Anya Taylor-Joy

PARIS — Almost 15 years after the launch of Flowerbomb, Viktor & Rolf is signing on its first celebrity face, actress Anya Taylor-Joy, to front the franchise’s newest scent, Flowerbomb Midnight, as well as the original fragrance.

The 22-year-old American-born British-Argentinian will appear in a campaign, directed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin that’s set to break in March.

Taylor-Joy this year will also appear in five movies, such as “The New Mutants,” an “X-Men” spin-off. Her breakout role was in Robert Eggers’ “The Witch” in 2015, which was followed by her acting in a slew of other movies, including in “Thoroughbreds,” “The Miniaturist” and “Split.”

She was nominated as a BAFTA rising star in 2017 and received the 2017 Chopard Trophy Award for promising young actor, plus the Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor 2016 prize.

“Anya fits perfectly with our vision, as she is not interested in fame, but rather the joy of her art,” artistic directors Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren jointly told WWD. “She embodies the message we want to share perfectly — she is sensual, mysterious and powerful all at once. To us, Anya reflects the determined, outspoken and self-aware woman impeccably.

“We met Anya in New York,” they continued. “She has amazing energy, is very in-the-moment and never misses a beat. Besides, she is a good laugh, very down-to-earth and, obviously, very charismatic and beautiful — as well as extremely talented.”

“Starring in both independent films and blockbusters, Anya is multidimensional and anything but predictable,” said Guillaume de Lesquen, international general manager, designer for brand fragrances at L’Oréal Luxe, Viktor & Rolf’s fragrance licensee.

Flowerbomb, which launched in 2015, drives the growth of the Viktor & Rolf fragrance business. The Flowerbomb franchise ranks sixth among prestige fragrance brands in the U.S. and 13th in the U.K. year-to-date as of December 2018, according to The NPD Group.

On Feb. 15, Flowerbomb Midnight was introduced exclusively on Viktor & Rolf’s fragrance e-commerce platform in the U.S., and on Feb. 19 on sephora.com in the U.S. The scent is set to be out starting March 1 in the U.K. exclusively in Debenhams. It will roll out to U.S. Sephora doors on March 7 and to the rest of the world between mid-March and early April.

While L’Oréal and Viktor & Rolf executives would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate Flowerbomb Midnight will generate $30 million in retail sales by the end of 2019.

“With Flowerbomb Midnight’s new scent and new communication, we hope to anchor a new strong pillar alongside Flowerbomb eau de parfum,” said de Lesquen.

Taylor-Joy shared some thoughts with WWD about perfume, acting and inner strength.

WWD: When did you first learn about the Viktor & Rolf brand?

Anya Taylor-Joy: Coincidently, one of my first memories of a fragrance bottle was of Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb. I thought it was so cool that it was shaped like a diamond grenade, and yet it was simultaneously pink. It was soft but powerful at the same time. I loved that juxtaposition and what it represented to me — that femininity is power.

WWD: Were there any surprises in being the face of a fragrance?

A.T.J.: Well, it’s obviously completely humbling. When I first saw the image from the shoot I thought: “I look strong…I look incredibly strong and fierce. That is how I want to feel.” Viktor and Rolf saw that I possess these qualities that this Flowerbomb Midnight woman should embody. That was an incredible boost of confidence. I’m only 22, so again it was really so magical and surreal. I would want everyone to have that magical, powerful feeling I had on the shoot. Standing on a stage with lots of people looking you straight in the eyes — and you embracing that and looking straight back at them. Owning yourself in the moment.

WWD: What do you personally like in a fragrance?

A.T.J.: I’ve always been obsessed with fragrance. I laugh, as my eyesight is bad, so I think my sense of smell overcompensates for that. It’s honestly the only thing I am really insistent on always having in my purse. Fragrance is such a confidence booster for me — it feels almost like a grounding experience in a way, a sensory fingerprint almost of who I am. I have early memories of recognizing scents and having people walk by me and noting: “You smell good — you smell amazing.”

WWD: What’s the first fragrance you wore?

A.T.J.: I grew up pretty witchy — you know I was more into the apothecary side of fragrance being hugely into science. Creating a fragrance is like writing a book — a blend of science, art and magic. I loved certain scents and accords growing up: red rose, black pepper. My first memory of smell was my dad’s scent; he used to spray his cologne and I remember it so distinctly. It was woody. Another memory is the first perfume my mum ever bought me — it was blackberry. I traveled a lot as a child, and scents to me were a fingerprint of a place, a person, a being. A passport.

WWD: What acting projects are you working on now or have upcoming? What roles are you playing in them?

A.T.J.: [This] is a big year for me — with “Radioactive,” “Playmobil,” “Glass,” “Here Are the Young Men,” “The New Mutants” and “Peaky Blinders” all coming out. I’ll also be voicing a character in “Age of Resistance,” and, of course, Flowerbomb and Flowerbomb Midnight.

In 2020, I will appear in the title role of “Emma,” as well as “Last Night in Soho.” 
My roles mean everything to me. I choose them based on a gut instinct. Each one has been different. There is a fierceness that I feel toward my characters and roles — I’m incredibly protective over them.

I am drawn to roles where if they don’t have a voice, I can give them a voice. I can live with this person and tell their story and the legacy of this person. It’s a pretty intense ride sometimes — I’m not a method actor, but it’s more like “Anya living with this character and believing in their choices.” I will sometimes still carry concern for my characters in the aftermath of a film.

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