Beauty


Decades can be embodied by beauty trends, fashion silhouettes—and yes, specific scents, too. The ’90s, for instance, instantly conjure memories of clean, minimal CK One wafting through the air. What does today smell like? That’s a question Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have been mulling over since 2015, when they first signed a deal with L’Oréal to develop a fragrance. The newly launched Arizona ($100) is their answer.

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“What defines this moment in time right now? What lives on?” McCollough wondered aloud when we met the duo at their Soho store. Hernandez chimed in, “The focus on the self, and grounding, individuality—all those elements feel very today. And very universal. How do we feel more connected to the world?”

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler Arizona Eau de Parfum, $100; saks.com

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Arizona has a sweet, but not saccharine, floral scent created from the dessert’s elements. This isn’t your average rose or gardenia—there’s white cactus flower and creamy orris accord. There are also notes of torch cactus, which blossoms only once a year.

Ahead, the duo talk more about collaborating on Arizona, collecting crystals, and the books they recently picked up when they finally took breaks from their phones.

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Why “Arizona”?

Lazaro Hernandez: We were on a road trip out west. At some point, we had no reception and our cellphones weren’t working, our computers weren’t working. We were off the grid. It was such a beautiful experience to disconnect—some would say it’s scary. For us, it’s really beautiful to have no choice but be present, by yourself, with your sketchbook, and to connect again to the world and your thoughts. That experience started the whole dialogue for this fragrance.

Proenza Schouler

What kind of research or preparation goes into making a fragrance?

JM: Going into this, we asked L’Oréal to learn everything we could about scent, fragrance, minerals—we wanted to smell everything to understand our tools. They brought in all these pure smells like tuberose, jasmine, patchouli, and musk. Then, they took us through the history of fragrance. We smelled things as old as Queen Elizabeth I’s fragrance. We smelled from the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s…

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LH: It’s interesting to look at how you could “smell” the time you really get a more complete picture about what that time felt like.

How is collaborating on a fragrance different from collaborating on a collection?

LH: It’s totally different. Our clothing collection is very much about a moment in time. We have two a year. It’s specific to what we feel is interesting or relevant or right for that time. A fragrance is something that lasts for forever. It’s for a broader audience, so it’s got to be more universal.

Proenza Schouler

The bottle design is inspired by crystals—do you collect them?

Jack McCullough and LH: We do!

Any favorites?

JM: We have a lot that are three different minerals grown together. The names we couldn’t tell you.

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LH: The “cube” ones are incredible. It’s like a perfect cube growing off the side of the rock. It’s so incredible—this happens naturally. It’s pyrite, no?

JM: It’s a pyrite cube. It’s crazy that it’s a natural forming. Isn’t that wild?

When you’re working together, how do you reach compromises?

JM: I think of all the senses, scent is the most linked to memory of all your senses. Lazaro might’ve liked something but it reminded me of something from my past I didn’t like. Or, something I thought was okay reminded him of a product his mom used in the ’80s. It’s all very subjective, but we got to a place where we feel 100 percent confident of this being the one.

If Arizona were a clothing design, what would it look like?

LH: We looked back at every single collection and narrowed it down to find the the thru-lines: something very artisanal, handmade, mixed with this idea of innovation, pushing boundaries, and technology. Arizona is the body of work of Proenza Schouler since its infancy.

JM: The bottle is a very refined, classic silhouette but also a little broken, a little undone. That’s how we describe our girl. Even if she is refined, she’s always wearing it in a broken, undone kind of nonchalant kind of way. There’s an ease about her so we wanted the bottle to encapsulate that.

Arizona came to fruition when you were removed from technology—what’s the first thing you do when you don’t have WiFi?

LH: That’s hard to find these days! You’ve gotta hope there’s going to be no WiFi. It’s kind of not an excuse anymore—”Sorry I didn’t get back to your email, I didn’t have WiFi!” Bullshit—there’s WiFi everywhere.

JM: Last week in Costa Rica we read a book. We haven’t sat down and read a book beginning to end in a while. We read books day to day.

LH: I read the Fire and Fury tell-all of the first year of the Trump administration. These people didn’t know there was a reporter among them—at every meeting! That book was crazy. I was riveted like oh my god.

Did you read the same book?

JM: No, I’m reading Home Adieux. It’s this kind of Oxford philosopher-professor who’s also a futurist. I’m still reading—it’s really long. It’s basically just how the future of humanity is based on the past. It’s really intense.

So much of how we communicate now is online. If you could describe the other as an emoji, what would it be?

LH: Jack would be the eyeroll.

JM: I would? Really? Is that my vibe? You’d be that little nerd emoji with the glasses.



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