Lancome embraces new philosophy in a bottle

French beauty brand Lancome proposes a new philosophy of life, "less, but better", which is the message bottled in its latest fragrance, La Vie est Belle (Life Is Beautiful).

Iris, patchouli and gourmand accord for a rich, simple fragrance.

Materialism triumphed in the 2000s, and this era of quick-fire fads had women high on consumerism with a "got to have it" mindset, which also applied to their pursuit of a career. According to Lancome, from 2010, the dawn of a new era has been encouraging women to stop wanting more, with the inspiration for this turning point coming from Julian Barnes' award-winning novel, The Sense Of An Ending.

"Back to basics. We're in a new era characterised by a rejection of a world that's gold-plated, or defined by rigid precepts: dictates of fashion, of money over matter, of being sexy no matter what," said Youcef Nabi, Lancome president. "Lancome femininity is freely embracing the concept of 'less, but better' now more than ever. It is the kind of beauty that does not assail the senses, but rather a kind of soft power of beauty."

The "less but better" philosophy is about owning less and playing fewer roles, while making the choice to finally be oneself in order to find true happiness. And life becomes more beautiful because one chooses it to be so.

Perfumers Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo teamed up to translate this philosophy into a fragrance. Drawing on the original art of perfumery, they opted for the strength of simplicity with pure ingredients.

Three years of working on this philosophical perfume ultimately resulted in La Vie est Belle, featuring key notes of iris, patchouli and gourmand accord. While iris serves as a middle note, its magnitude within this fragrance comes out from the first to the last note.

The bottle is a reinterpretation of Le Sourire de Cristal (The Crystal Smile), designed in 1949, to symbolise the aura of women with an indefinable "je ne sais quoi" quality while capturing the quintessence of happiness following the traumatic years of World War II.

In making the new bottle, it took over a year to square the circle in order to create the rounded imprint of a smile at the heart of a crystal square. Tied around the bottle's neck, the grey organza ribbon refers to the twin wings of freedom, to break free and then discover one's own happiness.

The philosophical fragrance and its ‘smiling’ bottle.