In light of Gwyneth Paltrow's first ever fragrance, Edition 01, I took a quick poll around the office and asked my fellow coworkers what they imagine eau de Goop smells like.
"Earth," one said.
"Fresh grass, lavender, and expensive French linens," said another.
"Apple," says a third. Har har.
What's your guess? Natural, herby, and fruity seemed like safe bets, but I learned today, at a launch for the fragrance (and accompanying candle with the same scent), that Douglas Little, the "nose" behind this fragrance, took all of Gwyneth's notes for what she'd like her scent to smell like and drew some very surprising inspiration.
"She said, 'I'd like to show you some things that inspire me,'" Little explains. "And in my head, Gwyneth is like this incredible beauty—she's California to me, she's all of these wonderful adjectives—sunny and bright—and I anticipated that she was going to come back to me and say, 'Let's do something that's spun around grapefruit.' Then all of a sudden, she was pulling out these fragrances—these wonderful sexy church fragrances—insence and all of these kinds of evocative fragrances, and I was like, Really? So it's like that?"
"That's my other side," Gwyneth chimed in. Oh yeah, Her Goopness was there too, dressed flawlessly in an all-white dress, perhaps a nod to her "sexy church" scent.
But aside from making GP's winter blend—the first of a series of fragrances inspired by all four seasons—smell like a sensual cathedral, Little and Paltrow wanted to create a natural fragrance without the toxic elements of a regular synthetic celeb perfume—or any perfume, for that matter.
"We wanted to create a fragrance that isn't harmful, especially to our daughters who are growing and developing, and I think we really all deserve that. I think back to all those years of spraying synthetic fragrance right here [pointing to the area behind her ears]." Paltrow says, shaking her head.
So why don't more companies take this into account and replace their synthetic ingredients with more skin-friendly blends?
"It all comes down to dollars and cents," Little says.
"We just make less money," Paltrow adds. "The margins in synthetic fragrance are insane and ours are like a normal margin, but it's beyond worth it."
In addition to being easy on your skin, this blend of frankincense, vanilla, cypress, juniper, and styrax tree bark (among other gorgeous woody notes) is made with essential oils suspended in organic sugar cane alcohol. But they're not just any essential oils, they actually help heal.
"There are incredibly healing powers in flowers, herbs, barks, and plants," Gwyneth says. "We hired this amazing woman to take us through the fragrances and tell us what the healing properties are, so it's good for meditation, antidepression, there's an aphrodisiac in there…"
"There's also an element that will help you get over old lovers," a Goop colleague adds.
Witchcraft? Maybe. Perhaps it's the spiritual "church" element, too. Whatever it is, it smells intoxicating and we're totally hooked. Amen.
Sign up for early access to get Gwyneth's fragrance ($165) and candle ($72) here.
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