The CR Fashion Book founder and former Vogue Paris editor is branching out into beauty with the debut of her first perfume line featuring seven scents
Carine Roitfeld has conquered every aspect of the fashion industry. Up next? She’s setting her sights on a beauty world takeover.
Roitfeld was the editor of Vogue Paris for 10 years, before launching her own highly-successful biannual style magazines, CR Fashion Book and CR Men’s Book in 2012 and 2015. Plus, she starred in her own fashion documentary Mademoiselle C, and was just named the style advisor of Karl Lagerfeld’s namesake brand following his death in February.
Now, the 64-year-old French fashion editor isn’t just getting into beauty — she immersed herself into the world of high-end perfumery by launching her own collection of seven different scents.
Carine Roitfeld Parfums is a collection of seven genderless scents, inspired by seven lovers in seven of her favorite cities around the world and it’s hitting Net-a-Porter.com on May 6.
“I decided when I left Vogue to do something new and I never did perfume. It’s different than fashion because fashion changes every six, three months, and perfume, it can last much longer,” Roitfeld told PEOPLE during a preview event in New York City. “For me, as a fashion stylist, perfume is the last accessory because when I’m leaving the last final touch is a little bit of perfume.”
For the last 20 years she’s added the same “final accessory” to every outfit — a creation of two perfumes that she mixed herself. “Opium for women [by Yves Saint Laurent] mixed with a bit of Flower Blossom for a strong perfume,” she revealed.
“It’s a quite strong perfume and I like the idea that people know when I arrive into a room or left — you can smell that she’s not far. And I like the idea that people follow you because of your perfume.”
But unlike the fast-paced world of magazine editing, she slowed down the creative process for her latest project and took over eight years to develop all seven scents. She teamed up with master perfumers, Aurélien Guichard, Pascal Gaurin and Yann Vasnier, who all have vast experience creating top-selling luxury perfumes for Armani Privé, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, respectively. And on the business end, she worked closely with her son, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, to launch the line. Vladimir is the President of CR Fashion Book Ltd., and CR Studio, which is a full service creative and production agency that works with Dior, Chanel, Yeezy and more.
While each perfume is named after one of Roitfeld’s “lovers,” she was inspired by people who play a key role in her life and her inspiration. “Each lover is an idea of a name that means a lot to me, even if it’s not a lover,” Roitfeld explains.
She began by designing a fragrance inspired by Paris, her home, named Aurélien which combines spicy oral notes, with hints of orangeower intertwined with davana oil.
To portray her home away from home, New York City, she named the scent Orson, after Orson Wells, which has scents of hawthorn flower with the nomadic and rugged refinement of tonka beans and benzoin “tears.”
George, aptly named for her “lover” in London, has a punk rock (à la Sex Pistols) feel to the scent which features violet leaf, cannabis and oakmoss.
Lawrence of Arabia inspired Roitfeld for the Dubai scent, where she mixed a leather scent, encompassing jasmine, oud wood and tolu tree for the most sensual of her eight perfumes.
Next, she honored her love of Buenos Aires and dance with the scent, Sebastian, that has a mix of spicy woody notes, ower, tuberose and sandalwood, and is named after friend (and photographer of the campaign) Sebastian Fena.
Kar-Wai, the scent inspired by Hong Kong, was named for the director of the fashion-filled 2000 film In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai. It inspired Roitfeld to mix osmanthus and a leathery, smoky longjing tea.
Vladimir holds a close personal connection to Roitfeld because it was named after her son and represents her Russian heritage and memories of her grandmother. To pay homage her family roots, she combined olibanum’s smokiness with amber and orris.
Forever a fashion editor, she had total creative control in the editorial campaign, and modeled herself in each photo. Each image portrays two lovers from the waist down, and since the line is unisex, it also features two women and two men within the editorial campaign.
“It’s really my biggest dream and I never saw myself as a brand, I was working with other brands, making them good, but I didn’t see myself as a brand,” Roitfeld revealed. “Vladimir made me understand that and it’s because of him we created Carine Roitfeld Parfums. I’m a gifted mom to have Vladimir working with me because it’s not easy to work with your family but I’m very lucky to have someone I can totally trust. At his age he has a lot of energy to create things and push me. Maybe with not him the perfume would be just for myself and I wouldn’t be doing so many things, maybe I’d be quiet at a spa somewhere.”
So what does Vladimir see next for the brand? He’s not ruling anything out.
“This is another extension of the brand — I think it’s the brand itself because it’s the product that will hold Carine’s name — but I see it as another extension of our CR family, so we start with the perfume, we keep on doing everything else, and we see where the perfume will go,” said Vladimir.
Roitfeld runs in a fabulous circle of fashion friends, but says none of them have tested the perfume themselves yet. “I didn’t show them but they smell me, but I’ve been wearing them for eight years. A lot come to me and ask ‘Oh I love your perfume what is that?’ So I just have the feedback of people who smelled me. I’m a walking billboard.”