From Fashion to Fragrance: 5 Questions for Carolina Castiglioni of Marni

The Marni heiress talks about the label's first fragrance

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The heiress of Italian fashion house Marni, which her parents, Consuelo and Gianni, founded in 1994,Carolina Castiglioni leads the brand’s website and special projects division. That includes ventures like Marni’s first-ever fragrance, which the label launched Wednesday at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. In between shows and launch parties, Carolina talked to TIME about her creative process, working with her mom and her favorite fragrance memories.

Tell me about your creative process. How did you translate the Marni sensibility to a fragrance?

We started two years ago, and it was a really long process, because first we had to choose which aromas we liked and didn’t like. My mother really loved all the incense, spices, wood. But those elements were a bit too masculine. At the end, we added the black rose. We didn’t want a girlish flower, too pink, so we selected a special one. The majority of the fragrances now are all sweet and fruity and flowery. And we don’t like those.

We didn’t want a seasonal fragrance, we wanted a timeless one. If you fall in love with this, you keep it forever. It’s the same thing with our clothes. I think that Marni, if you buy one piece, you love it and you keep it. You don’t change it next season. It becomes like a normal gesture. When you prepare in the morning, then you spray it as a normal thing, every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend. It’s part of you.

After designing clothes, did creating a fragrance come easily for you?

For us it was all new, but the process is almost the same. My mother works with instinct; she does what she likes. She creates clothes that she would wear. And for fragrance, she mixed together all the elements that she liked.

We worked together from the beginning. In a way, she is the head, and I executed. We did it all together. In all the meetings we were together, and then I was doing the follow-up.

What’s your first memory of fragrance?

My father’s scent. He always wears the same fragrance, always. The Caron pour Homme. When I smell it, it’s him.

What fragrance did you wear before you created this one?

Comme des Garcon Parfum Series 3 Incense Jaisalmer.

What kind of woman do you imagine wearing this fragrance?

She really has a strong personality. We don’t want to impose an image, a look. We prefer that customers come in our shop, enter a Marni world and discover all the different pieces, because we have a really wide collection. They pick what they like and combine [pieces] following their personal style and not an image that we give them. They have to have a personal identity and self-confidence.

Marni Eau de Parfum is available in Saks Fifth Avenue stores and online at