Meet Michael Kors' Lady in Red

What’s behind Sexy Ruby, the sumptuous new fragrance by Michael Kors? It’s the alluring spirit of the confident modern woman, the American designer says
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Michael Kors imagines his customer is always on the go – traveling, balancing friends, family and a career. “She needs a wardrobe that works for every aspect of her life,” he says. “Fragrance is a part of that wardrobe and I want to give her all the variations she needs for life today.”

That means, as with clothing, a gamut of perfume choices – which Michael Kors gladly indulges his customers with several new launches a year although it keeps him very busy. “From concept through to launch takes well over a year for each perfume. I’m very involved in every step, and I’m often working on more than one at a time. But meeting and talking with my customers and seeing them in my clothes or wearing my perfume makes all the long hours and late nights worth it.”

His latest is Sexy Ruby, which launches in Singapore this August. Lithuanian model Edita Vilkeviciute fronts the campaign for the new Michael Kors Sexy Ruby perfume, which opens with bright raspberry and apricot notes, and mellows to rose, moss crystal, cashmere wood and exotic Indian jasmine sambac.

Its seductive red bottle resembles a perfectly-cut gem, inspired by a ruby-coloured paperweight Kors owns. “The bottle needs to not only reflect the spirit of the scent, but also look great on your vanity. We wanted the bottle to resemble a perfectly cut gem. It’s dramatic, luxurious and instantly desirable,” says the designer, who shares his thoughts with L'Officiel Singapore.

What’s the one thing that you look for in every perfume you create?

I like to take something classic and give it a twist that makes it modern. We designers are always trying new things, and with fragrance you’re able to sort of treat it like you’re cooking and try a new recipe. I’ve always loved white flowers, so Sexy Ruby has some jasmine in it, but then I’ve added things to mix it up like apricot, pepper and vanilla bean.

Do your fragrances tie in with your fashion direction of the season?

Fragrance is more independent but I approach it the same way I do when I’m designing clothing. I want to create things that are glamorous and timeless, that can transcend the season or what’s “trending” at that specific moment.

And what does a perfume like Sexy Ruby do for you?

I like fragrances that have something a little sumptuous in them – like sandalwood or musk – that gives them depth. I’ve always found the surprise of those notes mixed with fruity and floral scents intriguing. Sexy Ruby has that perfect blend, while still being lighter and feminine in a way that makes it modern. I love how a scent can transport you to a different place or time. My mother always wore citrus scents like Aliage and my grandmother loved lush fragrances like Joy. I can’t smell either of these scents without thinking of them.


What's your connection with the colour red?

It's the colour of passion. There is nothing more glamorous than a bold and fiery red. The ruby is very opulent and indulgent, which makes it something truly powerful. On a personal level, red is an instant confidence boost. When a woman slips into something red, her energy totally changes.


What was most memorable about the process for Sexy Ruby?

We shot the campaign at Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” house in Rancho Mirage. It’s incredibly glamorous and iconic – we even got to visit the guest house where Marilyn Monroe stayed. It doesn’t get more memorable than that.


You launch several fragrances a year and have over 40 fragrances in all. How busy does the perfume line keep you?

Very busy! From concept through to launch takes well over a year for each one. I’m very involved in every step – from the composition of each scent to the colours, packaging and advertising – and I’m often working on more than one at a time. But meeting and talking with my customers and seeing them in my clothes or wearing my perfume makes all the long hours and late nights worth it.

You created your first fragrance in 2000, almost 20 years after launching your fashion line. Why did it take that long?

I’ve always loved fragrance but I had to make sure that if I was going to create one, it would be done right.

Do you think American fashion designers create perfumes quite differently from European houses?

I can’t speak for other designers, but I know that we approach fragrance as something to reflect and enhance your mood. I enjoy creating a wardrobe of fragrance for the modern woman that’s similar to the clothes I create – luxurious but functional, easy and clean but also, glamorous and indulgent.

Are your men’s fragrances created for yourself, or do you have male muses?

My rule for all things men’s is that I can’t or shouldn’t wear it all, but I have to want to. For men’s fragrance in particular, I think it’s important to balance masculine elements with a crisp, clean scent.


What’s your signature scent?

I don’t wear a fragrance every day but when I do I like Michael Kors Mens.


What’s your special-occasion perfume?

For special occasions, I always suggest jasmine – it’s one of my favourite scents. I love something that makes you feel as though you’ve been transported to a luxurious resort.


How men should wear their fragrances?

Keep it subtle!



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