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PARIS — Kristen Stewart has played many new and varied roles in the recent past. She became a beatnik (in “On the Road”), a vampire bride (in the “Twilight” series), Snow White (in “Snow White and the Huntsman”) and Hollywood’s highest-paid actress (in real life), making $34.5 million in the 12 months ended May, according to Forbes. But few know that Stewart is now a fragrance aficionado, too.
She is the face of Balenciaga Paris’ new women’s scent, Florabotanica, which is due out in September. Given that Stewart had never been drawn to fragrance in the past, it was an unlikely part.
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“On a base level, the reason you want to wear a fragrance is because you want to smell attractive,” said Stewart, sitting in a suite of Le Bristol hotel here, wearing a Balenciaga T-shirt, shorts and heels. “That in itself is a pretty mature idea, especially considering the teenager I was. I was never the one wearing my mom’s perfume and trying to be sexy. I was like hanging out with my brothers and doing the opposite of that.
“I’m very lucky that I like the fragrance, because I would have done anything with [Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière],” continued the 22-year-old. “And I’m a terrible liar.”
Stewart said she was relieved the first time she smelled Florabotanica.
“There is something natural about it,” explained Stewart. “It’s very alive. I think that as a young person wearing it — considering that I’ve never worn a scent — it kind of puts you on this level of, like, ‘Whoa, check me out.’ ”
Teaming with Ghesquière was like “kismet,” she said.
The designer took note of Stewart in the movie “Panic Room” and a subsequent Bruce Weber shoot for Interview magazine. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I would love to do something with her one day.’ She’s so Balenciaga,” said Ghesquière.
For her part, Stewart feels “lucky” and “really excited” about the scent project, since it came together naturally.
“Even though, yes, it’s an ad and we’re selling a fragrance — I don’t want to sound pretentious — but I want to be part of this art project,” she said. “I want to be around Nicolas when he gets excited about fabric. I want to see the look on his face when he sees me put on a dress.”
Florabotanica is the second major Balenciaga scent Ghesquière has worked on, after Balenciaga Paris, which came out in 2010. For the new project, executives from fragrance licensee Coty Inc. asked him to pick out part of his Balenciaga fashion and have a young consumer in mind. In 2008, Ghesquière had created a collection involving “nice” and “nasty” flowers. The idea evolved into taking a sampling from that garden.
“It’s more narrative, kind of a fantasy,” he said. “So when I thought about the fragrance and the character that would visit that garden, I thought Kristen could be the perfect beauty and the perfect personality to represent that.”
Ghesquière said Stewart is full of dualities — gorgeous and boyish — for instance.
He described the Florabotanica flacon as being like a laboratory bottle into which the striped tube can be dipped to cull the botanical garden’s extract. Similarly, the scent’s invented name is meant to have both a scientific and natural ring.