Carmel Valley designer’s new French fragrance inspired by love
Carmel Valley fashion designer Zee Field recently launched her own clothing line and her own signature perfume, Loulou Damour.
A native of Paris, Field returned to French roots to create her fragrance, a scent that calls back to summers spent with her family in the French countryside. The blend brings together the natural elements of Lily of the Valley with peony, jasmine, bergamot, pink grapefruit, green hyacinth, amber, cedar wood, sandalwood and pure botanical musk.
The perfume is made in Grasse, France at the Parfumie Galimard, which has been family-owned and operated since 1747. Each glass bottle comes with a hand-tied blue ribbon and a charm.
In French, “Mon loulou d’amour” is how people refer to someone very dear to your heart. A loulou can be a family member, your most loyal friend, a lover, a cherished pet or someone who inspires you to push past your limitations and follow your passion. As her tagline states: “The spirit of Loulou Damour is to spread kindness and love in all we do – reminding people to appreciate the loulous in their lives.”
Said Field: “It’s all about love and the perfume was created out of pure love.”
On July 22, she filmed a commercial for the new fragrance at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, starring a confident and carefree woman played by model Klaudia Bulka pursuing Chasen Nick, a former contestant on “The Bachelorette” driving a James Bond-esque silve Porsche.
Field’s first loulou was her elegant mother, a seamstress in the 1960s fashion industry in Paris. Field learned everything she knew about garments and sewing from her mother, who also outfitted her nine children in well-made, comfortable clothing that had a certain “je ne sais quoi.”
Field said she got into the fashion industry almost by accident, doing costume design for the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris.
“It sounds better than it was because I was so inexperienced,” she said. “I was the feather lady, my job was to use feathers.”
At 18 years old, she embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and moved to Montreal, Canada and started her own brand.
“I thought the whole of Montreal would be waiting for me at the airport, the fashion designer from Paris,” she said with a laugh. “No. But I was sure it was happening.”
While it didn’t happen right away, she worked hard and was able to start and sustain two businesses in Montreal over the next 27 years, helping design and build fashion brands for others and developing domestic and overseas production.
In 2009, she moved to California to change her life completely, driving from Canada down the coast to Solana Beach with her devoted dog Lili, her loulou, in tow.
“I just wanted to live somewhere I could bring my dog to a dog beach, I had no ideas after that,” she said.
After finding love and marrying her husband, the couple moved to Carmel Valley in 2010. The following year she got back into fashion, establishing her own product development business Profade Apparel in Sorrento Mesa, providing fashion consulting, branding and manufacturing of private label lines for companies ranging from startups to department stores.
In 2017, Lili passed away after 21 years of faithful companionship.
“It was really hard for me, she was my muse in a way,” Field said. “But I couldn’t be sad forever, she would want me to be happy. I realized I needed to do what I loved the most and then I would feel better.”
For her, that meant finally designing her own line and her own fragrance, every item designed with a memory of a special person, moment, or place in mind—a brand that was happy, simple, fun and “all me.”
Her collections are well made and elegant like her mother, she specializes in comfortable athleisure and sportswear.
The names of the All Over the Vallee collection pay tribute to her neighborhood: the Torrey cargo jacket, the Carmel top, the Cedros flare mini skirt and the smart Solana trousers.
The development of the perfume was an over three-year process, starting with the visit to Grasse, France and the vintage parfumerie.
“I wanted something light and happy,” she said of Loulou Damour’s signature fresh scent of lily and jasmine. Each ingredient has a purpose: bergamot is meant to relieve sadness and the green hyacinth is meant to increase blood flow and provide energy.
“After several hours, the perfume goes away. The next day, the scent comes back as a memory. It’s with you,” she said.
The LouLou Damour brand was supposed to launch in March 2020 but it was delayed a year due to the pandemic. She finally launched her website and perfume in February and it has been worth the wait, seeing her passions come to life.
On the hot summer day in Rancho Bernardo a crew filmed the commercial she dreamed up nearly four years ago, set up to be a romantic encounter between two gorgeous strangers. In a twist, the woman was never really after the man at all but looking instead for her little lost dog. The star of the shoot was Bennie, Field’s fluffy 10-year-old Poodle-Jack Russell mix.
Field happily watched as the shoot unfolded, making new memories, Bennie never too far from her side.
Check out Loulou Damour at louloudamour.com
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