Rebecca Minkoff On Creating Her Signature Scent

Courtesy of Cass Bird for Rebecca Minkoff
Rebecca Minkoff Eau de Parfum campaign imagery.

Before designer Rebecca Minkoff could create the very first Rebecca Minkoff Eau de Parfum, she asked herself a series of questions revolving around scent. "What do I actually like and hate? What does my customer like and love?" she tells The Zoe Report over the phone. Then, if you closed your eyes and "had to imagine the sort of virtues of Rebecca Minkoff," the "boho rock" and "hard and soft element" — "how do we capture that with a note?"

To achieve this, the designer paired up with two perfumers — Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Linda Song of Givaudan — to create a scent that flutters between traditionally gendered notes: tobacco, cardamom, bergamot, jasmine, tonka, and more. "Rebecca Minkoff EDP is a take on 'chiaroscuro,' a seamless yet strongly defined encounter between darkness and light, masculine and feminine," Rodrigo explained in a press release.

Nevertheless, the $95 fragrance was formulated with subtlety in mind, toning down the initial top note. Minkoff notes how she hates when you can smell a perfume (or, more typically, a cologne) before you "get within six feet" of a person. "Just like my bag, it's like the woman who wears them isn't signifying a big plaque or metal plate that shows how much she paid, she's really showing off her style, and so I really wanted the fragrance to mirror that," she explains. "Like when you hug her or when you give her a kiss on the cheek, you begin to have the sense. Sort of be like, oh, what's that?"

Courtesy of Cass Bird for Rebecca Minkoff

And similar to how the scent reflects Rebecca Minkoff's signature accessory line, the bottle itself features fluted edges, "meant to sort of be reminiscent of our best-selling bags, which happen to be quilted," says Minkoff. "We wanted to give you something that you were truly proud to have on your beauty stand wherever that be, or your medicine cabinet."

Still, for a gorgeous bottle, finely tuned scent, and a laundry list of attributes — the bottle is refillable, the fragrance is vegan and made without animal testing — $95 might seem shockingly affordable. This is on purpose, too. Minkoff says she "couldn't believe what some people pay" after auditing where other brands' perfume price points were, even if a luxury fragrance can be "far cheaper" than the accessories a designer brand is known for.

Courtesy of Cass Bird for Rebecca Minkoff

"You know, my customer comes to me to celebrate these incredible milestones. Whether her purchase of my bags is her first accessible luxury experience out of fast fashion, or she just got a raise at her first job, or later on in life she's having a baby or she's getting a divorce. And every single customer I meet has these like, I first got your bag when. And I didn't want the price of the fragrance to be something that's like, she had to choose between that and a bag," the designer explains. "I wanted it to be something that she was like, I get a piece of this brand, it smells amazing, and I can still eat at night."

Shop the new Rebecca Minkoff Eau de Parfum below, available as of Aug. 4.

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