Balenciaga Emphasizes Cruel Beauty
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Balenciaga’s latest, Florabotanica.

Developed by subjecting flowers to scientific experimentation, ultra-contemporary design wiz Nicolas Ghesquière will unveil this month the latest perfume creation by Basque-born brand Balenciaga.

Entitled Florabotanica, the scent was inspired by a collection of structured floral fashions Ghesquière designed some years ago. “The dresses were covered with flowers, but these flowers were neither charming nor romantic. They structured the whole silhouette,” he said. “I wanted the flowers in this perfume to express the same idea.”

The name Florabotanica also evokes the 18th century botanical gardens that displayed exotic, rare and strange-colored plants discovered in distant lands and recovered by experiment-hungry biologists, said Coty, which holds the Balenciaga fragrance license. (Balenciaga is now owned by the French multinational holding company PPR.)

“Flowers can be cruel, carnivorous or venomous and even contain poisons,” Ghesquière added. “This is the story that we wanted to tell with Florabotanica.”

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The Kristen Stewart-starring ad spread.

Composed by internationally-renowned noses Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Hérault of International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), the juice features two primary accords. Vetiver, amber and caladium leaf yield a mossy mélange, while rose, carnation and mint exhilarate with juvenile freshness. The secret rose note, dubbed experimental rose, originates from Turkey and has both romantic and dangerous aspects, Ghesquière added.

The fragrance will live in a bottle that Coty has likened to “a couture object”—accented with the graphic black and white stripes that were a signature design element of founder Cristóbal Balenciaga. An oversized tube with these bold lines plunges into the juice like a laboratory test tube looking to capture the essence of flowers, Coty said.

Twilight beauty Kristen Stewart will serve as Florabotanica’s muse, after meeting and captivating Ghesquière years ago. She will appear in ads for the fragrance this fall, selected for her rebellious femininity and uncontrollable beauty, Coty said.

Eaux de parfum in 1.0, 1.7 and 3.4 oz. sizes will retail for $65.00, $95.00 and $125.00. A body lotion and shower gel—each sized at 6.8 oz. and priced at $50.00—will also be available. The line launches exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus this month, and will roll out to additional specialty doors in October.

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