Actress Margot Robbie was feeling reflective on Thursday night at Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. “It’s a lovely time in my life where I feel like I’ve really settled into who I am and knowing who I am,” she said. “I’m constantly creatively inspired by things that are happening around me and the people I’m meeting.”
The Oscar-nominated actress was on hand to cohost an intimate dinner with Chanel in honor of her new fragrance campaign for Gabrielle Chanel Essence.
The new advertisement, which was directed and photographed by Nick Knight, features Robbie draped in tulle dancing to Beyoncé’s “Halo.”
For the dinner party, Robbie wore an ivory belted asymmetric silk ruffled top with wide-legged black satin pants from the brand’s fall/winter 2019 Haute Couture collection. Asked what it meant to represent a fashion icon like Gabrielle Chanel for the campaign, Robbie said, “She decided what she wanted to do and created the path to ensure she became and did those things that she wanted to do. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m in the same realm as Coco Chanel, as Gabrielle Chanel, but I do feel more in charge of my destiny and working with my friends in producing and having our business definitely gives me that feeling of empowerment and control over my destiny.”
In addition to starring in a slew of buzzy projects, including this summer’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and December’s “Bombshell,” Robbie also plays the role of Chanel ambassador. She was given the title in May 2018 and previously appeared in ads for the label’s fall 2018 Coco Neige collection, which was shot by the late Karl Lagerfeld. In May, the actress’ role expanded to include the title of fragrance ambassador alongside the likes of Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart and Lily Rose-Depp.
Chanel devotees, including Alana, Este and Danielle Haim of the pop band Haim, gathered to fete the new scent, which was created by Olivier Polge, the beauty brand’s in-house perfumer.
Gabrielle Chanel Essence, which is on sale in two sizes (1.7 fluid ounces for $105 and in 3.4 fluid ounces for $135) at Chanel boutiques and on Chanel.com, is a follow-up to the original fragrance Gabrielle Chanel, which was released in 2017 as an homage to the designer before she became known as Coco Chanel.
“This scent is distinctly feminine and self-assured,” Robbie said. “I feel like it’s [for] someone who’s leaning into their femininity and feeling empowered by it.”
Akin to the first perfume, Gabrielle Chanel Essence is a floral scent composed of four white flowers: ylang-ylang from the Comoros, jasmine from Egypt, Tunisian orange blossom and Chanel’s exclusively distilled tuberose, the latter of which plays a central role in the new fragrance.
“The tuberose brings more opulence, more intensity, a more enveloping feeling,” said Polge, who attended the dinner party to celebrate the scent he created. “It’s a unique ingredient that we grow ourselves in Grasse. The quality is linked to the soil, the climate of the South of France. We extract it ourselves.”
Polge explained that Chanel purchased the property from a man who grew tuberose but was retiring. “Knowing what we do in the South of France, he came to us and asked if we were interested, and we bought his bulbs,” Polge said.
The perfumer acknowledged that the two fragrances are in the same family as one another, but Polge said they differ in intensity.
“Gabrielle was extremely fresh, very radiant,” he said of the first formula. “Gabrielle Essence is a little darker.”
The first fragrance was developed for two years before hitting the market; the second took less time.
“My playground was already defined and I wanted to play with mostly the same note — the white flower,” he said, sharing that Gabrielle Chanel Essence’s top notes include citrus and red berries with base notes of sandalwood, vanilla and white musk.
Polge’s father, Jacques Polge, was Chanel’s sole perfumer for 33 years and is credited with creating Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle.
“When I decided at 18 years old to pick up perfume, I didn’t realize at all what it meant,” he said of following in his father’s footsteps. “I realized it when I joined Chanel years after. I’m glad because it happened very naturally.”
When creating new fragrances, Polge said he reviews “the few formulas that he left in my office.” Polge said he’s noticed that most of Chanel’s scents contain some combination of jasmine, orange flower and ylang-ylang. “There is a very interesting harmony, like a thread that links all the fragrances,” he said. “Creating a fragrance at Chanel is always a fine line between catching the spirit of our fragrances but always trying to do something new.”
Chanel-clad guests included Maude Apatow, Camila Morrone, Rainey Qualley, Carson Meyer, Dree Hemingway, Cassandra Grey, Samantha Ronson, Rachel Zoe and Elizabeth Hammer as well as Charlie Heaton, Emile Hirsch, Glen Powell and Joe Keery. Attendees enjoyed a family-style dinner that included tomato and burrata salad, roasted free-range chicken and New York steak frites.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” actress Pom Klementieff reminisced about her favorite Chanel memory.
“I did a photo shoot in her apartment in Paris,” she said. “It was beautiful. I could feel her energy. The sun was down. We felt like the ghosts were coming out. It was really special.”
Elsewhere, Keery kept close to girlfriend Maika Monroe while catching up with his “Stranger Things” costar Heaton.
Powell chatted up Robbie. “I’m a cologne kind of guy,” Powell said before sitting down for dinner. “I’m always a work in progress. I’m always trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I bounce between different things. I grew up in a family of women who are always telling me what I should wear and what I shouldn’t wear, but I’m still forging my own identity in terms of my smell.”
Washington, D.C.-based electro-pop trio Shaed closed out the night with a three-song set that included a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”
“Gabrielle Chanel used to say that you should wear fragrance where you want to be kissed,” Polge said.
“I spray it in the air and then walk into it,” said pop singer CYN, whose debut EP, “Mood Swing,” comes out on Sept. 20. “So maybe I like to be kissed all over.”
And how does Robbie apply it? “I hope I’m not doing it wrong, but I spray it on my wrists,” she said with a laugh, “and then I spray it on my neck.” She paused before asking a gathering of reporters, “Is that how you guys do it?”