Love for Leila Lou
With the memory of Mother’s Day still fresh in our minds (here in Australia and in the US, at least), it seems like a good time to introduce you to make-up artist, fragrance creator and mum-of-two Rosie Johnston. Why? Oh, only because she named her first fragrance, Leila Lou, after her eldest daughter, who will soon turn five. As maternal acts go, that one’s certainly poetic.
Australian-born Rosie had been living in LA and working with an enviable roster of celebrity clients when she decided she needed a new scent – strictly for personal use.
“So I sat down with a girlfriend who has a very vague knowledge of oil, we had a couple of glasses of wine and I said, ‘I want you to make me a fragrance,’” Rosie told me when I met her at Kit Cosmetics in Sydney last week. “I knew what I wanted – something a little fruity, a little sweet. We kind of played around and got it.”
After 18 months of fielding requests from friends and clients, Rosie made her personal fragrance available to everyone. “A little fruity and a little sweet” is a good way of summing it up. “The pear hits you right away and then it will burn off and also be the base note,” Rosie explains. “There’s jasmine, tangerine, nectarine, fresh cut grass, which gives that real green note to make it fresher and cut through the sweetness. I like a sweet fragrance, but I don’t like a candy-sweet fragrance.”
The starting point for the notes, she says, was very personal. “When I was growing up, my mum wore Anais Anais and Arpège [by Lanvin] and I knew that I loved a little floral. And I think the fruitiness – the tangerines and nectarines and pear – comes from being Australian.” There’s definitely a familiarity about it, not to mention a radiance that helps compensate for these brisk autumn days.
Available at Kit Cosmetics, the Leila Lou line began with a roll-on oil and now includes a body lotion and candle; a new EDP spray will be sold through Kit from July (signing on with the cult retailer was, says Rosie, “probably the most thrilling point of my career”).
I put it to her that with younger daughter Matilda having just turned two, it can’t be long before she’s asking for a scent of her own. “Oh, she already asking now!” she laughs. “And hers is already in development. It will be out in the US in March and it’s called Tilly. It will be much more beachy and less floral. It’s more aromatic, a real experience.” A real experience? Sounds a bit like motherhood, then.