Carine Roitfeld Says This Is the Key to Mastering French Beauty

In the first step toward building a namesake brand, Carine Roitfeld just debuted a perfume collection: 7 Lovers, named for cities across the globe that inspire her and lovers in each of them. I sat down with Roitfeld to find out more. As she’s deeply rooted in the world of fashion, I was curious about why she chose to focus on perfume. “For me, [perfume] was the last accessory for fashion,” Roitfeld explained, “You get dressed, and after, you put on your perfume.” With scent names like Aurélien and Kar-Wai, I wanted to know who, exactly, these seven lovers were. Roitfeld was quick to admit that they weren’t named after actual people. Much like the editorials she styles now at CR Fashion Book and the ones she worked on during her time as editor in chief at Vogue Paris, she explained that the lovers are all “a fantasy, like everything in my world.”

Her fixation with scent started at a young age, and memorable smells from her childhood flashed forward in her mind when developing the fragrances. Whether it was the smell of pine trees on family holidays in the South of France or her mother’s L’Heure Bleue de Guerlain perfume, the power of scents in her memory drove her to create her own. “Smell is very, very important in your mind and in your memory,” says Roitfeld. “And the strongest addiction, I think, is perfume.” It comes as no surprise, then, when Roitfeld admits that finding a personal fragrance is the one secret French women all have in common, and they rarely leave home without one on.

Roitfeld began developing her fragrance collection eight years ago, but it was over two decades ago that she first invented a fragrance. “For more than 20 years, I was wearing the same perfume, which was my first creation,” she says, “because I mixed Opium with Orange Blossom from Serge Lutens.” When she was wearing the signature scent, what stood out to her was the impact it had on those around her. “I remember everywhere I was going, people would say, ‘Oh, Carine was here.’ … There was always a piece of you behind you.”

This idea of memory and fragrance’s long-lasting impact interested Roitfeld. Fashion is ever-evolving and changes with the seasons, and she wanted to create something with staying power that can last longer than just one fashion season. “The idea is to have something that, for once, would stay, and not a collaboration which changes after six months, like so many I’ve done. And maybe a legacy—it’s always a dream to have something that keeps on after you.”

Ahead, discover more about Carine Roitfeld’s fragrances, and shop the collection.

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