In true Carolina Herrera form, the launch of the brand’s latest scent, ‘Good Girl’, was held in an understatedly elegant, four-story 1920s mansion on New York’s Upper East Side.
However, the space inside the splendid brownstone, peppered with stout glass vases filled with white peonies for the occasion, the brand’s biggest fragrance launch in 14 years, suggested a slightly different, more risqué side of the ever-evolving Herrera empire. This is first realized when your eyes meet the sleek ‘Good Girl’ bottle, shaped like a deep-blue stiletto with a towering gold heel.
“We played around with the shape, texture, color, and material of the shoe until we came to this final blue stiletto design. Initially, there were all sorts of shoes that we tested for the bottle. There were Cinderella slippers, which literally looked like Cinderella had just lost her shoe. I hated it. What we wanted was a shoe that was not only elegant but also playful and naughty,” explains Carolina Herrera de Báez, creative director of Carolina Herrera’s House of Fragrances, as we sit across from each other on velvet couches on the second floor of the historical mansion.
“A woman who loves her good side but celebrates her bad side” is at the core of ‘Good Girl’, according to Báez, with the concept based on the duality of all women. “This mystery is an important quality,” she explains. The notes of the fragrance reflect a woman’s “good” or “light” side through facets of tuberose and jasmine sambac, while roasted tonka beans and cocoa invite a more heady, darker olfactory experience. “I think the Middle Eastern woman has a lot of this duality. She has the perfect balance of mystery,” replies Báez when I ask how the perfume is relevant for our market.
The ad campaign, in keeping with this ethos, stars six-foot-tall supermodel Karlie Kloss and celebrates the idea of a woman’s versatility. In it, Kloss wears one of the brand’s signature white shirts, which is both “very Carolina Herrera the brand, but also very Carolina Herrera the woman” according to Báez.
“I love that, depending on how you wear the white shirt, you can totally change its meaning. There’s such a versatility to a white shirt, whether you choose to roll up your sleeves, roll down your sleeves, knot it, leave it open, button it up, tuck it in, or untuck it. Depending on how you wear your white shirt, it says something totally different about you.”
I find myself wondering if there really is a dark side to the sweet, peppy model who seems to be the poster child for good behavior. How does Kloss play into Herrera’s universe of duality? A few minutes later, she steps into the room with a bag of her signature cookies before we begin our interview. What could be sweeter than that?
“I’ve been thinking about this. I don’t think I have enough of a naughty side, but I love the spirit of this fragrance and the attitude of duality. I love that there can be this elegant, graceful woman who has a sophisticated core and is such a tastemaker… but as you get to know her, you realize she has this other side as well. I just think that duality exists in a lot of women. I think it’s something that women of all ages can identify with. I certainly can identify with it,” Kloss explains.
Perhaps we’ll never really know the truth behind Kloss’ darker side, but we love that ‘Good Girl’ prompted us to ask the question.