Iconic Stylist Misa Hylton on Why Fragrance Is Part of Her Fashion Story

We spoke with the creative genius behind your favorite '90s hip hop looks.

Misa Hylton

MCM

Misa Hylton is known as the "architect" for a reason. The celebrity stylist does more than put-together outfits—she creates fashion icons. In her 30-year career, she's worked with music legends on some of their most memorable looks. Lil Kim's seminal purple suit at the 1999 VMAs? Hylton. Beyonce's custom MCM leather bustier in Apesh*t? Also Hylton. With '90s style back in full force, you can thank Misa Hylton for the throwback aesthetic taking over your Instagram feed.

No sartorial detail escapes Misa Hylton, so it goes without saying that fragrance is a huge part of her image-making process. As part of her daily routine, Hylton sets the mood for every look with a scent. "It's not just what people look like, but how they feel, what they smell like," she shares. Most recently, she curated an exclusive collection with Macy’s through its Icons of Style project. "It’s very bright, bold, and colorful," the designer tells us. "Paired with the new MCM Eau de Parfum ($80), my designs and patterns make you feel happy, colorful, and summery."

Read on for details on Misa Hylton's signature scent, MCM's new fragrance, and how she sets a mood.

On Her Signature Scent

"I would describe my favorite fragrances as alluring, inviting, and a part of my fashion story."

On MCM's First Fragrance

"I love the fact that it is a unisex fragrance. It was created to be bold, rebellious, and everything that MCM stands for. The notes of the raspberry, apricot, jasmine, and sandalwood were all sourced responsibly and sustainably. The backpack design of the fragrance is paying homage to the iconic MCM backpack, so it creates this synergy between fashion and the fragrance."

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On Scent Memories

"Well, the first fragrance that I wore was my mom's Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds perfume. It's funny to think back at the mirrored perfume trays that were filled with so many wonderful fragrances—between my mom, my grandmother, and my auntie. It’s a pleasant part of my childhood.  

My grandmother wore Guerlain Paris Shalimar Eau de Parfum ($110) that was legendary back in the day—that was some OG stuff right there. My grandmother also wore a lot of Estee Lauder products and perfumes. 

Cacharel Anais Anais L'Original Eau De Toilette ($38) was another perfume that is nostalgic for me. When I had a little money, I would treat myself to Body Shop perfume oils like White Musk ($20) and Juniper."

On Her First Perfume

"The first perfume that I bought was probably Chanel No. 5 ($138). When I got into fashion, I was like 'I want Chanel perfume'. Yeah, it's kind of heavy, especially for a 20-year-old. My second bottle was Dior J'Adore ($135) and that was my sh*t!"

On Scent Layering 

"I have five staple perfumes in my collection that I layer and mix."

On Self-Care and Self-Image

"Fragrance is part of self-care and womanhood. It is also part of your image. When I'm creating I take in consideration that it's not just about the look, but the whole experience."

On Creating a Mood

"[Fragrance] is more of a mood thing for me. I have fragrances that I wear in the spring and summer. Then there are fragrances that I wear in the Winter. It depends on my mood and the season. 

It also depends on the colors I'm wearing. So even if it is summer and I'm wearing a deep red or burgundy, I might go for something that smells warm. I think that the scent enhances the look."

On Working with Mary J. Blidge

"I can tell you that Mary J. Blige has a signature scent that you always smell whether you’re at her house, giving her a hug, or picking up her jacket. It's embedded in my memory and it just reminds me of everything about her. She had it for as long as I've known her, and I'm always like, ‘Girl, do you still wear the same perfume?’ 

That's the power of fragrance. It's like a part of our story, it’s a part of who we are."

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