Amber & Smoke, Interview with Lord Gavin McLeod

“I recently sat down with Lord Gavin McLeod of Amber & Smoke for an afternoon chat filled with fragrance! Gavin is also a freelance writer and New York Contributing Editor for FLAUNT magazine, and I loved the opportunity to share my thoughts on fragrance and share with you my adopted signature scent!”

Amber & Smoke is a daily journal providing news and insights into the worlds of Fragrance, Beauty and Fine Jewelry.

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WHAT SAY YOU? Gina Brooke

Gina Brooke needs no introduction. Regarded by many as the most inventive makeup artist working today, Gina Brooke is not only responsible for the many incarnations of pop icon Madonna but for revolutionizing the industry. Quite simply what Gina creates, others want.

Amber & Smoke is thrilled to discuss scent with the makeup queen herself. Enjoy!

From 2005 – 2010, Gina Brooke served as Artistic Director and the creative driving force behind L’Oreal’s Shu Uemura Brand. Best known for her revival of 1960’s eyelashes, Gina had everyone from Madonna, Sade, Oprah and Lady Gaga wearing her customized false eyelash creations.

Do you remember what you were doing in 2005? Of course you do! You were obsessed with Madonna’s diamond and mink lashes, created by Gina for the stars’ Confessions on a Dance Floor promo and subsequent tour.

As a result diamante lashes exploded onto the market. The public quickly realized that lashes could transform an entire face and one’s whole presence. That one moment of inspiration in Madonna’s bathroom led to a mega trend in beauty that still persists today.

Having worked with Madonna since 2003, Gina has played an fundamental role in helping the superstar develop her look, whether it be for her work on the stage, screen or in private life.

Most recently Gina’s work could bee seen night after night when Madonna took to her MDNA stage. Just as Gina’s lashes sent shockwaves through the cosmetic industry – her use of red lipstick on the MDNA tour has left everyone trying to find that ‘perfect red.’

While Gina’s work is constantly evolving, one thing remains the same – nobody does it better. Nobody understand the power of natural beauty the way she does and nobody else can make someone feel as good about themselves, as Gina can.

What do you or those around you consider to be your signature scent?

My signature scent is Fracas by Robert Piguet, which I consider to be a masterpiece of perfumery – a dazzling combination of Gardenia and Tuberose.

How did you come to adopt this scent and what do you think it says about you to others?

My Mother, Grandmother and older Sister wore Fracas. For as long as I could remember, it was the only fragrance that I had ever been exposed to. The scent is exquisitely feminine, elegant, delicate yet powerful and above all, refined. A true definition of the women in my family. The fragrance not only reminds me of my childhood memories but of the inspirational women in my life that I love most.

Growing up with Fracas playing such a prominent olfactive role in your life, how did it make you feel?

I remember when I was six, my Grandmother would give me a bath, style my hair and dress me in my Sunday best. My favorite part of the preparation was when she would take perfume from her mirrored vanity tray and place the fragrance directly behind my ears and wrists. The fragrance was memorable which made me feel grown up and feminine when I wore it.

Are there any fragrances that you love but feel you cannot wear yourself?

I’ve tried numerous fragrances over the years however, since i’m sensitive to scent, Fracas is the only fragrance I can wear without feeling unpleasant.

Can you recall any moment when a fragrance has stirred a memory within you or reminded you of something you had otherwise forgotten?

Years ago, I spent three weeks at a monastery in South East Asia to learn a meditation technique called Vipassana, which means, to see things as they really are. Throughout my trip, I was continuously inundated with the smell of lemongrass. Each time I smell lemongrass, all I can think about is the lessons I learned during that journey and the raw reality of any given situation.

Do you wear perfume to bed?

Yes, but not always. I do spray lavender on my pillow which helps me relax and fall fast asleep.

If you had the opportunity to create your own bespoke scent – what notes would you give the perfumer?

To capture a fragrance that is alluring, provocative and captivating yet refined. Romantic and sensual.

If God wore fragrance what would he/she smell like?

A scent that is bright (white in color)-the fragrance of nature and all that is heavenly and beautiful – just like a gardenia.