Vanities: Zoe Kravitz

Those of us who were around to watch actor Lisa Bonet and musician Lenny Kravitz make names for themselves, separately and as a couple, in the late 1980s and early 1990s have long been aware of their daughter, Zoe Kravitz. She’s been acting for about a decade, and over the past few years, her roles in the tv series Big Little Lies and High Fidelity have pushed her closer to being a household name.

In 2018 she was named as a model and spokesperson for Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics and fragrances, particularly Black Opium (2014).

I’m generally not interested in knowing about stars’ favorite fragrances, especially when they’re being paid to promote specific brands, but I have a feeling Kravitz has her own good taste, especially when I look back to earlier interviews.

When she spoke with ELLE Canada in 2018, Kravitz said:

“My Grandmother [actress Roxie Roker], my father’s mother, wore a lot of perfume. She was the first person I knew who had a collection of fragrances. She had all these atomizers—you know, the glass bottles with the ball. I remember putting on her clothes and pretending to spritz myself. It felt like what an adult person does. She was a classy lady. . .

It’s a huge honour to be the face of a couture fragrance as a woman of colour; I don’t know if I’m the first, but I know that it’s a rarity. When you think of classic fashion houses, you don’t think of women of colour. Especially with fragrance—which is a big deal as a lot of money is there. The fact that it has taken so long to trust a woman of colour in this position is kind of sad, but it’s also amazing that we are finally here.”

That fact in itself is worth note, of course.

At a younger age and in a slightly less prestigious fashion/fragrance tier, Kravitz was the face of Vera Wang Glam Princess (2009) and Preppy Princess (2011), but her tastes have apparently deviated from anything like those lightweight, candy-fruity scents over the past decade.

In a 2014 interview with The New York Times, for example, she named some of her favorite body products and fragrances. This list gives us a pre-YSL (and therefore more varied and interesting) glimpse into her olfactory tastes:

Emily Berl for The New York Times, 2014

“In the shower, I use Dr. Bronner’s almond soap. Kiehl’s has a really great soap, too, that I’ll switch to sometimes. It’s called Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends: Vanilla and Cedarwood. . . . I love oils. Right now, I like vanilla musk, which I picked up at Whole Foods. But I’ll have others, and I usually mix different scents. Sometimes I’ll add a sandalwood. I’m also really into a Tom Ford cologne called Tobacco Vanille.”

Kiehl’s discontinued the Vanilla and Cedarwood fragrance and body collection a while back; you can still read my 2012 review on Now Smell This to get an idea how it smelled.

The “vanilla musk” from Whole Foods is most likely Nemat’s Vanilla Musk, a longtime favorite line with Whole Foods/Whole Body shoppers.

Z Kravitz bathroom

This more recent photo of Kravitz, from her Instagram feed in 2017, shows her posing for a selfie in her own shower. She was showing off her new haircut, but I’m more interested in the products on the shelf above her head: three Aesop body washes, a Santa Maria Novella floral tonic (Rose Water, Orange Blossom Water, or Herb Water?), a Diptyque Ambre candle, and some Chanel shower gel or body oil.

(I can also see a small Diptyque candle in the shower—how does that work, exactly?)

Her bathroom must smell fantastic.

In addition to those Diptyque candles, Kravitz is also fond of more affordable home fragrance. In 2018 she told The Cut that her home smells like “Nag Champa, weed, and good food being cooked.” She also told ELLE Canada, “I always try to travel with the same incense—I like Nag Champa—or candle. When it smells the same everywhere you go, I feel like you can trick your senses into feeling like you’re at home.”

That last remark probably makes a lot of sense to fellow aromaphiles. With perfume or ambient scents, you can always create a private olfactory experience for yourself. I like to think that Kravitz is still doing this, sticking with her favorite smells even as her visibility and fame continue to expand.

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