Celine’s latest fragrance is an ode to visionary French poet Arthur Rimbaud

When in 2019, Hedi Slimane took over as creative director of Celine, he gave new life to the iconic French Maison. That same year, he also introduced the Celine Haute Parfumerie Collection, featuring nine high-end fragrances. This year the collection is joined by the tenth: Rimbaud, a fragrance named after the French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

Named Rimbaud, the scent is a ‘hypersensitive portrait of a seventeen-year-old poet that Hedi Slimane discovered as a teenager’. With notes of lavender, neroli, orris butter, musk and vanilla, the scent mirrors that ‘taut and fragile’ chapter between childhood and adulthood – echoing Rimbaud’s life: he started publishing poems at sixteen and had finished with poetry by the time he was twenty-one.

As a young man in France, Slimane would read the writings of Rimbaud with friends and was fascinated by his images of eternal youth. Slimane has long been attracted to Rimbaud’s poetic romanticism, referencing the final stanza of his poem ‘Le Dormeur du Val’ in the show notes for his SS02 Dior Homme collection, while the designer borrowed ‘Parade’ from Rimbaud’s seminal ‘Les Illuminations’ collection for his Celine FW21 womenswear title. One of Celine’s nine Haute Parfumerie fragrances is also named after Parade (Neroli).

Look through Slimane’s work celebrating nascent musicians and artists carving their own path and his relationship with Rimbaud’s life and work is clear. Rejecting stuffy French literature, Rimbaud lived as a vagabond, running away from home repeatedly.

Rejecting God, the army, and convention, Rimbaud instead opted for a life of spontaneity, hedonism and obscenity: before leaving from Charleville for Paris, he scrawled ‘Shit on God’ across the town walls, smoked, grew his hair out, and mocked a priest with an homage to his unholy bowel movements – read ‘Squattings’.

Through his poetry, this runaway romantic translated his bohemian experiences via fantastical verses that take the reader on journeys through visionary realms, creating a powerful mystique that still seduces today: bottled in Celine’s fragrance ode.

Now, as a courturier, Slimane has dedicated an entire chapter of his Olfactory Journal to the poet. Rimbaud is a scent that illustrates Silmane’s personal view of Rimbaud and his writings, as well as a fragrance that defines the photographs he has taken of French men and women over the last 30 years. 

A hypersensitive portrait, both intimate and symbolic. The portrait of a a 17-year-old poet that Hedi Slimane discovered as a teenager and that of an entire generation of young people photgraphed by the couturier over the past thirty years.

Rimboud is all about duality, a play between light and dark. Inspired by the themes of contrast and revisitation in neo-classic literature, Slimane selected lavender and orris, or the rhizomes of iris, as the two floral scents that make up the perfume. Lavender, a main choice for most masculine fragrances, combines with orris, a more feminine and powdery fragrance, to create a gender-neutral scent. Rimbaud features notes of neroli, wheat accord, musk, and vanilla in conjunction with lavender and orris butter. Stylish yet unassuming, it’s like the fragrance epitome of a crisp white shirt.

Recently, Thai rapper, singer and dancer Lisa, a member of the South Korean girl group Blackpink, was chosen as the face of the first advertising campaign for the Celine Haute Parfumerie collection, photographed by the creative director himself.

The ‘tres chic’ perfume box is adorned in paper with a ‘grain de poudre’ feel, embossed with ‘grand siècle’ moldings, and tied with a black ottoman ribbon. Topped with a black lacquered cap and adorned with 17th century white moldings, the Celine flacon is massive glass affirms its modernist lines and Art Deco fluting. The Maison’s emblem, the ‘Triumphe’ is engraved on the top of the cap.

The new Celine Rimbaud perfume is available three different sizes: 100 ml, 200 ml, and a 15 ml refillable flacon for the new Travel Spray Line, at the Celine Haute Parfumerie Boutique, at 390 rue Saint-Honoré, Paris and at selected stores worldwide. Come into the beautiful world of Celine.