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Stella’s (Second) Signature Scent


Stella McCartney is as hands-on as they come. Rather than remove herself from the pre-presentation hustle and bustle at her Spring show this morning, McCartney was in the thick of it, talking with stylists, exchanging pleasantries with models, and checking in on how the hair and makeup look was progressing. As she passed through a particularly crowded aisle that we happened to be standing in, a fragrant aroma lingered in her wake. “It smells like gardenia,” a photographer said to a makeup artist. “It was probably Stella,” she responded. We’d be willing to bet that the sweet floral essence that hovered in the tight space was actually lily of the valley, the heart of McCartney’s latest fragrance, L.I.L.Y. “It’s a pet name my dad had for my mom,” McCartney told a room full of editors in New York a few months back of the acronym that stands for Linda I Love You. “He was P.I.L.Y. and I guess that makes me S.I.L.Y.,” she joked.

The perfume is a personal one and an ode to one of McCartney’s favorite flowers, which she has fond memories of growing up around on the lush, garden-filled farm in Scotland that Paul and Linda’s brood called home. The version used here, however—a green, more modern incarnation of a smell that, according to Stella, is “not particularly contemporary”—was masterminded by perfumer Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, he of McCartney’s first signature scent, which debuted in 2003 to rave reviews (and who will reportedly front the newly restored Louis Vuitton fragrance house that will release its premier offering next year). The perfume ultimately exists as a series of contrasts: It boasts a feminine floral tinge that is paired with darker, earthier, more masculine hints of black truffle and oak moss so that there’s a dichotomous nature to it, much like McCartney herself. One of the world’s most well-known rock progeny, the mother of four could not be more down-to-earth. Even her clothes boast a certain polished but easy wearability that makes her a favorite among the style set’s boldest-faced names, as a quick peruse of her front row can attest (devotees like Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts were not in attendance at Paris’ Palais Garnier opera house today, but Kate Moss and Natalia Vodianova sure were). Following a series of limited-edition and seasonal riffs on her eponymous eau over the last nine years, this marks just the second flacon from McCartney to date. It’s well worth the wait.

Available October 2012 at

Photo: Courtesy of Stella McCartney

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