Balmain updates and re-releases Ivoire. And it’s a class act.

by Katie on September 2, 2012

Like fashion’s poster boy, Olivier Rousteing’s wowsah cutting-edge makeover at the classic Parisienne House of Balmain with his identifiable couture ready-to-wear, the late Balmain ’70s fragrance ‘Ivoire’ has been given a 21st century make-over. And, it’s a class act that will appeal to the traditionalist and the post modernist alike.

By referencing Balmain’s classic and sophisticated heritage while incorporating the demands of an ultra modern women who opts for sleek yet maximalist lines with a feminine rock-chic edge, Ivoire’s new incarnation manages to raise the bar in modern chypres. Perfume designers Michel Almairac and Jacques Flori from Robertet were entrusted with re-writing this signature fragrance and to ‘update the perfume without betraying it.‘The first impressions were to remain familiar bit with a modern twist,’ says, Almairac.

Says Rousteing,“This 2012 version of Ivoire incarnates the perfect translation of today’s Balmain woman with a combination of heritage, richness, a touch of nostalgia and remarkable modernity.”

Everything is sheer class about this newly revamped perfume. From the large rectangular pale cream box with accents of gold and black, highlighting the traditional Ivoire font, to the heavyweight, rectangular bottle with its pale pinky-beige contents. And, as for the juice itself – a sheer, veiled, powdery floral accented chypre with fresh, sharp green highlights and with the merest hint of sweet vanilla. As I say, distinctive with traditional leanings yet firmly eschewing any hints of old house, dowager dowdiness.

I wore Balmain’s Ivoire as an 18 year old (as well as K by Krizia). I know, I was a rather unusual youngster with sophisticated leanings when others my age were piling on Body Shop’s White Musk. Ivoire, back then, was as classy and highbrow as you could get, but gave off an older, elegant yet haughty vibe. That was probably the appeal for the younger me. The juxtaposition of French sophistication meets 1980’s hipster youth, all Katharine Hamnett ‘Choose Life’ t-shirts, PX designer prints and Miss Selfridge ‘Iron Lady’ metallic pink lipstick.

This new rendition is blousier in chiffon wisps – the definitive floral chypre with a fresh orangey green tinge. There’s a sharpness too. Violet and galbanum to meet the soft jasmine and rose. At its base, the earthy cedarwood and patchouli mix takes over with a hint of vanilla.

Just as Olivier Rousteing is pulling out all the stops, showing heap upon heap of beaded, intricate, hugely expensive couture influenced pieces that any Balmainista worth her dollar savvy, street cred would happily kill for, the new Ivoire will take pride of place in her expensive punk suede bag.

Rousteing’s oversized boxy-shoulder silhouettes may relay ’80s power influence with 2012 feminine, feminist wiles. Ivoire by Balmain in its new guise is the counterfoil modern chypre to match.

Balmain Ivoire is currently available exclusively at Selfridges and is available nationally from 3rd September. Prices are £39 (30ml), £52 (50ml) and £69 (100ml)

Fall/Winter ’12 catwalk images by kind courtesy of

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