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  • Grasse family, who have produced the Rose de Mai absolute found in its signature Nº5 fragrance since the scent’s inception in 1921. Parfums Christian Dior has a similar deal with the Domaine de Manon gardens, also in Grasse, which provides the Rose de Mai absolute for many of its extrait de parfums, including J’Adore, Miss Dior and Poison.

    It was shortly after Sylvie Chantecaille founded the company 17 years ago that she

    and her daughter Olivia embarked on a driving adventure through the flower fields of Grasse in search of their own supply of the legendary flower. What they found, however, was something slightly different. “The farmer we met was so excited because he said that everyone comes for the [Rose de Mai] perfume, but that they weren’t utilizing it to its fullest potential, which involves its water,” says Olivia. Rather than using a few drops of Rose de Mai oil, the brand dissolves the whole rose using pure artisanal well water and steam distillation, which creates the brand’s Rose de Mai liquid – the base for all its luxurious skin salves, including the recently launched Rose de Mai Cream.

    Lancôme’s connection to a different rose runs just as deep. In 1973, after adopting the rose as its symbol, the brand enlisted the services of horticulturist Georges Delbard to create its very own rose species – the deep fuchsia Lancôme Rose. Bred for its unique color, silhouette and impressive resilience, the house succeeded in

    extracting native cells from the flower (the purest and most adaptive cells in the organism), culturing them and preserving their purported regenerating properties in its ultra-luxe Absolue L’Extrait range. “These native rose cells speed up the skin-renewal rate to reveal fresh layers of skin,” explains Mark Zaw, manager for skincare research and innovation at L’Oréal. The Absolue L’Extrait Regenerating and Renewing Caviar-Elixir “uses the extract to create radiance”.

    Black, not fuchsia, is the color of the rose that made an impression on Sisley founder Hubert d’Ornano. “We discovered that the black rose had strong, anti-free-radical

    properties,” says d’Ornano’s daughter and Sisley vice president, Christine d’Ornano. The French brand’s wildly popular Black Rose Cream Mask, launched in 2011, was its first venture and inspired the new launch of Sisley’s Black Rose Precious Face Oil. Blended with prune and camelina oils, the aroma of the black-rose essence is part of the dry oil’s appeal. “Aside from its anti-aging properties, the rose scent also has a calming effect,” says d’Ornano.

    An enduring symbol of passion, rose-infused beauty products are enjoying a renaissance. “I think the idea of a rose is very appealing to people,” says Olivia Chantecaille. The resurgence is also likely to be the result, she says, of a renewed focus on formulating with plants rather than chemicals in today’s ever-greening beauty climate.

    And then there’s the fact that women just love the long-stemmed blooms. “All I know is if I get in trouble with my girlfriend,” says Mark Zaw, “I’d better have roses.”

    The Kit


    Photograph: Ben Hassett / Art + Commerce

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