It Takes Two was a 1995 film by the Olsen twins, but it also describes their general approach to life, design philosophy, and vision for their first fragrance, to be released through their contemporary line Elizabeth and James. Launching at Sephora in January 2014, the fragrance will feature two scents: Nirvana White and Nirvana Black.
When asked about the reasons for creating double fragrances, Mary-Kate said, "We have always been interested in exploring duality. We wanted to go back to who our customer was and the idea of a modern woman. We want to work hard, have a personal life, and have a career. But perfume is about intimacy that brings pleasure. And for us, our nirvanas are in bed, at home. We wanted to offer two different choices and options."
At the fragrance launch, the Olsens, both dressed in black, were surrounded by imported peonies (not in season in New York's fall) from New Zealand, and Lily of the Valley bouquets from the Netherlands. The peonies were a nod to a feature top note of Nirvana White, a floral musk with muguet. Nirvana Black is of a slightly woodier musk, with violet, sandalwood, and vanilla. Nirvana Black took a year-and-a-half to develop, while White took only a few months. And yes, there will eventually be a perfume for The Row.
Although the scent gives some olfactory clues to the Olsens' personal nirvanas, the fragrance campaign offers a more visual representation. Shot by Ryan McGinley, who has a penchant for capturing the carefree nature of naked youth, we aren't entirely surprised that the ad campaign features a naked female model, sleeping and sprawled across a swaddle of rosy pink, glossy sheets, with a dog lying across the back of her legs. (Note: Not Mary-Kate Olsen's dog.) The dog was particularly exciting to Mary-Kate. “She’s never had a better day on set than when she got to play dog trainer,” said Ashley. “She was so excited.” Read on for our interview with Mary-Kate about her first scent memory, that quirky five-hairpins-only rule, and more.
You mentioned you were inspired by duality in creating the fragrance. What do you see as the common elements bonding Nirvana Black and White together?
I think they both have a musk with tones that are a bit more mascu — I mean, not masculine — because musk can go either way. But they're both dark. There is sensuality in both and I think [black] is a darker floral. The White can easily be a kind of "floriental" — it's an oriental, but with a little floral. They do sit back to each other, it's just a different feeling.
You said that Nirvana Black took longer to develop than Nirvana White one. Why do you think that is?
I don't know, it's funny when you care about something so much and you want to be proud of your product — you want to take the time to make sure it's perfect. So it was about finding the perfect balance between the notes.
Do you see one as more for night and one more for day?
Some people might think it that way, or summer/winter, but I think it also comes down to what you're attracted to. Which one did you like?
I liked the black one a lot. I'd be curious to see what they smell like together.
Think about the white one in a black bottle, and it might change your perspective on it.
You and your sister are known for having sophisticated taste, even at an early age. What was one of your first scent memories?
There was a vanilla fragrance that Fred Segal in L.A. sold and I can't remember what it was exactly, but I remember that.
What are your favorite scents?
For me, I love sandalwoods, ambers, tobacco. I like scents that are more masculine.
Most Viewed Stories
What, Exactly, Are Melania and Ivanka Trump Trying to Sell?
Roxane Gay Calls Out Simon & Schuster After They Drop Milo Yiannopoulos
The Single Guy Who’s Pretty Sure He Split the Bill
Self-Empowerment Is Just Another Word for Narcissism
The Supreme-Branded Metrocard Is Here
Did Lena Dunham Shade the Wing on Girls?
We Finally Get to the Root of Katie and Tom’s Problems
Alt-Right Troll Milo Yiannopoulos Uses Campus Visit to Openly Mock a Transgender Student
The Man (and Dog) Who Constantly Get Stopped on the Street
Ask a Boss: Should I Try to Act Older at Work?
The Cut’s Latest Beauty FeaturesThis Dye Changes Your Hair Color According to Temperature and Mood
Practical magic.The Best Street Style From London Fashion Week
Leather jackets and so much blue.Balenciaga’s Silver Stiletto Boots Are a Surefire Street-Style Winner
Today’s Golden Peacock Award winner.It Doesn’t Get Any Chicer Than Christine Centenera’s Gray Blazer at London Fashion Week
The chicest look of the first day of London Fashion Week.Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey Are Having the Time of Their Lives in New Zealand
They’re filming A Wrinkle in Time.How I Get It Done: Eileen Fisher, Founder of the Eponymous Sustainable Basics Clothing Line
On employing one mantra to reduce stress, logging off on the weekends, and how being the boss has changed her.Ask a Boss: Should I Try to Act Older at Work?
Act like your age is a nonissue, and others will take your cue.Why Solange’s Stylist Can’t Stop Buying This Drugstore Moisturizer
Shiona Turini on her beauty routine and her secret celebrity facialist.Three Former U.S. Gymnasts Speak Out About Doctor’s Alleged Sexual Abuse
They publicly opened up about the alleged abuse for the first time on 60 Minutes.Burberry Is Against Selfie Makeup, But Not Lip Contour
Not like Kylie.
Model-rescuer is the new model-DJ.Kanye West Was Not Happy With the Jacket He Had to Wear in Anchorman 2
The world’s fussiest man strikes again.Lindsay Lohan Says She Was Racially Profiled for Wearing a Headscarf While Traveling From Turkey
“How would another woman who doesn’t feel comfortable taking off her headscarf feel?”Teen Suicide Attempts in the U.S. Decreased After Same-Sex Marriage Was Legalized
A new study links same-sex marriage policies to decreased teen suicide attempts.Hijab-Wearing Yeezy Model Halima Aden Covers the New Issue of CR Fashion Book
Paris Jackson also scored a cover.The ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ Music Video Is Katy Perry’s 1984
A nightmarish dystopian vision.The Supreme-Branded Metrocard Is Here
How hypebeasts ride the train.George Clooney Says He’s ‘Really Excited’ to Have Twins at Age 56
George spoke to the press about Amal’s pregnancy for the first time.The Knitwear Maven Building a Creative Community
Autumn Hruby is the founder of clothing brand and art-literary journal Hesperios.The Single Guy Who’s Pretty Sure He Split the Bill
This week’s sex diary.