Fragrance Wardrobe: Michelle Pfeiffer on the Perfume Equivalent to a Comfy Pair of Sweats

Michelle Pfeiffer

Your perfume isn’t just how you smell—it’s how you feel. Usually, it's an accessory to how you present yourself to the world, but these days, it can serve as a source of comfort and nostalgia during days spent at home. In the upcoming weeks, we're sharing a new version of Fragrance Wardrobe, our series in collaboration with The Fragrance Foundation that highlights the rotating perfume “wardrobes” of tastemakers through key points in their life. In this new take, we'll be asking them to share their favorite scents through the lens of comfort and their at-home routine. Get to know them better via the scents they choose to wear during this uncertain time.

No one expected Michelle Pfeiffer to create a fragrance line, but then again, she's never been one to do what's expected. Over the past forty-some years, Pfeiffer has portrayed some of the most eclectic, iconic roles in movie history, but it wasn't until last year that she took on a new career-first: that of a perfume brand founder. Her line, Henry Rose (a conjunction of her son and daughter's middle names), seeks to be make gender-neutral, clean and transparent fragrance the new normal. In an industry that's largely unregulated when it comes to the thousands of murky ingredients housed under the umbrella term "fragrance"—many of which are proven to be toxic and harmful to the human body—Pfeiffer worked closely with Environmental Working Group, Cradle to Cradle, and International Flavors and Fragrances to create a luxurious line founded in transparency. "My approach to fragrance has been quite complex," she tells Byrdie. "I’ve always loved fragrance, and when I set out to create Henry Rose, I wanted to make something that I felt safe wearing that also felt premium. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice one for another."

The result is a sleek, tightly-edited line of fine fragrances that feels at once both universally appealing and deeply reflective of Pfeiffer herself. "Scent is so closely tied to memory for so many people, and each Henry Rose fragrance is derived from different scent memories I had growing up," she explains. The scent Jake's House, for example, is an homage to Pfeiffer's visits to her grandfather's house. We caught up with Pfeiffer and asked about the scents in her current Fragrance Wardrobe—from her perfume-equivalent of her cozy sweatsuit to the smell she'll always associate with this time of quarantine. Keep scrolling to read Pfieffer's Fragrance Wardrobe.

The fragrance you remember most as a child: 

"My first and most vivid scent memory was my neighbor’s night blooming jasmine in their yard. I knew exactly the time of day that the aroma was strongest, and I would sneak out of the house, cross the street, and just stand under the vines next to their front door, sniffing."

The first fragrance you bought for your fragrance wardrobe: 

"The first fragrance that I bought was Heaven Scent. It was my signature scent when I was a teenager and I just loved it. I still remember exactly what it smells like: light, airy and fresh, which is a testament to just how strongly scent is linked to memory."

The fragrance you wore when you fell in love: 

"When my husband and I fell in love I was wearing a vanilla fragrance that he loved. I still love vanilla and so does he. It’s a very creamy, rich scent, but it’s always best when it’s mixed with a little something else."

If your WFH outfit had a scent, it would smell like:  

"Dark roast coffee. The early morning sun on your face." 

Your comfy pair of sweats fragrance: 

"Torn from Henry Rose brings me comfort. It’s my favorite scent from our line and it reminds me of my dad. There’s something about vanilla that is really comforting for a lot of people. They say it’s a lot of people’s favorite scent and that it brings back memories of youth." 

Your "goes with everything" fragrance: 

"Jake’s House from Henry Rose. It’s our best-seller, but scent is also such a personal thing and it really depends on your preference. A 'goes with everything scent' is different for everyone. Some people will find their scent at some point in their lives and that’s it, while others like to switch it up. I always suggest Queens & Monsters for evening, Fog, Last Light or Jake’s House for daytime."

The scent/smell you’ll associate with this time: 

"I live in Los Angeles and I’m an early riser. Sometimes before the sun comes up, I take my dog out right at sunrise. The sky literally shimmers and the air has never smelled so fresh. I wish I could bottle it and create a new scent. I’m not quite sure what I would call it."

Related Stories