Cacharel: Charm and Refinement
Cacharel is a French brand that sells clothing, accessories, and fragrances. It is relatively new, founded in 1962, as the vision of Jean Bousquet. The name Cacharel comes from the local name for a small duck in Bousquet’s native region of France.
The Birth of Cacharel
Jean Bousquet was born into fashion. He was the son of a sewing machine merchant and was fascinated with clothing design from an early age. He studied to be a tailor once he was old enough, then spent some time in design before he returned to his home of Paris. Bousquet started out small, in a tiny studio, designing fashions, but his first collection was incredibly successful. It was then that he dubbed his label ‘Cacharel’ for a small and swift duck of France.
Cacharel’s light and feminine designs took the world by storm. Bousquet had an eye for refinement, and he used it to make clothing both youthful and fun, with bright clothing and exciting designs that had the whole fashion world looking to see what would come next. That first collection was famous for getting rid of the so-called pointed darts so common in women’s clothing of the day, instead offering blouses that were natural and feminine, playful while still being elegant.
It was Cacharel that invented the seersucker blouse, which became a fashion landmark. This was the creation that launched the small design house into international stardom. Soon, the company was featured in Elle magazine, and it was uphill from there. From the early 1960s and through the 1970s, Cacharel was at the very top of the fashion industry.
The first Cacharel perfume was created in collaboration with L’Oreal. This was Anais Anais, released in 1978. This was only the beginning – men’s fragrances were son to follow, along with the Loulou series, the Amor series, and the Noa series, among others, each with its own unique personality.
One of the newer offerings from Cacharel is Liberte. The fragrance was inspired by chamonix, a type of French cake, and contains citrus notes, and a woody heart with a patchouli base. The famous face for this perfume is the supermodel Gisele Bundchen, but she is not the first famous model to represent a Cacharel fragrance. Anais Anais, the first perfume, was represented by Kate Moss, while the Cacharel brand ‘Promesse’ was promoted by Laetitia Casta.
Anais Anais, as the first Cacharel fragrance, had a lot riding upon it. Bousquet knew what he wanted in clothing, and the same was applied to this new perfume. Anais Anais is a very feminine scent, bright and playful, just like its fashions. This floral fragrance is full of beautiful rose, lily, hyacinth, and other flower essences, but has sandalwood and incense in its base to give it a certain aura of mystery.
The self-titled Cacharel cologne did not come out until 1981. This men’s cologne is sharp and spicy, but softened with tones of amber and lavender. The elements may not seem to go together – nutmeg with lotus, sage, and bergamot, but it merges into a powerful whole, giving an adventuresome feeling that may remind some of the 1980s.
The luxuriously gentle fragrance, Noa, was launched in 1998, the first of a series. The original is both fruity and spicy and intended to be worn when feeling romantic. The bottle has a unique round shape, almost spherical, and a pearl-like object rests within. The scent itself is delicate and light, with warmth at the base supplied by coffee and incense. Musk is one of the top notes, to give it a sexy appeal, but this is mixed with peach skin, peony, and freesia, making this appeal decidedly feminine.
The New Cacharel
The fragrances and fashions offered by Cacharel are constantly evolving, but sometimes radical changes are necessary. Carcharel embarked on such changes for the 21st century. In an effort to recapture the creativity that marked Carcharel’s entrance into the world of fashion, they hired the team of Clement and Ribeiro to oversee design. It was a great success, and Cacharel was once again the talk of Paris runways.
The talented king of prints, Eley Kishimoto, had a hand in some Cacharel designs, as did the talented Belgian designer, Cedric Charlier. A new era had begun, bringing back the old romanticism of the early days of the brand, while keeping the company fresh and modern.
Cacharel can still be found in stores everywhere, from Saks Fifth Avenue to Barneys to le Printemps. Under new designers Ling Liu and Dawei Sun, they are returning to their roots: fresh, romantic femininity.