are instead structured like olfactory columns. Gehry approached the reimagination of Louis Vuitton’s fragrance bottle and trunk with his own signature design for a resulting bottle with rounded, supple, airy forms. The vanity cases were crafted in Louis Vuitton ateliers in Asinières, just outside Paris.
“I wanted to venture where no one goes anymore. To reinvent the notion of an extrait in a contemporary way. To bring in light, expand matter and lighten things up,” master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud added. “I wanted to deconstruct the very architecture of perfume.”
Coming in five fragrances, Les Extrait Collection embodies Louis Vuitton’s established, celebrated spirit of travel. The extracts include Dancing Blossom (Jasmine sambac, May rose, osmanthus and Indian tuberose); Cosmic Cloud (Venezuelan Tonka bean, fruity musks, Patchouli, oak moss); Rhapsody (woody framework with vanilla notes); Symphony (ginger zest, grapefruit, musky) and Stellar Times (orange blossom, amber, Peru balsam).
“I am all for an excess of beauty. Perfume creates moments of delight, of intimate and shared pleasure,” Belletrud said. “Frank Gehry and I share the desire to create imbalance that might become balance, contrast and transversal lines between things that seem incompatible; there’s a desire to innovate without breaking with what has gone before.”
The collaboration is an extension of Gehry’s longtime partnership with the French maison. In the mid-aughts, LVMH head Bernard Arnault commissioned Gehry to design a contemporary art center and museum in Paris. The Foundation Louis Vuitton, notable for its sailing ship-like structure and greenhouse-type design, went on to open in 2014. His mission was to create a vessel that symbolizes the cultural calling of France. Similar to the perfume collection, his aim was to develop a building that would evolve with light and time to give the impression of something ephemeral and continually changing.