Van Cleef & Arpels, a renowned luxury French brand, was founded in 1896 by Charles Arpels and his brother-in-law Alfred Van Cleef. Their unparalleled expertise and innovative techniques led them to become a household name when it came to expensive jewelry and watches.
The company stepped into the world of perfumery in 1978 with “First” for Women, a classic warm floral aldehyde fragrance created by Jean Claude Ellena. Drawing inspiration from the Snowflake High Jewelry collection, the "elegant and feminine curve" of the bottle is considered iconic. Pierre Arpels had commented at the time,
"I dreamed of a perfume in the image of our jewels: discreet but precious, fleeting but very present...They are the two adornments of women. A dress is a part of a woman’s wardrobe… Her shoes and handbag are accessories. But you could never call a jewel an accessory. Nor a perfume. To me, perfume is the final adornment…"
A glorious floral bouquet with a hint of citrus, “First” still occupies an important position in perfume history, and the brand has introduced several flankers over the years.
Tsar (1989) and Feerie (2008) were other notable releases by the brand before the launch of the Collection Extraordinaire set, the first perfume of which was launched in 2009. One of the most luxurious perfume lines on the market, it seeks to reinterpret natural raw ingredients associated with perfumery and showcases a delightful harmony between exotic flowers, woody accords, and citrus zest.
Van Cleef & Arpels fragrances are devised and formulated by world-famous perfumers like Alberto Morillas, Quentin Bisch, Richard Herpin, Roger Pellegrino, Sonia Constant, Jean-Claude Ellena, Domitille Michalon Bertier, Pascal Giraux, Louis Monnet, and Olivier Polge. The company has also collaborated with notable noses like Jacques Cavallier, Sidonie Lancesseur, Fabrice Pellegrin, Antoine Maisondieu, Mark Buxton, Julien Rasquinet, Nathalie Feisthauer, Randa Hammami, Anne Flipo, and Jerome Epinette, among others.