I didn’t think my leaving US Vogue would be big news. I went – how do you call it – viral. That was funny. I just thought. ‘Oh good, maybe I’ll get a job now’.
It’s scary to leave something you’re comfortable doing. I had done almost 50 years at Vogue before I went freelance at the start of the year. That said, I think it’s good to have a challenge, to step out of your comfort zone.
It’s difficult to do projects if you’re working full-time. At the beginning, I was full-time and it wasn’t OK. I discussed it with Anna [Wintour]; I said it would take a while and so she was comfortable with this going ahead. It was a natural progression to go freelance but when, eventually, it happened, I decided it would be a good time to go. If you work full-time you can’t do this – it’s a conflict of interest.
I started working on the perfume a couple of years ago. The idea came from my friend, Gaby. She said if you ever feel like doing anything besides Vogue … We were always looking for ideas. It was her suggestion that we did something like a perfume.
Editorial, designing a perfume, it’s all the same. You are dealing with other people. And, in both jobs, it’s the same: you have a certain amount of control and there are also things that are out of your control. You take smells and you edit them down, just as when you are doing a shoot or a campaign, you take clothes and you edit them away. It’s called editing.
I’m not smell-orientated. I guess there’s no such thing as no smell, just as there’s no such thing as silence, but I like gentle smells. I really hate overwhelming perfumes. They make me feel claustrophobic.
The best way to wear a perfume is to spray it in your hair. Spray the air? That way you go through more perfume. Try it.
I am still pretty involved in Vogue. I have been working on other shoots, which has been interesting – advertising campaigns, things like that. It’s not the same, but it’s new people – which gives you a new enthusiasm.
I’m famously friends with all my former assistants. If you spend that time with someone, it’s intense. It’s like an old lover, you don’t just discard them.
Am I known better for loving cats or working at Vogue? I have a great love of cats and I wanted to have some sort of connection with that.
We may do a lipstick in the future. We talked about doing other beauty products. Trying to focus on two things is very hard. Right now, I’ll focus on the perfume.