PARIS — Rooney Mara is the face of a new Givenchy fragrance, due out in mid-September, WWD has learned.
The two-time Oscar nominee is no stranger to the house. “I probably had heard of Givenchy first because of Audrey Hepburn,” the actress told WWD. “And then later in life, when I became interested in fashion, they have always been one of my favorites to watch — and then obviously to wear.”
Mara sported Givenchy for the first time to the premiere in London for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
“It was this insanely beautiful couture dress I will never forget,” she said. “I’ve loved them ever since. I always feel my best and most comfortable wearing their clothes. Getting to represent them now in this way feels just right.”
Mara doesn’t often wear perfume, but likes to spritz it in the space around her. “And I love when other people have a specific scent,” she said. “I think perfumes are very powerful in that way — so deeply connected to memories, places, people, times in your life or seasons changing.”
She has a keen olfactive memory, even from moviemaking. “I can remember what a certain time smelled like,” she said. “For example, on ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ one of my leather jackets, which was made by Agatha [Blois], had one of her scents washed into it. I remember on the first screen test smelling it, and then all of my clothes on the shoot smelled like that. I started wearing the scent that whole year. So anytime I smell that I am totally reminded of that time and that character.
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“On another film, I was constantly burning sage in my trailer and smelling frankincense and other oils, so those smells bring me back to that film,” Mara continued.
This year, the actress stars opposite Joaquin Phoenix in Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene” and in Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.”
Givenchy artistic director Clare Waight Keller has long admired Mara’s work, which also includes films such as “The Social Network,” “Carol,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “Side Effects.”
“I have a soft spot for strong women who make bold choices,” Waight Keller told WWD. “The first time I saw Rooney in ‘Dragon Tattoo,’ I was immediately struck with how fearless she is, how talented and precise. I loved how each of her movie choices after that was pushing the envelope. There was this young woman who was scared of no part, and who immediately started working with the most amazing directors in the world.
“I love how versatile she is, and how she defines soft power. She has that presence. She doesn’t need to say she is there, your eyes are just naturally drawn to her anytime she enters the room,” the designer continued. “And I think that aura, the special charisma you don’t often see, comes to life when she’s in front of a camera. She’s a natural beauty with so many layers, I’ve always admired her. So it was only natural to me that she would enter the history of the house of Givenchy.”
Waight Keller said that beyond Mara’s “other-worldly aesthetic, with her incredible porcelain skin and her deep black hair, she has something of an innate elegance that reminds me very much of Audrey Hepburn, the most famous muse of the house. So I loved the idea of her being a contemporary version of our most iconic face. She felt like a natural continuation of Givenchy’s story.
“She’s also very emblematic of the woman I am building here at Givenchy. She’s full of contrasts. She has a very precise look, the Givenchy look,” Waight Keller said. “But she’ll also show you her inner light when you get to know her.”
Waight Keller described the Givenchy woman of today as “powerful and bold. She could be a romantic or have a darker side, but in any case she lives in a world where she owns her look and who she is. There is a magnetic quality about her. She is an individual character, with deep beauty and personality. Basically, she’s Rooney.”