A sandy beach. Warm, crystalline waters. The heavy dew of humid air on tanned skin. When you close your eyes and spray Michael Kors' Wonderlust Eau de Parfum, you might conjure a paradise within your daily routine. With jet-setting supermodel Gigi Hadid as the face of the new campaign, the fragrance brings to mind a perpetual spontaneity and awe of the world around, whether you're on the shores of Cabo or sitting at your office desk. L'Officiel USA sat down with Kors and Hadid to talk about the fragrance, their dream destination spots, and how they cope with the standard work week.
Both Kors and Hadid associate "going on holiday" with the scent of summer air, whether it be fresh and green or faintly muggy.
"In America, it’s always a fresh-cut lawn grass," Kors noted. "When I was growing up and at the beach on holiday with my grandfather, he always wore a cologne that would have a lot of lemon and citrus. I have all these memories, and also we were just talking about Thailand and Bali—when you arrive in some place like Thailand, it’s humid and there’s a heaviness in the air."
"I think the same feeling of whenever the sun heats the jasmine or the grass," Hadid said. "Wherever you are. The way that changes the fragrance and makes the air smell. It’s just a sweetness of the air that only happens in the summer."
For Hadid, the mundane has an extra sense of freedom and possibility during the summer, when one's responsibilities seem fewer and farther away.
"When I smell [Wonderlust] and close my eyes, it brings back that warm feeling. It’s just energized and positive and it reminds me a lot of the trip and shooting," she said. "I think that’s what the whole campaign and commercial is about. The feeling of freedom and waking up in the summer and doing what makes you happy."
Throughout his career and relationship with fragrance, Kors has observed three different chapters in his life, eventually moving between his initial "all or nothing" approach.
"When I was a teenager and I started wearing fragrance, everything was very heavy," Kors said. "Very musky. Very intense. I was 14 and just dousing myself in fragrance. I realize now I was new to fragrance but also it was the times. In the late '70s and early '80s, everyone wore very, very heavy fragrances. And that’s crazy. Then I went through a whole period of when I decided I didn’t want to wear anything. Now, I've entered a third chapter. I want something memorable, but not so much that it knocks you out. Something special that people can wear every day. Whereas it used to be for special occasions or so natural you couldn’t even smell it. I like when people say, 'What is that?' That’s kind of fabulous."
Hadid has found that while she sticks primarily to floral scents, as she gets older she seeks out more complex layers and notes.
"I think I’ve always gone for floral and sweet my whole life," Hadid said. "But as I’ve gotten older, if I get sent a heavier fragrance, I’ve started to mix it with the floral ones I wear every day because I feel like sometimes that can move into different moods of the day, I think opening up more to something deeper, more complicated."
"When you’re really young, you go for the bang," Kors added. "Then it starts getting a little more layered and sophisticated."
Gigi Hadid on the set of the Wonderlust shoot
Kors chose Hadid for the campaign because of her "boundless" optimism and adventurous spirit, key components, he believes, in surviving the day-to-day and infusing every moment with a sense of wonder.
"People live busy lives," he said. "We’re all doing too much. You can either have life take you down and get sad and depressed, or you can be optimistic and energetic and stay curious no matter what comes your way. That’s her. She’s full of optimism. She’s super smart. She’s up for anything. The whole point of the fragrance, to me, is that it’s like any dress: when you wear the right thing you feel like your best self, and the right fragrance makes you feel like your best self. and her optimism is boundless. She’s a travel junkie like I am, and if someone said to me, like let’s go to lunch in Vancouver because they have great shrimp, I’ll be like, 'Okay, let’s go,' and she’ll be like, 'Okay, I’ll go.'"
"Just for the shrimp!" Hadid laughed. "It’s like my main reason for travel."
Most importantly, Hadid and Kors hope Wonderlust instills a sense of indulgence in the wearer, allowing them to escape the routine and create their own memories.
"When you get to experience the scent in a place that you love, or anywhere, like if you walk down the street and spray it, in the heat and on people’s bodies, it just smells different," Hadid said. "And that will create memories for whoever wears it."
"It takes you to a place where you don’t have any rules," Kors said. "I think we’re all so programmed. Every day. It’s just like, wait a second, you know what? Take me to a place where all of a sudden there’s no calendar, no rules, I can do what I want when I want. I wanna make my own rules."
"I think that’s important for fragrance that it’s something you want to do on a daily basis," Hadid added.
"The simple truth is, we are living with everyday rules and all these things, and even when you get dressed with everything you put on every day the reality is, 'Oh god, I gotta carry my stuff, and I gotta wear shoes,' and like, 'Oh god, I gotta be on my feet for nine hours; what am I gonna wear?'" Kors said. "Fragrance is the one place where you get to just say, 'Whoosh! I’m having fun.' It’s limitless."
Michael Kors Wonderlust is available now.