Reem Acra Perfume
Designer Reem Acra temporarily put aside glamorous frocks and swoon-worthy bridal gowns in favor of something a bit more appealing to the olfactory glands. She's set to launch her first fragrance, Reem Acra Eau de Parfum, this October, and whether you're searching for a down-the-aisle bottle or something for everyday, she's confident this'll be the one. ELLE.com chatted with her by phone to find out how her childhood in the forests of Lebanon affected the resulting scent's notes of amber, orange blossom, and jasmine.
ELLE: How long has the idea of having a perfume been in your mind?
Reem Acra: I'm sure that everyone who goes into fashion always dreams of having a perfume since it completes the brand and exposes it in a different way. I've always had it in my mind, but have been waiting
for the right moment. I've been in business for 15 years and have a lot of fans out there that maybe got married in Reem Acra, and I know they wanted something they could wear every single day.
ELLE: How did you decide that this was the time to launch?
RA: It's always a combination of many things and is hard to pinpoint [the exact moment]. I was ready. It was as simple as that. I was ready and mature as a brand, and I think my fans were ready for something new.
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ELLE: A lot of your ready-to-wear is created for special occasions, whether for a bride's special day or a big event. Do you see the perfume as being a complement to that?
RA: I hope every bride wears it on her wedding day, but I'm sure she'd want to wear it all the time, too. I hope they wear it, because I know they'll get addicted.
ELLE: You talk about your fans a lot. Have you had the opportunity to meet your woman in person? Who is she?
RA: There's not really a huge age range. As you know, all women at all ages do not feel their ages anymore. The young girl feels older, and the older woman feels younger. My collection can be worn by different age groups because it has a modern attitude but classical refinement, and I think the perfume has the same feeling. Young girls fell in love with it. My older crowd fell in love with it. It's hard to combine all ages, but I think that's what I know to do best.
ELLE: What was the creation process like? Did it take a while?
RA: Anything that works well or has long-term success is never [done quickly], but I was very true to myself and it didn't take me too long to figure out what the scent would be. I put my heart into it and combined everything from my past with anything that's me. I had a great perfumer and a great company behind me who understood me and translated all the elements from my past and my lifestyle. I spelled everything out. The amber, the orange blossom, the peony. I gave them a list of everything that's part of my life, and they were able to combine it in a way that made sense.
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ELLE: Can you identify what part of your life each of those ingredients is connected to?
RA: The amber is from when we were young. My three brothers and I used to go into the mountains and collect amber, and it happened to be a very specific type. It was the oldest amber in the world that contains insects! Hundreds of millions of years old, and part of our collection has been exhibited all over the world in museums. The American Museum of Natural History in New York, in Paris, in London. There's a whole history behind the amber. We lived with it, we had boxes of it under our beds and in our drawers. We breathed it all the time.
The orange blossom is because every morning I drink orange blossoms in my hot water. When I do my events, peonies are the first flower I think of, [so I included that]. I love the colors of them, between the reds and the pinks, and it's definitely related to my aesthetic. Jasmine is the tree that we had outside of our door, and ginger is something I eat all of the time. So really, as we go through the details, everything is a part of my life.
ELLE: Have you been wearing it non-stop since it was first bottled?
RA: Every day. More than once a day! I've run out of so many samples, and I keep asking for more. The funny thing is, when I'm talking on the street, people stop and ask me what it is. I think that's the most interesting thing because, wow, no one's stopped me before!
ELLE: That must be a nice way to interact directly with women.
RA: It's actually the men that follow me! How's that? I hope that the women who wear my perfume will have men all over them.
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