I've always considered this men's fragrance the best of the best—and Timothée Chalamet just confirmed it

A new campaign sees the actor star in a short film by Martin Scorsese

Timothee Chalamet on set for Bleu de Chanel
(Image credit: Chanel)

I'd like to start by saying that, as a beauty editor with a particular penchant for fragrance and perfumery, I don't believe in gendered scents—not in 2024, anyway. In fact, I consider some of the best fragrances for me, a woman, to actually be marketed far more towards men. I like fresh scents but ones that have a punchy longevity to them. Personally, I have found that some of my most complimented fragrances ever are traditional 'men's fragrances'. Tom Ford's Oud Minérale is one. Another of my most complimented? Bleu de Chanel.

I have long considered Bleu de Chanel to be one of the most notable fragrance feats in history. It is fresh and citrusy, but there's a woody depth that gives it that Chanel-esque je ne sais quois. You know what I mean—that intricate warmth that binds to the skin and runs through every fragrance Chanel touches. As a fragrance house, Chanel has the ability to make everything smell luxe, expensive and one-of-a-kind.

Bleu de Chanel, in my opinion, sets the gold standard for all men's fragrance. It is luxurious, clean-smelling and universally appealing. Its deliverance is one of a kind—the way it clings to the skin and smells slightly different on everyone. It is this quality that makes it so special. Despite working with fragrance every single day, I have never once been able to positively identify Bleu de Chanel on somebody else, but I do find myself asking after it frequently. And I believe this is the reason why it's so complimented whenever I wear it. On me, as a woman, it is unexpected, juicy and fresh, but on my husband it is luxurious, aquatic and woody.

But let me make one thing very clear: Bleu de Chanel is in no way a unique fragrance. There are hundreds of other 'men's scents' out there with a seemingly very similar aroma. The crux of its specialty lies in its multifaceted nature—the fact it takes on a different face depending upon who is wearing it. And that isn't necessarily something you'd notice on first wear.

This is a unique quality that I have pondered at great length over the years—the way in which Chanel somehow created a mass-market men's fragrance that deceives my experienced nose whenever I come across it. I thought it was just me not being very good at my job. I thought the reason I could never identify it on other people was because I couldn't wrap my head around its make up.

But this week Chanel released its highly anticipated Bleu de Chanel campaign—a short film, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring the face of the fragrance, Timothée Chalamet—and everything clicked. Back in 2023, Timothée Chalamet was announced as the new ambassador for Bleu de Chanel—and I was pretty nonplussed by the whole thing. It seemed like a welcome step away from heritage fragrance brands casting ultra masc faces for the sake of fetishisation, but still, Chalamet appeared an odd choice.

"I didn’t have to sell myself on anything when I was asked to become the new ambassador of Bleu de Chanel. The decision was not dissimilar to agreeing to do a film. I am lucky to be at a place in my career where I have the opportunity to curate and choose projects that strike my passion. When so many fingers in the glove feel like they fit, it becomes a no-brainer. You just immediately become excited and go all in," he said of the announcement.

Now, with the release of the Scorsese short, it's all adding up for me. The film shows Chalamet battling with his own sense of image as a celebrity—finding his true self among his roles. "Bleu de Chanel has just the right amount of conviction and intensity to represent a man who refuses to be typecast," says Olivier Polge, in-house perfumer-creator at Chanel.

And just like that, it all clicked for me—the whole point of Bleu de Chanel is that it takes on whatever personality you give it. My inability to identify it in a line-up isn't because I'm rubbish at my job—it has been the aim of Chanel's game the whole time. And that, to me, makes Bleu de Chanel the crème de la crème.

Shannon Lawlor
Executive Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.