Frisky Q&A: Gwen Stefani Talks Harajuku Lovers Fragrances & Being A Working Mom

Gwen Stefani will launch five more Harajuku Lovers fragrances, called Wicked Style, Nov. 1. This time around, G and the Harajuku Girls — Love, Lil Angel, Music, and Baby — are back in Tokyo on Takeshita-Dori, a pedestrian-only street where fashionable people go to chill, and are dressed in fashions that originated in Japan — gothic Lolita, sweet Lolita, visual Kei, Kawaii, and Omotesandō girl. Gwen loves building a story for her Harajuku Girls perfumes as much as she enjoys creating perfume bottles that double as works of art. But what’s it like to create five fragrances at a time when it takes other celebrities years to create just one? A few other bloggers and I had the chance to chat with Gwen backstage at her L.A.M.B. spring 2011 fashion show, where she talked about the new Wicked Style fragrances, being a mom and designer, and her personal beauty choices.

You know, I don’t always wear red lipstick. Because people think they see me everyday, but they don’t. I change it up, but my husband really likes the red. So I probably have to keep the red because I want to keep the marriage.

Is it strange to work on five fragrances at once?

It’s really hard. I think perfume, in general, is really quite challenging. It’s so abstract. And you like something right away, but then you wear it and you’re like, “Oh my god, it’s bugging me!” I think doing five at once is even worse, especially knowing you have the personality of each girl that you’re trying to fit in the perfume and make it as true as possible to the personality of each name of the fragrance. So, yeah, it’s crazy. But it’s super fun. And it’s also the greed in me. I love being able to say, “Oh my God, I’ve got five new perfumes!” And they all kind of work together. They’re all about being sweet and happy … I think they turned out really good this time.

How do you decide which Harajuku fragrance to wear, now that you have so many collections?

With everything, it seems like I always get into one thing and then I wear that until I burn out. And then I’ll go to the next. Like one day, I’m like, “Oh my god, I love this.” And then the next day, I’m like, “Why am I only wearing this one?” I’ll discover a new one and then I’ll be into that one. That’s always how it is with everything.

Has having two kids changed the way you design clothes and fragrance?

I think it definitely affects my designing when I’m pregnant, for sure, because everything looks really tiny. I’m like, “Oh my god, no, it really needs to be bigger! It’s too tight.”

Fragrance for sure, as well, because your sense of smell is ruined when you’re pregnant and it makes you want to puke when you’re trying to smell these fragrances. I can’t even wear perfume when I’m pregnant.

With the designing, I really wanted to start L.A.M.B. because I knew I wanted to have a family and wanted to be able to do something that I could do at home and feel creative and have a creative outlet, but have my kids around. They’re there the whole time and they get a little annoyed when I’m having my meetings. But I like to be able to work and be with the kids at the same time. It was a plan I had a long time ago, and now I’m actually living it, so it’s kind of surreal and sad at the same time that all that time has gone by and here we are. I have a five-year-old, no he’s four, thank God. But yeah, it’s going fast, but that’s the whole reason I started L.A.M.B. I knew that one day, hopefully, I’d have them.

What was your favorite fragrance growing up, and what memories are associated with it?

I didn’t wear a lot. My mom really didn’t wear a lot of perfume. She had Chantilly sitting on the toilet, or something. I can remember things like going to Save-On and wanting to get Tickle deodorant or Love’s Baby Soft, you know that kind of thing. But then I was really into those Rasta oils and things like that. And then when I started working at the makeup counter, that’s when I started discovering fragrance. At that time, it was all about Opium and Obsession, all those fragrances from the early ’90s, I guess. So that’s kind of my journey. And to be able to do my own fragrance was … I just never thought I’d do it. I always thought, “Why would I have some fragrance named after me? That’s silly. Why do people do that?” But then when I had L.A.M.B. it all kind of made sense. Kind of the reward of having a clothing line is having that fragrance. People had asked me for years to do things like that, and I was always like, “Well, I’m in a band. Why would I do that?” It didn’t ever click to me, but now being able to do a line and have a fragrance and have clothes, it’s all part of the layers of what you wear and it makes more sense. And I really enjoy doing it.

You obviously have a great design aesthetic; tell us a little about the perfume bottle design.

I really love that part of it. We developed a lot of things, as well, that never really came out, so you know how that goes. And I really enjoy that process; it’s kind of a shame when that doesn’t actually happen. But [for] the first L.A.M.B. bottle I just had the idea to sum up everything that I love, and the Rasta colors and they had just made that new logo in gold, and it really was just right where I was at at the time. To me, that bottle was so hot. I loved it. And these ones … I remember meeting with Coty the first time, saying that if I did Harajuku, it would have to be the girls. I think it was Avon, back in the day, who did those bottles we were inspired by. It was from when I was a little girl, they used to have something similar, but not as cool. It was a very vague memory, and I was like, “It would be so cool if the bottles were like that.” I never thought that they would really do it. It’s such a big thing and I never thought they’d turn out so good as they did. And actually the big ones we had in the ad campaign, I have at my house, and I’m installing them. They look like Japanese art! They were really expensive.

You have a very signature look, the hair, the lips. If you had to pick one thing, what would you stick with?

That’s really hard. I don’t think I’ll be blond for the rest of my life. I don’t know maybe I will be. I can’t think any further ahead than after the show.

You know, I don’t always wear red lipstick. Because people think they see me everyday, but they don’t. I change it up, but my husband really likes the red. So I probably have to keep the red because I want to keep the marriage.
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