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Tilda Swinton Discusses First Fragrance

Tilda Swinton launched her eau de parfum, Like This, at Henri Bendel.

“We made this together. This is not something that I’ve slapped my name on,” Tilda Swinton said of developing her own fragrance, called Like This, with French niche fragrance house Etat Libre d’Orange. “My understanding is that sometimes people who are known for one thing get asked to front things that they don’t develop. Well this is so different — this is so handmade.”

The launch of the eau de parfum at Henri Bendel was marked by London-born Swinton’s personal appearance at the store Thursday evening.”

“It’s like a home brew,” she said of the scent. “We are like a lemonade store at the bottom of the drive. Etienne [de Swardt] and Jean-Claude [Magret of Etat Libre d’Orange] asked me if I wanted to make a fragrance, which is not something I ever thought anyone would ask me to do.”

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“Not caring much about fragrance — having worn one fragrance myself for 25 years, Penhaligon’s Bluebell — when I realized what they were offering me was the opportunity to play in a completely different kindergarten, and make something entirely personal and have final cut on it, I couldn’t resist.””

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She said the “most astonishing” aspect was that “I was coming up with something so personal, to make something that really smells like my own home. And placing it in front of this extraordinary perfumer, Mathilde [Bijaoui of Mane]. She literally has made — in that bottle — a smell that makes me feel like I’m at home. And she’s never been to my home in the north of Scotland.””

When asked about today’s celebrity fragrance craze, she responded: “I don’t know anything about that. It feels like this is quite different. Well, it’s very different, no? And that feels really comfortable and easy.””

Swinton’s myriad hairstyles come thanks to French stylist Odile Gilbert. “[She] is my friend, and whenever I’m in Paris, she cuts my hair.””

Her favorite director and motion picture from her own filmography? “That’s not dissimilar to asking somebody about their favorite child. Well, it so happens this month there are two films being released in America. One is new, which is ‘I am Love’ [the night before her Bendel’s appearance, Swinton went to the film’s screening], a film that I made with my friend Luca Guadagnino [whom] I’ve known for 20 years. He’s one of my best friends and we’ve worked on this film for 11 years. So he’s one.”

“But also this film that I made, I think 18 years ago, called ‘Orlando,’ is being re-released, which I made with my great friend Sally Potter. And that took us five years to make. So I would say at the moment, they’re kind of at the top of my agenda. But I worked with a great friend of mine called Derek Jarman, for nine years, in fact. No, I can’t…I’m not in the choosing game. No, no, no — none of them. None of the above,” she said.”

For the summer, she continued, “I’m going home and I’m going to sleep for about two months, I think. I’m actually taking a year off.” Aside from spending time with her twins, she described future film projects as “seeds in the ground, but very deep.””

On the topic of doing a second fragrance, Swinton expressed interest in “assisting at any time. I’m not a good liar, so I wouldn’t want to slap my name where it may not fit.”