Pop Culture

FKA twigs on Perfume as Spiritual Communion and the “Journey of Moving Forward”

FKA twigs, if not exactly clairvoyant, has a crystal-clear lens on the present. “I have fallen back in love with music, danger, trying new things, sex, love, raves,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post. No more careful cocooning. It’s time to live—holy rites by earthly means.  

“I’m definitely a very spiritual person,” the artist explains by phone from London. “My spirituality, I think, is just a mix tape of things that I’ve picked up from different cultures and religions and spiritual ways that make me feel good and make me calm and, most importantly, support me in being the best person that I can be.” The mystical realm is front of mind, with twigs cast as the face of the newest Viktor&Rolf perfume, Good Fortune. Its bottle—New Age redux—takes after a fortune teller’s crystal ball, with a faceted amethyst cap. The creative partnership, too, is a multilayered affair, with a campaign video by Andrew Thomas Huang, backed by twigs’s recent single, “Killer.” An underlying theme is the continual “journey of moving forward,” she offers, and it plays out as a dreamscape fit for Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. “I always talk about Viktor&Rolf being surrealists in that way, especially a lot of their fashion and attitudes,” twigs explains of the duo’s theatrical ensembles. She seems to summon Viktor&Rolf’s fall 2005 show, where models took the runway with ruffled pillowcases behind their heads, like an army of sleepwalking princesses. Meanwhile, twigs and kiddysmile made their own splash Wednesday night during Paris Couture Week, with a livestream vogue ball in honor of the fragrance.  

Good Fortune is the latest scent from the creators of the wildly successful Flowerbomb, its message of feminine exuberance teased out over six iterations since its launch in 2005. Good Fortune, by contrast, arrives like a countermeasure to uncertain times. At the top of the fragrance is a novel distillate of fennel (supposedly linked to white magic) and gentian flower. (A garden website describes the latter as carrying “an airy daintiness as though poised for flight”—appropriate for twigs, whose pole choreography conveys a weightless ethereality.) There is jasmine grandiflorum from India for sly intoxication, along with a base of Madagascan vanilla. “We always like to play with opposites,” says Snoeren, pointing to Flowerbomb’s sense of romanticism and aggression. “For us, Good Fortune is spiritual and glamorous—two words that you don’t always necessarily combine.” 

The artist in the Good Fortune campaign.

The emphasis on well-being reflects the designers’ own instincts lately. “I’m giving more attention to meditation, and that’s definitely a positive new ritual in my life—if I do it,” says Horsting with a laugh. “Honesty is also a good ritual!” To twigs—a lifelong seeker, as demonstrated in the conversation below—she sees the Good Fortune campaign as an “opportunity to blast out art on a wider scale,” she says, grateful for the mind meld with like-minded collaborators. The perfume is a reminder to dig deep, beyond easily knowable truths. “I think it’s important for one’s ego to believe in something greater than oneself,” she adds. “It keeps me in check. It helps me be a better person. If there’s something bigger than you, whether it is a god of a religion, or whether it’s a belief or mysticism or spirituality, then surely there’s something to strive for.” 

Vanity Fair: As an artist who works on multiple planes—music, dance, personal style—how has scent made inroads into your creative process?

FKA twigs: I’ve always loved different smells and how they can make you feel. In the beginning of my career, I was actually wearing a lot of masculine fragrances because I just wanted people to feel like I was powerful. But as I’ve grown as an artist, I started to become really conscious of what was in my products and the integrity of the ingredients, which led me to start making my own fragrances. I made a scent with Christi [Meshell], from House of Matriarch, around “Two Weeks.” And then I had another one specifically for Magdalene. I guess it was a perfume, but it also wasn’t—it was about me really inhabiting the energy of Mary Magdalene. 

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