I’m on a lavish balcony overlooking the wide, tree-lined avenue of the Champs-Elysées on a picture-perfect day in Paris. Appropriately, in keeping with this fairytale-like moment, I’m at the headquarters of the legendary Lolita Lempicka, the French fashion designer and perfume creator who practically bottles magic as a vocation.
I have been invited to the French capital to discover Elle L’aime, the latest playfully feminine fragrance from the Lolita Lempicka perfume house. What’s more, I have the opportunity to uncover the dreamy and fantastical narratives that inspire Lempicka, which fascinatingly range from the female protagonist of Vladimir Nabokav’s novel to the work of Polish Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka.
Standing in her rococo offices, Lempicka looks exactly like the femme fatale you would imagine is at the helm of the provocative and powerful Lolita Lempicka brand. Her hair is coifed in a chic power blowout falling a few inches above her shoulders. She’s petite and lean, and the two colors that immediately strike me are the emerald green of her two-piece suit and her ruby red lipstick. She’s nailed a vixen-meets-pared-back-chic look, a difficult style feat to pull off.
“This new fragrance expresses the story of a magnificent love. The power and the delicious thrill of being in love,” Lempicka explains. As I quickly discover, Elle L’aime seems divined from love, with the concept materialized in every detail of the fragrance, from its romantic golden carafe to its sumptuous mix of Vanilla, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Neroli, Lime, and Bergamont created by the world-renowned perfumers Christine Nagel and Serge Majoullier.
In our interview below, Lempicka talks about her latest fragrance, her fashion line, fairy tales, and her lucky charm.
I’ve been wearing your perfume since I was 16 years old. It’s my signature fragrance and what all my friends and family know me by. How does it make you feel to know you are part of someone’s day-to-day routine?
Enthusiasm and passion have driven the creation of my first fragrance. Its impact on so many women touches me a lot. It gives sense to my work and convinces me to give everything to my creations.
It’s been said that you were inspired by fairy tales as a little girl. Tell us about that experience and how it has shaped your career.
When I was a child and a teenager, I loved to invent stories through drawings; and that’s what I actually continue to do through my fashion and fragrance creations.
What was the original inspiration behind your signature ivy leaf symbol?
“I attach myself or I die”. It is my emblem and my lucky charm.
Your three daughters play a large role in your company. How has being part of a family business like yours helped you succeed?
My daughters inherited the artistic fiber from me. Thanks to their generation, they bring freshness, difference, and novelty to our brand.
Tell us about the new fragrance. What was the inspiration behind it?
The story of my new fragrance was present at the heart of my name since forever: ‘L’ for Lolita, ‘Lem’ for Lempicka (“L Lem”) or “Elle L’Aime”, meaning “She loves” in French.
What are the bottom notes and top notes in the perfume? Who do you imagine will wear it?
For Elle L’Aime, I wanted to reinvent an imaginary flower in an incandescent white floral bouquet. Two talented perfumers, Christine Nagel and Serge Majoullier, imagined a carnal flower with a specific texture and a lot of naturality: a “Coconut Flower” infused with sensuous Jasmine and precious Myrrh.
You’ve been known to collaborate with all types of companies, from Nissan to Samsung to lingerie brand Etam and gourmet chocolate brand Bonneterre. How do you manage to be so diversified yet so consistently creative?
What I love above all is to imprint my style in everything I touch; it boosts my energy.
How is the process of designing ready-to-wear collections different from the creation of a perfume? Is there one process you prefer more than the other? And do you see yourself as a clothing designer or perfume creator first?
I started with fashion, but the perfume universe has always made me dream. I have a real passion for fragrances. When creating a perfume, you have to be always more ambitious and at the closest to the brand’s universe. A perfume defies time; it is the expression of a brand’s soul.
You’ve managed a feat few other perfume creators or even large brands do: your perfume has managed to stay on the top list of best-selling perfumes for years and years. What do you attribute this long-running success to?
I imagined my first fragrance with the intention to make it last forever; it is the essence of my brand. I drew inspiration from my deepest childhood memories and tastes to give this creation its personal and bewitching charm.
Finally, as one of the world’s most successful female entrepreneurs, what advice can you give to young women about to embark on their first business venture? Any words of wisdom that helped your rise to the top?
Dream one’s life and live one’s dreams. To be confident in one’s talent and believe in life.
Elle L’aime will be sold in Areej and Paris Gallery from the second week of October.