Nicolas Ghesquière is one of the fashion flock’s great innovators, but his collections almost always carry a whiff of nostalgia. Fittingly, his first fragrance for Balenciaga also demonstrates his particular knack for keeping a respectful eye on the past while forging a path to the future. With inspirations that range from the traditional (violet chypre, patchouli, cedar and carnations) to the more unusual (floor wax and gasoline), the resulting scent is ultimately modern enough for the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, his muse and the face of the ad campaign. “It has a sexy presence that’s not at all about romanticism,” he says. “It’s more urban — a little sharp, even a little tough.” Text by Sandra Ballentine.
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