The Olsens launch fragrances

Off back of Elizabeth and James

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Fashion’s most famous twins are, suitably, launching two fragrances off the back of their contemporary brand Elizabeth and James (named after their siblings).

Sephora approached the sisters after a market research survey kept throwing up the Elizabeth and James brand. ‘We always knew we wanted to have a fragrance for this brand, because it’s very lifestyle,’ Ashley told WWD.com.

‘There are many components to the brand. We felt that between the brand Elizabeth and James and Sephora that we were really speaking together directly to our customer. We felt that was a really good place to start exploring the world of fragrance and beauty.’

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Both fragrances are for women and were two years in the making. ‘We’re not perfectionists at all,’ deadpanned Mary-Kate. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is a sensual woody fragrance, whereas Nirvana White is a musky floral.

Nirvana Black saw 50 different incarnations before the twins were happy with the scent – ‘and that’s 50 versions not including the various tweaks we made to individual notes,’ said Ashley.
Once the first fragrance had been made the second came more easily taking just a few months.
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Interestingly the original idea was to create just one perfume but after trying to put too many notes in one bottle, Ashley suggested launching with two. ‘We wanted to keep things as pure as we could,’ said Mary-Kate.

‘They also layer very nicely,’ Ashley pointed out. ‘It’s not necessarily meant to be either/or, but both [fragrances].’

To the first meeting, with fragrance makers Firmenich, Ashley took her shampoo, conditioner, face lotions, oils and deodorant to help express her tastes. ‘People would always say I smell good, but it was really a combination of those things rather than a specific fragrance,’ she said.

Mary-Kate, however, has always loved sandalwood, musk and amber notes — ‘darker and more masculine’. Nirvana White has peony, muguet and musk, while Nirvana Black contains violet, sandalwood and vanilla notes.

So why the name Nirvana? ‘To us, this was really about a moment — and what’s that one word that’s going to define that one moment where you feel comfortable, sexy and at ease with yourself? For us, we always came back to our beds. That’s where I love to spend my time off. No noise, no people trying to bug you. So it was about capturing that. And about there being no judgement, and how our generation is growing up with that intention. People are much more accepting of things and of people’s choices. That was also part of this process,’ said Ashley.

Previewing in Sephora on 13-25 December (making the most of those Christmas sales), the fragrances launch in earnest late January and will be exclusive to Sephora for the foreseeable future.

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