Miley Cyrus on Gucci’s Flora Gardenia perfume and reinventing herself
Since October 2020, Miley has been working on Gucci’s Eau Parfumée Flora Gorgeous Gardenia with Alessandro Michele. The scent embodies optimism, hope and excitement – qualities Miley says Michele saw in her before seeing them in herself. Here she talks to our editor-in-chief, Mel Ottenberg, about the creative process behind the creation of the scent and the power it holds.
MILEY CYRUS: Hello. Hi how are you?
INTERVIEW: Oh my god Miley, everything is fine, how are you?
CYRUS Actually I don’t need to see you, they said I wasn’t – not that I didn’t need to see you, but you can’t see me, that’s really what i mean.
INTERVIEW: I light up to just kiss you.
CYRUS: Oh, I want to turn it on then.
INTERVIEW: I was going to turn it off.
CYRUS: I look good.
INTERVIEW: You look good, though.
CYRUS: No, I know. I just want to be sure.
INTERVIEW: Hi Miley, are you wearing Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau de Parfum correctly? now?
CYRUS: Only on my [censored].
INTERVIEW: Oh my God, this is fantastic. I bet you smell good. Hey Miley how are you fantastic woman?
CYRUS: I’m fine. I can’t wait to see some of these images. I wanted to shoot some of these things i had written because i like to think about who i am I’m going to say, and it’s not from Gucci but from me, because I have a very personal connection with Flora Fantasy, what that means to me – not bullshit but, like, for real.
INTERVIEW: I believe so. I’ll put some in right away.
CYRUS: And the packaging is very cute. One thing I like about Alessandro [Michele, creative director of Gucci] is that sometimes when you’re lost in your own core identity and self-perception – even when I push myself to my furthest limits, I will always remain only in my comfort zone, because that is what our survival and the humanity within us place in our preprogrammed brain. We never want to feel unsafe or feel like we are doing something that cannot be undone because it would be detrimental to us. What I love about Alessandro is that I felt he saw a side of me that I couldn’t, when I was. And now the Flora Fantasy resonates with me a lot more. We have been creative collaborators in other ways,
mostly revolving around my look and the custom designs he created for my shows, but when it comes to this alliance that we have formed, it now only reveals itself as the partnership that it really is. Alessandro saw me in a way that I couldn’t see at the time, because when we started talking about making this partnership a reality, it was around October 2020 and it was a very different time no only for me, but for the world. There was so much darkness and there was so much heaviness and it was right in the middle of the pandemic and the protest and the politics of it all. We were in the middle of the presidential campaign and it was so heavy. Flora Fantasy was really an escape for me at the time and I think it will be for everyone.
Alessandro saw me in this soft, vulnerable, light, freakish state that I couldn’t see. I remember the first time I started talking to Alessandro, I had these glasses and, like, a big Gucci hat and all black and I was like, “You know, I always know when something is good. for me and I don’t think I’m the right girl. I think you made a mistake. I don’t think I’m representing Flora Fantasy. I think I am very heavy. And he says, “Well, that’s not what I really see and it’s not what I think the audience sees. I have the impression that you are hope and optimism. Something I did during the pandemic was Bright Minded [Miley’s live Instagram talk show] and the Flora Fantasy is one of them, and so when he saw me in a way that I couldn’t see myself, that’s when he confirmed the idea that Alessandro Michele is a total visionary and a kind of genius. Now, almost a year later, I resonate so much with this fantasy and the spirit of the beautiful gardenia because of its life cycles and oneness with nature. I think the natural awareness that flowers have to thrive and be seasonal, and knowing that being in season is good, knowing that there is a special time for your beauty, for you to flourish, and there is a moment for you to be more discreet. I just think I resonate with the Flora Fantasy in ways that I didn’t know.
INTERVIEW: I think the public sees you as someone of hope. You know you’re doing your thing, but you might get really dark inside, like we all were, but, uh, but it resonates. Hope we stay in the fantasy for a minute, right?
CYRUS: I like fantasy too. Another thing that I had recently that I didn’t really realize [shows us her notebooks]—RuPaul gave me this for New Years, it says “Let’s Ru This”. And then I got my WOW gifts, honey. I have my WOWPresents notes, I mean I’m so into it. I have all my notes and I write things down. This is actually my book that I use to write my moral and my values and my potential and my purpose. And this is the book that I use for my work and my commitments and my abilities in this area. I always keep them together because I want to make sure that everything I do aligns with my morals and values, so I kind of overlap when it comes to my professionalism with my personal values and I don’t do not allow them to ever be divided. As for what Flora Fantasy meant to me, I started talking to Alessandro again in October 2020 and had lost my grandmother. Part of her identity for all of us, her grandchildren, was floral, because dear, she WAS IT. The wallpaper was flowery, the sofa, everything. In his last days, this is how we knew we could get him to light up with life, that was flowers, and flowers can represent so many elements of life. When someone has a newborn baby, you send flowers. When it’s someone’s birthday, you send flowers, and when someone dies, you send flowers. In that way, they’re a representation of the cycles of life, and so for me personally, when I use the gardenia, it’s not on a physical level, it’s, like, this overwhelming feeling that my grand- mother is around. Her house always smelled of flowers and I think if you can have an emotional or spiritual attachment to it all, it makes buying something as easy as a perfume in that emotional experience. I think that’s the way it should be. That’s why I’m a musician because, as much as it’s a physical sense, I feel like it goes on a deeper level and that’s what I think Flora Fantasy really represents.
INTERVIEW: It’s about women, love, hope and all that, as you said. Sometimes if I’m at at the mall or at the airport and I see a perfume that I was wearing, I’m just going to put it on. it brings me back as the ‘90s.
CYRUS: Yeah, you’re going back to a rave.
INTERVIEW: I was going to say that, there is one that I will put like at Charles de De Gaulle Airport and I’ll be like, “Oof, THAT night in 2001.” But on a sweet floral note, I like it about your grandmother. I don’t really have that. I’m a little jealous — well, I guess my mom is perfume will always be that for me.
CYRUS: Exactly, and you know when you have a bad night with some alcohol and you’re like, “I can’t touch this anymore” – that’s why I have another book sitting here that’s marked as my Holy Bible. But it’s not the Bible, it’s this habit book and it’s really important to me, because that’s how we created a society, and the system is the habits. The sun is up, we work, the sun is down, we to play. We are free, but we are not. That’s why I love Grace Jones, because she says, “Time, time, time, all that matters is time ”, because she is eight hours late for David Letterman. That’s all. And there is a consideration for other people of why we consider time and that people’s time is precious, but we really are that kind of servant of the time structure. Your brain and its associations are therefore very powerful. That’s why i think the scent can be something deeper than just part of my morning ritual. It’s like, yeah, but you you have to be very careful what you choose because your perfume will also leave a mark on others people. You know you never want anybody to go away, “Oh, the smell of gardenias reminds me that slut Miley. She’s crazy. “
INTERVIEW: I mean, listen, I’m glad you expressed something of hope and excitement, and again i really hope this will last. I can’t wait for you to see these photos. We created something really
CYRUS: I’m freaking out, I heard from my friend Andrew Wyatt that they are ridiculous.
INTERVIEW: I showed Andrew Wyatt. He was the symbolic friend that I showed.
CYRUS: Bye Mel!
INTERVIEW: If you want me, I got you, whatever. I love you.
Hair: Cervando Maldonado To 454 North Room and The wall group
Reconcile: James kaliardos using Gucci Beauty To The wall group
Decor: Nicolas of the Gardens To Streeters Agency
Production: Chloe Mina
Photo assistants: Adam kim and Joshua Wilkens
Fashion assistants: ME Clark, Lucy Gaston, and Leslie Stephens
Manicure: Katie tran