There are few invitations that a girl can receive in life that turn one into an instant Cinderella story. Getting asked to the Prom is the first. Someone asking you to marry them is another. Recently, I received one of my own. Deep red, leather-embossed with card stock in the middle, delivered in a red bag wrapped in tissue paper:
Breakfast at Cartier.
After I picked myself up off the floor (because, let’s face it, things like this don’t happen every day), I happily said yes and arrived for my first opportunity to have breakfast in the private conference room of the Cartier Mansion on New York’s famed Fifth Avenue to have a Skype conference with Mathilde Laurent, the company’s master perfumer, in order to discuss the launch of Cartier’s new fragrance collection, Heures de Parfum.
The perfume collection is numbered for the hours of a lifetime, not just those of a day. Inspired by Proust’s prose that an hour is not an hour but a time filled with sounds, perfume, climate, emotions, etc, the fragrances are numbered I to XIII, and the expertly-crafted formulas are said to highlight the spectrum of human emotions. Each displays its own unique color and identity in luxury glass bottles befitting their Cartier stamp of quality.The first five of the collection, available now, are:
I – L’HEURE PROMISE – the Hour of Promise, inspired by new beginnings, possibilities and the thoughts of angels and their protective halos of light. The notes are those of iris, sandalwood, herbs and musk. Laurent crafted the fragrance so that one would feel protected wearing it. I got chills smelling the scent.
VI – L’HEURE BRILLANTE – the Hour of Brilliance, which actually caused me to see stars when I inhaled the fragance (and in a good way). Meant to channel the energy of light, neon, stars. She created it so that the wearer felt as if they were surrounded with something effervescent and delightful, like dipping into a glass of champagne. Notes of this fragrance were citrusy, with lemon and gin notes.
V- L’HEURE FOLLE – the Hour of Folly, described as a time when nature cannot be tamed. Designed for the free spirit, of life not yet fully realized, the scent of unripened fruit about to burst is the best description. The scent is an homage to the House of Cartier’s relationship with the US and the roaring 20’s, when wealthy American women wore Cartier’s Tutti Frutti bracelets, a piece cut with gems that looked like fruits. Laurent described the fragrance evoking an urge to “bite into life.” Peppercorns and unripened berries are the jazzy notes in this perfume.
XII – L’HEURE MYSTÉRIEUSE – the Hour of Mystery, is described as “a private perfume.” Laurent’s description during the breakfast was that it’s “about the mystery inside of you, a private hour of life, an invitiation to secrecy.” A very intimate scent, it’s meant to be enjoyed as close to the skin as possible. Voluptuous incense, jasmine and sandalwood capture the mood.
XIII – LA TREIZIÈME HEURE is a personal labor of love for Laurent, who created a thirteenth hour in the “day” to create what Laurent described as the opportunity to unleash everything she had ever wanted to create in a fragrance. Perfume literally means “through smoke” and she attempted to capture the actual scent of smoke like her master perfumers before her. It draws on the scents of smoky teas, birchwood, leather and the most prominent notes is narcissus. Laurent described it as a scent associated with seduction, something “attractive you fall into.”
All of the Cartier fragrances are crafted from the finest ingredients and created with top, middle and base notes that evolve on the skin throughout the day. These are perfumes to last a lifetime and evolve with you as a woman (or man, they’re actually unisex to a large degree). Each perfume comes with a unique poem that describes the fragrance and they’re the perfect gift for yourself or for someone very, very special. You don’t have to have breakfast at Cartier to know that this fragrance collection, much like any item that comes from the storied luxury house, is an item that will last you a lifetime. Each 2.5 oz fragrance is available for $250 and is available at Cartier boutiques and Saks locations below:
Saks Fifth Avenue (which carries X exclusively)
FTC Full Disclosure: small sample of one fragrance received for review