Brand Spotlight

Meet Arizona: Proenza Schouler’s Passion Project

First introduced in 2002, innovative fashion house Proenza Schouler is the brainchild of designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. A hybrid of the founders’ mothers’ maiden names, Proenza Schouler is a deeply personal, femininity-celebrating brand with heart. Beginning with shoes and its cult-favorite handbag, the PS1, the brand now encompasses ready-to-wear, couture, swimwear, and most recently fragrance. And speaking of scents, the brand’s debut is again, a personal one.

“We wanted the campaign to communicate the somewhat psychedelic and mind-bending feeling of escaping your everyday surroundings, ‘the hustle’ as we like to say, to find something deeper, a kind of spiritual and intellectual reawakening,” the designers have said about the Arizona fragrance and its coordinating campaign. “The narrative is set out in the American West but really it could be anywhere. It’s more about the feelings and emotions a trip like that conjures.”

When you look at the Arizona EDP, you can’t help but feel a sense of peace melded with adventure. Curvy and sleek, the simple flacon, which harkens to 90s minimalism and natural purity, is study in reflection. Meant to capture the vastness and beauty of its namesake American state, Arizona blends flora and fauna like white cactus accord and orris with innovative earth notes, including unique mineral and solar accords that give the nature-celebrating scent a futuristic spin.

In order to interpret the scent of the Torch Cactus, which only blooms once a year and has no actual fragrance, perfumers Carlos Benail and Loc Dong used technology and plenty of creativity. Boasting two distinct points of view and contrasting schools of perfumery-namely the exploration of naturals vs. synthetics-, the juice similarly unites botanical ingredients with fragrance technology. Equally dualistic is the scent’s bottle itself, which not only harkens to the millions-year-old Sonoran Desert, but also references a drop of water held in a glass home, yet another nod to the union of technology and nature.

According to McCullough and Hernandez, Arizona was a natural choice for fragrance inspiration. The designers have described the location, which sits far West, as a birthplace of the country where “raw beauty” and a “pioneering spirit” co-exist. It was on a road trip that the two became transfixed by the locale’s picturesque features and unique ability to make a visitor “travel inward.” It was with this understanding that the two set out to make whoever wears their scent feel similarly introspective.

“Reconnecting to things that really matter most feels both extremely personal and universal,” the duo has said. “In today’s world, this feeling of wanting to connect to something more real feels right to us. The sense of the outdoors, of unexplored nature, of a kind of universal energy.”

By Belisa Silva



Writer and expert