3 posts tagged "Yael Alkalay"
Beauty Nostalgia is a weekly column on Beauty Counter in which we ask influencers, tastemakers, and some of our favorite industry experts to wax poetic on the sticks, salves, and sprays that helped shape who they are today.
The Pro: Yael Alkalay, founder of Red Flower
The Products: “A deeply nostalgic trinity is Clinique’s pot of lip gloss in Black Honey, Heno de Pravia soap, and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche perfume. All three entered into my consciousness around the same time—the late seventies. The Clinique pot of gloss was my first break-the-bank beauty purchase, picked up with my friend Heather and her mother—a former Miss Massachusetts and true beauty junkie—at the North Dartmouth mall. I was too young, maybe 9, and I remember the trouble I got into. I held onto this lip gloss for years and can still taste the rich feeling of transformation it brought.
As a counterpoint to this emotion, I had tender feelings toward the suitcases full of cashmere, tobacco, cotton, leather, and Heno de Pravia soap that meant my grandfather Samuel had arrived from Argentina for the summer. There is no more perfect reminiscence than inhaling the clean, fresh scent of that soap layered between folds of leather and cashmere—notes that have inspired Red Flower Guaiac Organic Perfume, a blend of woody and citrus that sparkles with the vibrant warmth and strong gaucho character of my grandfather. While I have kept the remnants of Heno de Pravia bright yellow and green soap in my childhood linen drawer, the [product] that always pops out when I go home to visit and open that drawer is the iconic blue-and-black bottle of my mother’s favorite perfume, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Just that bottle felt like a prize, but the scent still holds a special place in my heart. It seemed the perfect fragrance for my dark-haired, wide-eyed, adventurous, and worldly mother. Rich in sophistication and possibility, it inspired me to create Red Flower Ambrette Organic Perfume, which is complex, potent, and chic. I’m honored that this perfume is one of my very discerning mother’s favorites. These memories remind me that inspiration is everywhere, that scent as a trigger is immutable, and that texture as a sensation is unforgettable. It is why I do what I do.”
As anyone who has ever taken a transcontinental trip knows, the in-flight amenity bag is of the utmost importance. In addition to the eye mask, the cozy socks, and the disposable toothbrush most of these zip-up cases provide, it’s the additional personal-care products—the hand lotion, lip balm, face cream, et al.—that can make all the difference in the world when you’re working with a six-plus-hour time difference and that stale, recirculated airplane air that leaves your hair flat and your skin curiously greasy and dry. Some upwardly mobile, discerning world travelers actually book their trips based upon certain amenities partnerships, like Emirates’ deal with the Bulgari skincare line or Singapore Airlines’ collaboration with Kiehl’s, and starting next month, US Airways is poised to lure a big chunk of that demographic over to its friendly skies. The airline, which recently announced a merger with American Airlines, has also merged with Yael Alkalay’s New York-based cosmetics line, Red Flower, which will roll out new amenities cases on international business-class flights leaving out of US Air’s hubs in Charlotte and Philadelphia. “You’ve got this captive audience, and you really want to make them happy. What a great opportunity to deliver something special,” Alkalay says of the initiative that pairs a small tube of her Moisturizing Lotion in Ocean—which has a fresh, cleansing smell—with two new categories for her brand, an Italian-blood-orange hand and face towelette and a lip balm with the same scent profile. “There’s a real aromatherapy benefit to it,” she insists, pointing out that Italian blood orange stimulates brain waves and boosts the immune system to help with jet lag. “We tried to make it robust without being overwhelming,” Alkalay continues of the truly transcendent products, particularly the towelettes, which will also be available at www.redflower.com starting July 15. As members of American Airlines’ One World Alliance program, we are taking some personal pleasure in this piece of good news.
Yael Alkalay is inspired by beauty that’s not easily bottled. As founder of the luxury personal-care line Red Flower, she mines the natural, therapeutic, and “spiritual potential” of plant extracts and oils when creating her products. It’s a unique approach informed by a patchwork of cultural experiences. As a child, Alkalay traveled extensively to visit her family, which included a famed dermatologist grandfather in Bulgaria and farmers in the rural Pampas of Argentina, who taught her how violet liqueurs, rose jams, and other tinctures can be used to brighten the complexion and soften lips. After graduating with a degree in economic anthropology, Alkalay worked as the creative director for Shiseido in Tokyo, where she lived for three years, and later helped develop cosmetics for Calvin Klein. Eventually, she focused her energies and expertise on launching her own line, which bowed at Barneys in 1999 with just six of her signature petal-top candles and two organic flower teas. Today, the Red Flower range includes hundreds of unique formulas for hair, skin, and body, including her latest assortment of Isla Das Rocas Revitalizing Sea Salt Scrubs, scented with Moroccan rose, Japanese peony, and Spanish gardenia, among other flower essences. Here, the beauty spiritualist points us in the direction of the best onsens, the perfect plum lipstick, and a few skin detoxes she can’t live without.
The Pro: Yael Alkalay
Founder of Red Flower.
The Fragrance: Red Flower Guaiac Organic Perfume Oil
“I think every country has a distinct, special smell. I grew up mostly in Argentina, where the air has this blend of tobacco, leather, cashmere, and fresh herbs. I wanted to create a scent that would pull out parts of that place but not replicate it exactly. Guaiac contains the essence of the guaiac tree, which is called the tree of life and grows throughout South America. It’s combined with smoky essential oils, lighter hits of pink grapefruit, and closes with rich notes like frankincense. When I smell it, it’s like opening a suitcase. I wear it every day.”
Red Flower Guaiac Organic Perfume Oil Roll-On, $48, www.redflower.com.
The Hair: Mane Stays
“Derek at Tommy Guns is a wonderful, robust Scottish man. He’s a great sculptor, a real wizard of scissors, and he’s not afraid to keep long hair long, as you can tell by my length! To maintain things, I just apply conditioner, since my hair tends to be dry; I love anything from Philip B. with truffle oil or our Red Flower Spanish Gardenia Softening Hair Conditioner, which smells like a rainforest.”
Tommy Guns, 138 Ludlow St., NYC, (212) 477-1151, www.tommygunsny.com; Philip B. White Truffle Nourishing & Conditioning Crème, $28, www.philipb.com; Red Flower Spanish Gardenia Softening Hair Conditioner, $32, www.redflower.com.