Rachel Zoe Loves the Smell of Burnt Matches and Licorice

A scent or smell I love that others usually don’t: I love the smell of black licorice and fennel, that anise seed. Next up is stylist and designer Rachel Zoe, who recently launched her first-ever fragrance collection. I grew up skiing from a very young age, in very cold, snowy places like Colorado, and there would always be fireplaces burning. Heartbreak or loss smells like: Stale, sunken, complete darkness, with no light. I also use a lot of clean products on my face. The worst smell is: I have to tell you, I have the most sensitive sense of hearing, and the most sensitive sense of smell, so I smell things people don’t even smell. One of them would certainly be fertilizer, and I really hate the smell of gasoline. I put on a lot of serums that have essential oils, and that’s always the most calming thing to go to sleep with. My first scent memory is: Definitely this great, smoky, cedar, fireplace-y, cold weather, snow smell. Regret smells like: The inside of a volcano. A wardrobe of four distinct scents, Warrior (tuberose musk), Empowered (sweet vanilla woods), Instinct (bergamot musk), and Fearless (cedarwood rose with coconut), the collection is intended to help you get dressed depending on your mood. I never want to smell too fragrant. It gives you that spa feeling before bed. I have different candles, and different oils, and different things around the house that mix with some flowers that always permeate from outside — fresh garden roses, gardenia, bougainvillea, and jasmine, things like that. Happiness smells like: That smell of my kids. Love smells like: Being up in the air, flying. I like eucalyptus, which is very calming and nice to breathe in. Friendship smells like: Fresh air and brunch. By Erica Smith

Rachel Zoe. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Zoe Fragrance

Scientific studies confirm that, of all the senses, smell offers the best recall. They just smell good. Once you realize the house isn’t burning down, and you’re like, Wait, ok, everything’s fine. It smells sweet, almost like French toast, and really, really rich at the same time, like a nice glass of wine. I smell like: People always tell me that I have a scent, and I’m like, what does that mean? I’ve had regrets, and it kind of makes you feel like you’re sinking in quicksand or trapped in lava. It’s funny, I was just skiing, and every time I go, it’s that specific scent that still brings me back to growing up, being in the snow, and skiing with my family. It’s that fresh smell from when they’re babies, and they’re still little enough where they just smell so fresh and pure. My ideal vacation smells like: An amazing tropical oil, with coconut or sandalwood. It’s overwhelming. Flying over places like the Colorado mountains or the Grand Canyon, uncorrupt and untouched nature. “You smell like Rachel.” What does that mean? It all combines, and whenever I walk in, I know it’s home. It smells like being at St. My home smells like: A lot of really earthy smells — cedar, tuberose, a little sandalwood, a little musk. Rachel Zoe Signature Fragrance


Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Zoe Fragrance


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Buy I know this sounds so crazy, but it probably smells like whatever those environments in a lot of U2 videos smell like. I love that smell. I would say that I always smell fresh. Whenever I say how much I love it, people are like ugggh … I also love the smell of basil, but I don’t know if that’s one people are repulsed by. Barts and just rubbing everything they have on the island all over yourself. And like I said, thankfully, they still smell fresh and innocent and pure and delicious. I think it works for you or against you. It’s that smell of pure happiness and innocence. You want to get out, and you want make it stop, but you can’t. The first thing I smell in the morning: My children. Hugh & Grace is one of my favorites. Literally. They have to get close. I love a burnt match; the smell right after you blow it out. If you ask any mom, it’s that fresh baby smell, it’s like the purest form of life. It smells like lava. I like a mild clean scent though, where people will say hello to you, and they’re like, “Oh, you smell good.” Not like, they’re way over there and they say you smell good, you know what I mean? In “Scent Memories,” the Cut asks people about the scents they associate with different times in their lives. I like a bit of a powdery feeling, and I’m usually wearing notes of tuberose, musk, and gardenia; earthy meets floral, not too girly. They just do. Success smells like: Diamonds, if they had a smell. It’s completely clean, and their night serum and their oil are just amazing. You see sky, you see ocean, you see sunsets, and you get that full feeling of utter love and contentment, because you see the most beauty in the world. That smoky, warm fireplace smell is what made me realize there was a strong association between scent and an experience — that smell was really something that can transport you. There’s something so extraordinary about that. I love to use products that I can use on both of us because they’re that clean. When I was pregnant, it was extra bad. The Cut caught up with Zoe to talk fire places, french toast, and where to find the best mosquito repellent. It smells like things you catch up over. The last thing I smell before I go to bed: A chamomile mint tea, which is very fragrant. Even their mosquito repellent smells amazing—just natural oils that repels the mosquitos. I use them on myself and on my kids. When you look out, and you see forever.

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