L’Interdit eau de parfume — French for forbidden — was originally created by Hubert de Givenchy and perfumer Francis Fabron in 1957. The aldehydic-floral scent was made up of violet, jasmine, woods, grass and rose, making it one of the first delicate, powdery fragrances to be launched by a revered fashion house.

As the story goes, the scent was made specifically for Audrey Hepburn, who wore it for months before it was made available publicly. She went on to the be the original face, and L’Interdit cemented its place as one of the most iconic fine fragrances of all time. It was reimagined in 2018 but this time fronted by actress Rooney Mara. Strong, graceful and supremely talented, Rooney couldn’t be a better successor — so much so, that’s she’s also the face of L’Interdit eau de parfum Rouge, a just-launched fragrance that puts a sensual twist on the original. Laced with heady notes of jasmine, blood orange and tuberose, the dichotomous juice is a sweet-but-spicy blend that’s powerful, moreish and bold.

Here, GRAZIA speaks with Rooney about her relationship with fragrance, her beauty favourites and what it means to work with a storied fashion house like Givenchy.

Images courtesy of Givenchy

GRAZIA: HOW DID YOUR WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH GIVENCHY COME ABOUT?

ROONEY: They approached me knowing that I had been a great admirer of the house for so many years. Givenchy has always been my favourite brand, and I’ve always felt I could really be myself wearing their clothes. It seemed like a perfect partnership. And obviously the fact the original L’Interdit was Audrey Hepburn’s favourite perfume fascinated me. It felt very special to be asked to be part of bringing the fragrance back to life.

GRAZIA: What is your idea of the Givenchy woman?

ROONEY: A woman who is confident, intelligent, classic, but also someone who pushes boundaries and marches to the beat of her own drum.

GRAZIA: What KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH FRAGRANCE? 

ROONEY: I think scent has great power. Certain fragrances can evoke all sorts of memories and feelings.

Images courtesy of Givenchy

GRAZIA: What’s your most visceral scent-related memory?

ROONEY: The smell from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For the screen test the clothes had a special scent to them — the woman who made them had put the smell in them. I remember it so clearly. And then when we made the movie the scent continued. I still have the scent and any time I smell it I am brought back to that time and that character.

GRAZIA: do you wear perfume every day?

ROONEY: I wear fragrance on special occasions! Or when I am working if I want the character I’m playing to have a certain smell.

GRAZIA: What is it you love about L’Interdit?

ROONEY: It evokes the past because it’s rooted in the brand’s history. To me, the scent is solid and classic… but in a way that’s futuristic and reflects how far the house has come. I think the fragrance feels storied — an age-old desire to be bold and to push forward. Everything about the Givenchy brand has always felt like that to me.

GRAZIA: What about L’Interdit Eau de Parfum Rouge — how is it different?

ROONEY: I love that it is both intense and sophisticated, floral and spicy… I love the duality!

GRAZIA: HAS WORKING WITH GIVENCHY CHANGED YOUR THOUGHTS OR VIEW ON FRAGRANCE AT ALL?

ROONEY: Yes! I didn’t really know how much art and science went into creating a fragrance. There is an entire language for it. I still don’t really understand but it is cool to learn how much is involved in the process.

GRAZIA: Aside from fragrance, what other beauty rituals do you like to partake in?

ROONEY: I don’t have much of a beauty routine and have never really been a ritual person, but I always wear sunscreen! And I use mostly natural products and oils.

GRAZIA: What are some of YOUR FAVOURITE NATURAL PRODUCTS?

ROONEY: I love True Botanicals and use the Calm Pure Radiance Oil. I love pure rosewater and the Carasoin Cold Fusion Intense Moisture Cream. I also love Olio E Osso products, and Virtue hair care.

GRAZIA: finally, what makes you feel beautiful?

ROONEY: Being self-possessed and compassionate.

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thoughts?