It launched a few months ago and I’m rather remiss in not reviewing this earlier. Chanel’s latest addition to Les Exclusifs range (developed by perfumer Olivier Polge) takes the very best of Chanel’s heritage and influences, concocting them for a contemporary stride for the modernist Chanel muse.
Misia is named after Misia Sert, a good friend of Ms Coco and legendary muse of the period, who owned a saloon in Paris frequented by the famous artists of the time. (Much like an earlier version of London’s Colony Room run by the idiosyncratic Muriel Belcher). It’s an unusual origin for such a classy addition to the range. For this does not behave with flown blown artistic overblown impact. Instead, Misia is an extremely pretty and classy release for a choice madame who likes her perfumes powdery, classic and smelling of tradition and wealth. This is not for the youngsters amongst us. No, siree. This is much too well-behaved and experience. Even if that woman of experience still likes to dally with underground dive bars and those within them of artistic bent.
Misia speaks of restraint, balance and a sophisticated palate. How typical of the enigma that is the chypre. A beautiful flurry of early 20th Century violet and Turkish rose wrapped up in an iris powdered haze – but with a sweet smelling, benzoin contemporary twist. Like the smell of a pristine Chanel lipstick still virgin with its first twist and slick to anticipated lips. Misia has the air of Diaghilev and Ballet Russes rather than a contemporary Matthew Bourne or Michael Clark Company. Misia is very much rooted in the past whilst catering for the very contemporary choice of the woman who likes to rail against the current trend for big and blousy florientals or over-wrought ouds. The faint warmth of comforting tonka bean only adds to its pleasure.
As a debut for Olivier Polge (pictured above) at Chanel, it’s making waves. Though Misia is typically Chanel in feel, it’s not toeing the line and bending to what is now. This impresses. The new maverick’s decision to release a chypre rooted in the past says a lot about the direction of the house. To create its own future from its past. Not to follow norms. Misia has set the course.
Misia is available in 75ml (£115) and 200 ml Eau de Toilette. Misia is available from Les Exclusifs counters in Chanel stores, Selfridges and House of Fraser, Glasgow.