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COVER STORY:

KIM
KARDASHIAN
WEST

The superstar sits down to talk to VIOLET GREY about what it takes to build a beauty empire (hint: a personal touch).


Photography By BEN HASSETT

Art Direction By CASSANDRA GREY

Written By JACK SUNNUCKS

Hair By CHRIS APPLETON

Makeup By MORGANE MARTINI

Nails By STEPH STONE

Styled By DEBORAH AFSHANI

BEAUTY CREDITS

ORIBE SUPERSHINE MOISTURIZING CREAM

BEDHEAD

COLOR WOW STYLE ON STEROIDS

SHU UEMURA SHEER LACQUER finishing spray

FASHION CREDITS
  • Piaget Mediterranean Garden Necklace, Extremely Piaget Necklace, Piaget 
    Mediterranean Garden Ring. ALL PIAGET. for purchase inquiries, please call 323.782.9700. 
  • JULIEN MCDONALD DRESS
  • YEEZY SEASON 5 SHOES
  • socks stylist’s own

In Woman Made, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to the world-famous founder of KKW Fragrance about her most personal launch to-date.

“Every time my Dad would travel, he’d bring me and Kourtney back a perfume,” says Kim Kardashian West, recalling how, like many women, her love of fragrance started young. “Benetton made this perfume called Tribu, and it’s all me and my friends wanted. We were so obsessed with Tribu, and the bottle is so ugly—it’s yellow, and red, and it’s not even cute! But I still have the bottle he gave me.”

Of course, the young Kardashian West soon graduated to other scents beloved by teenage girls the world over; she name checks Thierry Mugler’s Angel and Dior’s J’adore as perfumes she’d lust over. Unlike other beauty-obsessed teens, however, Kardashian West went on to release six scents of her own (alongside the makeup line, the magazine appearances, the TV show, and being the most famous woman in the world). It’s the occasion of the launch of her seventh, KKW Fragrance’s Crystal Gardenia, which brings her to VIOLET GREY.

“Gardenia has always been my favorite fragrance,” she says while having her newly bleached hair coiffed on set in Los Angeles. “Gardenias are my happy place. When I smell them, it brings me back to memories of being eight years old in Hawaii,” she elaborates. In a way, it’s actually sort of a subversive choice to focus on such classic bloom when you’re known for changing your look every couple of weeks. “I have seven fragrances, and my first one was heavily gardenia. And that’s my favorite scent out of the seven. I’m still working with the perfume house that did my other seven, Givaudan, and I love them, but this is a really independent project for me, and I wanted to start out with what I love best.”





I have FULL
control over what I want the campaign
to look like, the bottle to look like, the SCENT to
smell like.

– KIM KARDASHIAN WEST

BEAUTY CREDITS

EYES

LAURA MERCIER CAVIAR EYE STICK IN ROSE GOLD

KEVYN AUCOIN SCULPTING POWDER

FASHION CREDITS

TOP

ROBE AND SUNGLASSES STYLIST’S OWN

MIDDLE:

JULIEN MCDONALD DRESS

Extremely Piaget Necklace, Piaget Mediterranean Garden Necklace. ALL PIAGET. for purchase inquiries, please call 323.782.9700. 

bottom:

  • BODYSUIT KIM’S OWN

As we know, a huge amount of work goes into making a fragrance, from the scent itself, to the design of the bottle, to the campaign that accompanies it. And, of course, Kardashian West herself was at the head of all these decisions. “But I do trust the perfume house, because they are the experts,” she laughs. “The meetings are fascinating, because you go in and have lists of everything you love, everything that evokes a memory.” On top of the gardenia, she added jasmine and tuberose. They come together in a kind of feminine maelstrom that’s redolent of the Hollywood Hills at night. The bottle too, speaks of Los Angeles. “My bottle looked like a crystal—it was all about healing. I feel like when I started to make the fragrance a year ago, it all just really clicked in my head. People would come over and give me these healing crystals, and I wanted a perfume I could hold in my hand like a healing crystal, that gives off good vibes and good energy.” She smiles. “And that’s what I thought I’d find in gardenia.”

Kim admits that she loves “really strong scents—like you walk in the room and you know that someone has something delicious on.” She loves Jo Malone’s Red Roses, as well as the aforementioned Dior J’Adore. “I’ve had that since forever. It reminds me of being in Las Vegas, and buying it—I was like, I have to have this,” she deadpans. “I didn’t have any money then, and I was working at this store, and I remember using my paycheck to get that J’adore Dior. That was luxury. I thought it was amazing.”


I wanted a perfume I could hold in my hand like a healing crystal, that gives off good vibes and good energy.

— KIM KARDASHIAN WEST


Obviously it wouldn’t be a KKW production if the fragrance weren’t accompanied by a supremely extra campaign. For the launch of Crystal Gardenia, Kardashian West turned to her friends Mert & Marcus to photograph her in black and white with minimal makeup. “We were on set saying, ‘wow, we’re the boss, we have no one that we have to get these photos approved by, it’s completely how we want it,’” she says. “And that’s really powerful. It felt really good to know that I have full control over what I want the campaign to look like, the bottle to look like, the scent to smell like.”

That control extends to how the fragrance is sold. Like the items from her KKW Beauty line, it’ll be exclusively available through her website. “I feel like social media is such a powerful tool,” she says with understatement. “It’s great to partner with amazing beauty brands and retailers, but to have an e-commerce platform and do it on your own is powerful as well, and I wanted to go that route so I have full control.”

Control—now that she has it, one senses that Kardashian West intends to hold onto it. “I definitely know the ins and outs of the fragrance business, and I love learning. And I feel like for the past decade I have really learned what goes into it, and what makes good partnerships, and I feel really strong about this,” she says.

“I think you have different memories in your life, and something can trigger it,” she explains. “She just used Sisley and it had rose in it,” she says gesturing at the makeup artist. “I love the scent of rose. I just always wanted to go back to my really happy place,” bringing the conversation about scent back to the personal. “And that’s with my dad.”




BEAUTY CREDITS

EYES

LAURA MERCIER CAVIAR EYE STICK IN ROSE GOLD

KEVYN AUCOIN SCULPTING POWDER

FASHION CREDITS
  • TOP:
  • TOP BY GUCCI
  • BRIEFS BY HANRO
  • MIDDLE:
  • BODYSUIT KIM’S OWN 
  • BOTTOM:
  • PIAGET LIMELIGHT PARTY RING. ALL BY PIAGET. FOR PURCHASE INQUIRIES, PLEASE CALL 323.782.9700.