Interview

Dear Rose Collection

The mother and daughter duo fructify their experiences in a new story.

Chantal Roos, the mind and exceptional talent behind some of Yves Saint Laurent’s great classics, Opium, Jazz, Kouros, and of course, Paris, is a renowned expert and strategic advisor in the perfume industry. Her daughter, Alexandra, is a dedicated musician and artist whose strengths and passions align in a fiercely independent world of creative composition.

Together, the mother and daughter duo fructify their experiences in a new story.

“Dear Rose…”

(it begins)

is a flower-inspired collaboration of storytelling, in the form of intoxicating and distinct perfumes. Beginning with a mother and daughter whose unique experiences and inspirations cradle the foundations of womanhood like rose vines on a home, each petal, leaf, and thorn of experience, translates into a gorgeous set of fragrances dedicated to women and the different facets in a woman’s life.

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in-text

CHANTAL ROOS & ALEXANDRA ROOS
YOUR BUSINESS
Inspiration for starting a business

ALEXANDRA : It just happened like that… without really thinking about it; there was no premeditation. I have loved perfume since I was young, so obviously it was predestined. At a time when I was questioning myself, my life, and my relationship with music, I joined my mother on her journey, and then it just happened. I suggested to her that we create our own brand, and here we are!

How to be an effective leader

CHANTAL : You have to be good at what you do and you have to love what you do. This you will discover after few years. Second, always search for excellence. “Good ” is not enough. Do not be complacent with yourself. Do not forget that your team looks to you and that they need a leader. Pass along your convictions, transmit your passion and your knowledge, always explain “why,” and work, work, work!

How to stay creative

ALEXANDRA : Creativity is a state of mind; it’s about being curious. I have always been creative, and in every field I try to create something of my own, whether in music, cooking, fashion, decoration. The great thing about creating is that you can practice anytime, with any material.

CHANTAL : To be creative you must be curious. You must look around, watch, observe, go out, and explore what lies beyond the business you are in. Be curious about art, music, fashion, home decoration, politics, people. Perfumes are a part of this world, so figure out what’s going on in it.

Be inspired, ask yourself why women and men dress like they do, want to hear different music, make certain decisions. After you ask “why this and why that,” go back to your own world. Be a “sponge” but do not do what others have already done. Listen to your own intuition. Dare.

YOUR HOME

CHANTAL : I live in a large apartment with sliding windows and a balcony with lots of flowers. It’s important for me to have clear rooms and a lovely balcony. The house features mostly modern furniture, mixed with one or two classic pieces. A large table in the dining room allows me to invite friends and family over (I have three grandchildren).

I also love paintings, contemporary ones, so they decorate my walls. Finally, I have a gym room, so I usually exercise three times a week with a coach. Sports and exercise have always been important to me, as they always make me feel better and have helped me stay fit year after year.

What you love most in Paris

CHANTAL : I love the city itself. It has a fabulous history, it’s beautiful, and each district has its own personality with its own style, shops, restaurants, and even people. For example, l’ Île de la Cité or Île Saint Louis existed in the 17th century when the first town planning started!

You can also walk throughout different places the city, like the gardens, and enjoy something different. Paris is simultaneously a city with small, sentimental streets, churches, and hotels that also features huge, impressive places like Place de la Concorde, les Champs Elysées, and The Eiffel Tower.

Favorite café

ALEXANDRA : I live right by the Café de Flore in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and I love having a coffee there, day or night. There is always a different atmosphere.

Your perfect day outfit

ALEXANDRA : I dress the same most of the time: boots, a pair a jeans, a shirt, and earrings of course. Sometimes, I fancy myself Marilyn Monroe, and I wear a “fatal” dress with high heels, but very rarely.

Go-to lunch places

CHANTAL : There are many. When I work, I rendezvous in restaurants where the food is healthy and rather quickly served. I also like to be nicely welcomed (believe me, in Paris it is not always the case), into a nice, cozy atmosphere. Here are some good options:

L’ Absinthe, located at 24 Place du marché Saint Honoré, is a bistrot that has all these qualities. Le Marly is a unique and iconic brasserie that has the most beautiful view of inside the Louvre yard. Yen, located at 22 Rue Saint Benoît, is my favorite Japanese restaurant, and happens to be in a really interesting district. Flora Danica, located at 142 Av. des Champs-Élysées, has the best salmon and the nicest waiters! Not to mention the restaurant is a very convenient and central place to meet.

Night on the town

ALEXANDRA : At home, I am lucky to have a house with a garden, and it is the best place to be for sure!

Evening relaxation

ALEXANDRA : I drink a glass of red wine at home.

YOUR BEAUTY
Must-have products

ALEXANDRA : I change often. At The moment I am trying Perris Monte Carlo products, which are great. A friend of ours is the owner of the brand. I like to try new things. As for makeup, I use Nars and the 8-hours cream-tinted lip balm. I don’t really use a lot of makeup, but I might have 6 lipsticks in my bag! My perfume of the moment is “Comme Une Fleur,” our new fragrance; it is a delicious patchouli and neroli bend.

CHANTAL : Since 2010, I have been addicted to Herve Herau, who is all of a chemist, therapist, biologist, and magician in one. He treats my skin in his institute on Avenue Montaigne, and I buy his products at Colette. In the morning, I use his Extra Rich crème-gel. At night, I use La Pommade, which features a unique recipe that soothes, moisturizes, and normalizes the skin.

I wear very little make up. This has always been the case, even when I was in charge of YSL Beauty. For as long as I can remember, I have only used the Guerlain Terracotta bronzing powder (color N° 0), and the YSL Effet Faux Cils mascara, which was created on my special request to make my eyelashes look thick. It does!

I do not have a favorite fragrance. I love (almost) every one we create, and after each one is launched, I am already thinking of “what’s next.”

Morning beauty routine

CHANTAL : I start with a large glass of hot water with half a lemon, turmeric powder, and a small spoon of honey! I then eat my breakfast, my favorite meal, which includes tea, two or three fruits, cereals, soy yogurt, nuts, and almonds. If I am not going to an airport, I eat it in bed while looking at the morning news! Only after that do I consider going to the bathroom for a long shower.

YOUR CAREER
How music and fragrance work together

ALEXANDRA : They work well, actually! I am working on a new album at the moment, it is has taken a while as I am trying to run a business at the same time, but it is exciting. I will never give up music.

Mother and daughter team

ALEXANDRA : It is very positive, even though it is well known that working with your mother isn’t always easy. Most importantly, we have confidence in and love for one another; the rest is of trifling importance.

Your career at Yves Saint Laurent

CHANTAL : I really started my career at Yves Saint Laurent. At that time, Charles of the Ritz owned the company. Monsieur Saint Laurent was my first fashion designer. He was so easy to work with, so nice, so respectful, so willing to listen to my ideas. He always thought of the names for the perfumes, and would add that subtle detail that changed everything, like the tassel for “Opium.” He was interested in the entire process: the advertising, choosing a model, selecting a photographer, designing a dress.

My job was fabulous. I was working directly with Monsieur Saint Laurent, so nobody else in the company would dare say anything. I was also reporting to a bright American boss who was smart enough to let us work since we were doing so well. Americans are easy to work with!

I remember when I asked Yves Saint Laurent for a name for what was at that time just an oriental perfume, and he answered “Do you think we could call it Opium?” I replied, “Of course,” before realizing that it was just the beginning of a long battle. We first had to convince the Pharmaceutical group who owned Charles of the Ritz, then the U.S. authorities, of the name (this took so long we had to launch in the U.S. one year after we did in Europe). It didn’t go over well in Saudi Arabia or China. For some countries, we had to openly declare that we were not trying to reproduce the smell of the drug Opium. Imagine what that was like, traveling with my mock-ups and going through customs with “Opium” in tow.

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THE FRAGRANCES

In A Cappella, one of the collection’s best-sellers, you’ll inhale the smell of a newly opened rose bud, refreshed with bergamot. Then, the sweet zest of mandarin, crackling ivy, a hint of violet softness, and a luminous white wood entertain make for a beautiful composition comparable to laughter in a warm, linen-draped bed.

In Bloody Rose, you are undeniably sensual, dangerous, and resolute in all aspects of life and love. Resting on a base of praline patchouli, the true gourmand of this floral blend of orange blossom and ylang-ylang makes this “rose” as wild as she is elusive. Wherever she goes, she always leaves a trace.

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The Dear Rose: Song Collection, inhabits a special place of discovery and deviation through truly musical notes in combination with intense sillage.

In Song for a Queen, you are a radiant island all your own. Notes of opulent bergamot and jasmine open onto a floral heart combining heliotrope and orange blossom which dance tenderly, dangerously, with the animality of osmanthus. Black vanilla, benzoin, cashmere wood and white musks illuminate the base.

In White Song, you are a lady of the night, enraptured by a youthful fervor for the wonders of life. Ginger flower and almond blossom linger in the opening and rest on white amber and spices, a combination which reveal the addictive personality of this warm and floral signature.

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Working closely with Fabrice Pellegrin to create the symphonically-structured potions, Chantal and Alexandra compose each bouquet to tell a story, each a tale which unfurls like the petals on a rose to describe the feminine experience.

Each fragrance creates both a timeless and entirely unique experience for the wearer, weaving together femininity, family, and music to create a special union.

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Taylor Johnson

Taylor is a recent honors graduate of Rhode Island School of Design’s Painting and Art History Department. A dual-citizen in Belgium and the U.S. with frequent wanderlust, a passion for editorial, and an affinity for sketching, she is now exploring the connection between art and beauty.

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