Barneys New York has bottled jeweler Irene Neuwirth’s carefree California cool in a new limited-edition fragrance hitting the department store’s beauty counters this week.
Neuwirth follows Greg Lauren and L’Wren Scott as the third participant in Barneys’ designer fragrance collection series, and she takes the series in a different, lighthearted direction. Inspired by Neuwirth’s memories of summers at the beach as a girl, the self-titled white floral fragrance contains notes of neroli, orange flower, jasminum sambac, rose, coconut, vanilla and musk. Priced at $195, only 3,000 units of the 3.4-oz. eau de parfum will be produced.
“I love both of the other fragrances, but they, to me, smell a little more serious and, for lack of a better word, grown up,” said Neuwirth, elaborating, “My favorite scent of all time is Coppertone. It is my childhood to a T. I wanted it to smell beachy in that way, but I wanted it to be a little more sophisticated smelling. It’s not exactly Coppertone. It has a little bit of rose, a little bit of coconut, and it smells really delicious.”
Daniella Vitale, chief operating officer and senior executive vice president of Barneys New York, commended the fragrance for accomplishing what the department store and the jeweler set out to achieve. “We wanted a fragrance that was subtle like Irene herself, but packaging with the vibrancy of her jewelry,” she said. “It is a beautiful scent evoking a Southern California vibe. Every time I smell it, I cannot help but smile. I think the customer will feel the same.”
Topped with a hefty gold cube and bearing Neuwirth’s logo as well as Barneys’ logo, Neuwirth emphasized her objective for the bottle was for it not to be “overdesigned.” “I wanted it to be the way the fragrance smells and the jewelry looks, which is clean and modern and feminine,” she said. The box is awash in purple and blue shades to resemble an opal, one of Neuwirth’s favorite stones. “It looks like the bottom of the sea, and it tied in perfectly,” she explained.
Barneys New York will celebrate Neuwirth’s contribution to its designer fragrance collection series on Tuesday with a party at a private residence in the Los Angeles neighborhood Venice, where Neuwirth works and lives. Although it is Neuwirth’s first foray into beauty, she doesn’t believe it will be her last. She envisions a future for her brand in fragrance and perhaps branching beyond that in beauty into lotions, candles and so on. Enlarging her brand’s presence in the beauty category could expand Neuwirth’s distribution from the tight network of around 12 stores that stock her jewelry.
“Jewelry is not affordable to many, and I think it’s nice for people to get a piece of what we get to do for a fraction of the cost,” she said.
Barneys New York initiated the designer fragrance collection in late 2012 to bring exclusive and rare items to its beauty assortment, according to Vitale. “We were not finding enough in fragrance, so why not create something beautiful with all of these talented designers that we carry?” she said. The department store has already chosen its next subject for the collection, but Vitale wouldn’t disclose the designer. However, talking generally about the process of selecting one, she said, “We pick designers who are more exclusive and who we think will understand the process of how to create a scent.”