L’Wren Scott Talks Budget Beauty, The Power Of Scent, & Dreaming Big

Just when we think we've finally added every last thing to our holiday wish list, Barneys goes along and launches their new Designer Fragrance Collection with an inaugural scent by none other than L'Wren Scott. Housed in a super-sized 100ml, eye-catching red flaçon, the scent features notes of absinthe, coriander, marigold, tuberose, geranium, clove buds, curry, patchouli, amber, and moss.
The limited-edition scent launched this week exclusively at Barneys and is part of the retailer's new, ongoing collaboration with designers to create covetable, rare, luxurious scents. While the brand has remained mum on what other designers they have lined up for the collection, we have high hopes that some of our fave names might get in on the action (Alex Wang, rag & bone, or Rodarte, pretty please?)
We got the chance to sit down with Scott to talk about the scent, following your dreams at any age, and the surprising Avon buy she can't live without. Read on to get the scoop on one of our fave designing women's first foray into fragrance.

Tell us a bit about the fragrance and how it represents you.

"With the notes I was quite specific about what I wanted. You have to think about how you want the fragrance to start out and what you want the end result, or drydown, to be. So, I wanted it to start out a bit mysterious. It has a bit of absinthe, and it's kind of interesting smelling, and then it goes into a symphony of five smells, and then as it starts to die down — the end notes are patchouli, moss, and spice. There's a bit of clove, too."

We thought the curry was pretty interesting. How did you land on that?

"I collect oils and scents and old petrified woods that you burn. I collect things from the Middle East, from Asia — all the places where I've traveled. So, that was part of my thing. I had these very specific notes in mind. I started working with Ralf [Schweiger, the perfumer], and we'd have these little bottles of stuff, and it was fun. I think he appreciated the very precise input. And I think my obsession with Indian spice markets and my love of how spices smell was part of it."


What are the advantages of having Barneys as a partner for this, rather than launching it on your own?

"Well, I think Barneys and I are very good partners. It's one of my best customers, and we work closely on a lot of very interesting collaborations. It seemed like a really natural place. I wanted to do something really unique and special, which is what my brand is about, so having it in one place, at Barneys, for an exclusive amount of time, made perfect sense for me. And it makes so much sense for my customers, because it's simple, it's in one place, you know where to get it, and you can just click and buy."

Photo: Courtesy of Barneys


The fragrance market is so saturated right now. How do you think your scent is going to stand out?

"Well, it's a very unique fragrance. It's very specialized, and it's kind of filling a niche part of that market — something very unique and exclusive. There aren't a lot of exclusive products out there, from what I've seen. I know what this smells like, I know it was made in France, and I took serious, careful attention to all of the details to make sure that it was made how I thought it should be, with the right alcohols — which you can only do in France; you can't do that in other countries. And so the end result is really special, and I think the customers will notice that. Also, it's 100ml. It's a really substantial product. And I just love how it feels. And it's a quite sensual fragrance — men are really attracted to it; the hard-to-please men were spritzing it on more than the women."


Do you consider it a unisex fragrance?


Do you have a favorite scent?

"Scents, for me, are like a memory, from places I've traveled. Like, the first time I smelled Paris…the baguettes, the powder…you know, you always associate smells with memory, like your childhood, your mom cooking food. It's very personal to me, scent."

We're so inspired by the way you've come into your own in your 40s. What's it like to achieve such success later in life?

"That's very kind of you to say. I don't really quantify myself like that. I never think I've done enough, or done it all, or that anything's good enough. I always see what more I can do. I never think 'oh gosh, look at me, I've done something'...I always look at what I haven't done. I'm always looking forward and I don't sit still that much. So that's why, when I got to New York, and I had the one bottle from Barneys waiting in my room, I opened it, I was so excited, I was like a child jumping up and down. And then I said 'Oh my god, it's so big, this is such a big dream come true!' And then a couple of hours later, I looked at the bottle again, and said ' really is a big bottle.' Because in my mind, it was such a big dream, so I thought that I was exaggerating it, like thinking it was like even bigger than it was, but I realized that it actually is really big!"


Do you have any advice for women who are thinking of a career change, or of pursuing their dreams later in life?

"You shouldn't hesitate. If there's something you want to do in life, you have to go out and try. You'll never regret trying. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail, but it would be much worse to regret the fact that you never tried — that's something you'll think about your whole life."

Do you have any specific beauty challenges? And solutions to go with them?

"Beauty challenges, for me, stem from travel. When you travel all the time, your skin goes crazy, your hair goes fuzzy. I try to pick up tips from the experts — particularly what can do to stay healthy and fit. That's the most important thing when you're working all the time. You have to make sure that every day, you do one nice thing for yourself. And I'm terrible at it. I don't take the time to do it — I'm very impatient, so to find the time to get a facial or have my hair dried, it takes like 30 minutes, and I'm like 'I have to be working!' So, I just try to take care of myself. Keep my skin hydrated on the plane. I drink tons of water, cover myself in Rodin Olio Lusso, spray on my Caudalie Beauty Elixir, tie my hair up in a knot. Everything you can do to take care of yourself while you're working is pretty important. And eat. Three meals a day."


You mentioned the fragrance oils before, too. Are you into beauty oils in general?

"Yes. My face oil is Illumino from Colbert MD — it's new, I'm obsessed — and then at night I use the Rodin oil. I use it on my body, but my other favorite body oil is Avon Skin-So-Soft. I put it in my bath. It's super hydrating and greasy, and you get out of the bath and your skin just absorbs it. I just put on my dressing robe and let it all sink in...I'm all about the luxury."

Now that you've dipped your toes in both cosmetics and fragrance with these collaborations, could a full beauty line be in the future?

"You'll have to stay tuned…"

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Photo: Courtesy of L'Wren Scott

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