Over lunch, she invited questions – but, really, there was only one question on everybody’s mind, so I asked her: “Why a fragrance, rather than a make-up line?”
Mary explained: ” Well, to me fragrance is absolutely the final veil of beauty. I’m passionate about it – and have always been known amongst my friends for loving it. I didn’t want to be behind yet another black make-up line with 100 skus [items]; you can’t really make a make-up line personal – but fragrance is totally personal. This fragrance has come straight from my heart, and I’ve really put my heart and soul into its creation.”
Two years in the making and with a fourth generation perfumer (Francois Robert) at the helm, Plum is a gorgeous, grown-up scent which not only reflects Mary’s sophisticated yet uncomplicated tastes but also captures her warm personality. With its fruity top notes (plum, of course, plus blackcurrant, peach, bergamot and lemon), sumptuous floral heart and woody base, it’s a modern variation on the classic chypre. Needless to say, Mary loves it. “I think it’s delicious,” she said. “It wraps you up and lets you be completely free.”
And being free – from the gruelling demands of being a first-call make-up artist at catwalk shows the world over – is one of the reasons for Mary’s move into the fragrance industry. “I want to do business – I can’t do make-up forever. This is a lovely way to move my life forward, without having to compete with my peers – people like Laura Mercier and Francois Nars – whom I love and adore.”
What I forgot to ask her was whether she was aware that Plum was the nickname of one of my favourite writers – PG Wodehouse. That’s the first question of the next interview taken care of!
* Plum by Mary Greenwell (£60 for the 50ml eau de parfum bottle) is available exclusively at House of Fraser stores (www.houseoffraser.co.uk).