An avalanche of heads-up involving upcoming launches from major houses such as Chanel (Beige) and Hermès (Vanille Galante) were piling up and today Guerlain news join them.
We do cherish the opportunity to ponder on rumours in any case.
According to the very perceptive Kopah from Basenotes:
"It seems that the name of the next instalment in the L'Art et la Matière series may be Bois Torride. Guerlain filed an application for a European Community trademark for this name on June 4, 2008. (For the record, their applications for the names of the Elixirs Charnels/Carnal Elixirs were filed on April 28.) They have also recently filed applications for the script logo which appears above their shop at 68, Champs-Elysées, and for the phrase Guerlain, Une Ville, Un Parfum".Since the same happened when we were speculating what the newest Serge Lutens would be (and it did prove to be Serge Noire and how lovely that one is!) , it would be safe to predict that in a few months' time, we could be graced with more news about the newest Guerlain launch: Bois Torride (torrid wood). Might it be too presumptuous to hypothesize that it would not be the torrid, fiery, fierce composition that its name would suggest? There seems to be some sort of betrayal between name and concept in the L'Art et la Matière line especially: Rose isn't very Barbare, Cuir Beluga is only marginally reminiscent of suede, Angelique is not nearly Noire, Iris Ganache is rather gourmand but not very iris-like and Cruel Gardénia is neither cruel, nor gardenia despite its big appeal (leaving only Bois d'Armenie in the line smelling faithfully like the French curiosity "Papier d'Armenie").
In fact it seems to me that this playful interaction between expectations on part of the customer and finished result is at the core of the line. It just can't be random! And if so it shows a wry sense of humour for which we smirk ourselves.
This could also shed light into the relation between Thierry Wasser and the latest masculine Guerlain Homme: official info wanted Wasser to be the house's head perfumer beginning June 2008. Since Guerlain Homme was issued last July and since Wasser was -predictably- amicably seen photographed with Jean Paul Guerlain, with whom he collaborated on the fragrance, it stands to reason that Wasser can't have been highly involved in its conceptualisation (of which Sylvaine Delacourte must be much more responsible being creative director) or execution. On the contrary it seems that he must have been intent on the projects that follow soon: the three Carnal Elixirs of course and the upcoming Bois Torride. It does seem like too much projects in so many months, nevertheless.
I am also reminding you that "torride" was previously linked to Givenchy (Eau Torride) with lukewarm results, so I am hoping that Guerlain will have cards up their sleeve. The gender of the fragrance might also be grounds for speculation, since although woody fragrances are traditionally masculine, they might put a spin and present it as a unisex in the manner of the other niche/exclusives circulating at the Boutique Guerlain. After all, most of us perfume lovers are uninihibited enough to wear what we like regardless of artificial cliches pertaining to gender.
We will find out around December 2009, if my calculations prove to be accurate.
On the other hand, the name Guerlain, Une Ville, Un Parfum sounds like a commemorative, special edition that should mark an anniversary or iconic landmark of the historical house's path to glory. I also see the bling factor of serious Baccarat packaging engraved with special touches that will ante up the price to stratosperical heights: A prospect that sheds a frisson of excitement through a collector's bloodstream and a trembling rattle into the wallet of many a Guerlain fan.
Alternatively it could just be an evocation of Paris in the way that Comme des Garcons has been inspired by characteristic places for their Incense Series. This time Paris being the place of inspiration, it can't fail but to bring to mind the cornucopia of scents we have come to expect from such a place and the grand tradition of French perfumery which Guerlain indeed evokes. This has the potential to be either heavenly or a complete and utter letdown given the tremendous magnitude of its mythos, so I am hoping that Thierry Wasser and Sylvaine Delacourt will be extra-attentive in how they go about it.
In any case, Guerlain has been harnessing the market in many inventive and marketing-perceptive ways lately and I am curious and excited to see what they will accomplish with these. We will report back with more as actual data unfolds in the following months.
Le Baiser du Hotel de Ville, 1950 Paris by Robert Doisneau courtesy of Amazon. Pic of Guerlain boutique, Paris, via the Perfume Bee.