Fashion designer Tory Burch lives by two tenets: empowerment and impact. She’s built a fashion empire on positively changing the lives of others, having launched the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to support women entrepreneurs. This month, she’s disrupting the world of fragrance with Essence of Dreams, a collection of five scents designed to celebrate our innermost feelings and dreams of love, joy, freedom, magic, and peace.
There’s something for everyone within the set. If you're in the mood for lavender and woody smells, it doesn't get better than Electric Sky, designed to evoke freedom; if you’re feeling loving, try Sublime Rose, which offers notes of rose and blackcurrant. There’s also Divine Moon which is meant to conjure feelings of peace with its notes of honey and citrus. “I hope everyone who wears our Essence of Dreams collection is inspired to follow their dreams and visualize a better world," says Burch.
Here, the fashion designer discusses how fragrance is a tool of expression, shares how the latest scents make her feel, and explains why having unity at a time when the world feels divided is so powerful and necessary.
Marie Claire: Launching a collection of fragrances is quite different than launching a singular scent. What made you want to create five different fragrances?
Tory Burch: My tastes are eclectic, and I designed these fragrances the same way I design ready-to-wear and accessories: They are tools for self-expression. Scent is so personal; we choose a fragrance every day based on our mood, what we’re wearing, or how we want to feel.
Women aren’t wearing just one fragrance anymore—they’re collecting scents to alternate or even mix together. We thought about that as well; these are long-lasting, unique fragrances, but they aren’t overpowering, so you can experiment with mixing and layering them.
MC: Can you tell me more about the scent inspirations? How do these scents make you feel when worn?
TB: I am fascinated by the way scent is connected to our memories and feelings. A few of the fragrances were inspired by loved ones—my father, my mother, my husband—and others include scents from my favorite places.
We spent a lot of time thinking about the dreams and emotions each fragrance would evoke. Divine Moon represents peace; it transports me to my garden in Antigua, where I feel an overwhelming sense of tranquility. Sublime Rose represents love and is a new, modern twist on a classic rose; it reminds me of the garden in Paris where my husband proposed.
Electric Sky is energizing and vibrant, channeling absolute freedom, while Mystic Geranium instills joy. It has this unexpected contrast of geranium leaf, bergamot, and rich cedarwood. Cosmic Wood feels optimistic and magical, with notes of vetiver that instantly remind me of my father; he always wore vetiver.”
MC: What type of woman—or man—wears Essence of Dreams?
TB: It goes without saying that these fragrances are genderless; they’re for everyone. It has been interesting to see who gravitates towards each scent; several men on our team love Mystic Geranium, which is very light and floral, and a lot of women are wearing spicy Cosmic Wood.
MC: Do you have a favorite scent within the collection?
TB: My favorite changes constantly—I wear them all. Today, it’s Cosmic Wood, but I might add Divine Moon or Sublime Rose as the day goes on.
MC: What are some dreams of yours that you’d like to share?
TB: My purpose is to empower women and help them follow their dreams. It’s why I started my company and my foundation—to design collections that instill confidence and to move the needle on women’s issues. The fact that we are still talking about equal rights for women is a clear indicator that things need to change.
I’m an optimist by nature, which I get from my parents; they taught me from a young age that ‘negativity is noise’ and that anything is possible if I put my mind to it. In a chaotic world, I want to impart optimism and encourage people to believe in the power of their dreams.”
MC: What was the thought process of including Imaan Hammam, Havana Rose and Alexandra Micu as muses for the campaign?
TB: From the beginning, we knew we wanted to work with women who share our values. Imaan, Havana, and Alexandra are incredible women who are involved in their communities and speak up about issues of humanity.
Our partner, Shiseido, shares these values as well; they are committed to advancing women’s empowerment in Japan, and like my company, 80 percent of their employees are women.
MC: I love that. What are your thoughts on the power of togetherness at a time when the world feels so divided?
TB: I share many people’s dream of unity and peace. The world is incredibly divided right now, and what’s missing is true connection. We need to come together, find common ground, and try to understand each other, even if we don’t always agree. Deep down, I think most of us want the same things: equality, freedom, safety, and the promise of a better tomorrow.
Shop the Essence of Dreams Fragrance Collection
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Deena Campbell is the Beauty Director of Marie Claire where she oversees beauty and health content on all platforms. Deena joined Marie Claire after a decade-long career as an editor in print and digital media. Before joining the brand, she managed editorial content for L’Oréal owned Makeup.com and Skincare.com. In 2015, she launched Essence.com’s hair channel where she received Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Award, shortly before joining Allure.com’s staff as Senior Beauty Editor. Along with her editorial positions, she also consulted on content and marketing strategies for beauty companies including DevaCurl and Dove, and has appeared at various speaking events and live television segments.
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