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Now here’s a perfume by Van Cleef & Arpels that says ‘all rise’ when you enter a room

Rêve d’Ylang
You know that perfume that becomes one with your skin? The one that practically says 'all rise' when you enter a room? And the one that wafts for days? Yep, Rêve d’Ylang by Van Cleef & Arpels is that fragrance. We speak with Perfumer, Fabrice Pellegrin about the spicy storytelling of Ylang Ylang...

Can you tell us about the fragrance?

Ylang Ylang offers a complex scent which immediately evokes the mysterious character of the perfume and the magic of the southern hemisphere. As a perfumer, the flower is already a composition. I wanted to create an addictive floral nectar, with a lot of character and mystery, revealing a rich and radiant sensuality. The sublime Ylang Ylang is adorned with a bouquet of oriental spices, around fresh cardamom, noble saffron and balmy vanilla. And it’s facetted by a bewitching infusion of rose and ultra sensual patchouli undertones to design a luxurious oriental spicy floral signature.

Where did you find inspiration for the perfume?

Ylang Ylang is the flower of life in Comoros Islands where it is grown. The flower is a true invitation to travel. It offers a complex and fascinating scent, both solar and generous, spicy and opulent, which immediately reminds me of the magic of its exotic lands of origin.

What would you say are the core traits of Rêve d’Ylang?

Character, mystery, sensuality.

With the growth of niche fragrances, it seems Rêve d’Ylang needs to have a story?

Rêve d’Ylang is far from the usual white floral fragrances that flood the niche and the prestige markets. It offers something different with a true olfactive parti-pris and a rare storytelling around Ylang Ylang.

What’s your first scent memory?

It’s a very real memory, straight from my childhood, when I would go rose-picking in the fields with my grandmother. They were unforgettable moments. There were lots of Italian pickers who all came to Grasse from the same village. They would meet up there and talk about everything. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly.

Can you tell us more about the creative process?

Once I found the overall fragrance structure which was right from the beginning an oriental around Ylang Ylang, the main challenge was to give modernity and breath to the flower. I played with spices to bring contrast and texture, with the effervescence of cardamom and the leathery touch of saffron. I played with light and blooming effects to illuminate the flower. And more generally it was a real pleasure to work again with the Van Cleef & Arpels teams for whom I’ve already created Bois Doré, Rêve d’Encens and Rêve de Cashmere in the Collection Extraordinaire.

Why did you choose to focus on Ylang-ylang ?

As a specialist in natural ingredients at Firmenich, I praise the work of the farmers behind our precious raw materials. Ylang essential oil is produced in one of the poorest country’s of the world with a lot of challenges: many intermediaries in the supply chain entail low women empowerment, low pickers revenues, not adapted agricultural and distillation practices which leads to a decrease in product quality and deforestation issues linked to bad distillation equipment are also rife. The essence of Ylang Ylang I’ve used in the fragrance is not only of high quality, it is also the fruit of a sustainable sourcing program, Firmenich, which has been implemented since 2014 to design responsible sourcing with a focus on deforestation and supply chain restructuration. That’s why I chose the flower as the masterpiece of the fragrance and I took the challenge to modernise it!

Now, find out how perfumer Francis Kurkdjian went against the grain for is latest Oud perfume.