Carine Roitfeld Gives Us The Scoop On Her Brand-New Scent Collection

Carine Roitfeld

If you’ve ever wondered why American women are so obsessed with the French fashion and beauty aesthetic, we have two words for you: Carine Roitfeld. The former model, past editor of Vogue Paris, founder of the CR Fashion Book, consultant to Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Chanel, and undeniable fashion icon has launched her own très chic scent collection. Just in time for Mother’s Day (if you’re still on the hunt for a fabulous gift for any fashion-minded mom)—we got the scoop on how Carine Roitfeld Parfums came to fruition.

Carine Roitfeld
Photo by Hedi Slimane

When did you first have the idea to create a line of scents?
More than eight years ago when I left Vogue Paris I decided to do something new, something that I had never done. I spent a lot of time with my dear friend Karl Lagerfeld. One of the greatest pieces of advice he ever gave me was to do something that people don’t expect from you and be the first one to do it. In a way, I’m one of the first editor-in-chiefs to create a parfum line.

Can you explain the creative process that made these scents a reality?
I’ve always thought of scent as the most defining accessory. It speaks volumes about who you are and how you identify yourself to the world. When I set out to create my own product line eight years ago, developing a collection of fragrances is what came to me naturally. I conjured a character and fantasy with each scent that tells a story.

What was it like working with your son to create the collection?
My son and business partner Vladimir played an integral role in the collection. Vladimir was the one who told me I should consider launching something under my own name rather than collaborating with another brand. He knew that this was how I could leave a legacy for him, my daughter and my granddaughter. He became my business partner two years ago and took over the creative direction of the seventh and final scent, Vladimir. It’s been a very special experience to work with him on this.

Creating one scent is quite an undertaking… Why did you decide to make seven?
I wanted to create a line of fragrances so customers could have a variety of options to find their perfect scent, rather than just have only one choice. The seven fragrances are all genderless, suitable for both men and women. They are all crafted with high quality natural ingredients that react to the skin to create a truly personal aroma to the wearer.

You allude to seven “lovers” associated with each scent… Who were your inspirations?
As an editor I know how difficult it is to speak about perfumes—it’s hard to put the scent into words when people haven’t even smelled it yet. I knew that creating a story for each one was the perfect way to identify their persona. Each scent tells the story of a man—some real and some from my daydreams—in one of my favorite cities. I came up with each of them in bed with a cup of tea. It was an incredibly personal process.

You have several personal stories linked to the individual scents… Could you share a few?
Vladimir is inspired by my Russian heritage. It’s also the name of my son and my father. This scent celebrates where I come from and is one of my favorites. Lawrence, the Dubai perfume, is named after Lawrence of Arabia. I discovered all the ways to protect myself from the sun from that movie.

You obviously have a highly evolved aesthetic eye… What is the significance of the bottle design?
The bottle is dressed in one of my favorite colors—khaki. The shape is a modern twist on a flask, almost sensual to hold in the hand.

What’s the connection between fragrance and personal style?
When I worked at Vogue Paris, my colleagues always recognized my blended scent of YSL’s Opium with Serge Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger in the hallways. Even when I’m not going out, I need to wear a perfume. Scent is such a significant part of who you are, and I hope the fragrances become a staple ritual in men and women’s daily routines.