Carolina A. Herrera Supports Local Women Entrepreneurs in Madagascar for 'Good Girl' Fragrance Line

Good Girl by Carolina Herrera has been a bestselling fragrance since it was first launched in 2016, and this year the newest addition to the range, Good Girl Blush, contains a fresh blend of exotic ingredients.
Photo (left): Carolina A. Herrera & Quentin Bisch

At the heart of this exciting new release lie Vanilla and Ylang Ylang, which are sourced in Madagascar and the nearby Comoros Islands, off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

It was a fitting opportunity for Carolina A. Herrera, Creative Director of Beauty, to visit the region and take a closer look at the origins of these key ingredients, how and by whom they are sourced, and exactly what processes they go through before being blended into perfume.

The original Good Girl was the innovation of a duo of master perfumers, Louise Turner and Quentin Bisch. Carolina A. Herrera was accompanied on her journey by Quentin Bisch and once there, they met with Laetitia Vuillemenot, Director of the Givaudan Foundation. Givaudan is one of the world’s biggest producers of scents, in collaboration with whom multiple Carolina Herrera fragrances, including Good Girl Blush, came into being.

Carolina and Quentin, experts in their field, were fascinated to absorb the scents at their source and meet the people who pick, sort and distil the plants according to traditional and highly accomplished techniques. It was a meeting of minds and skills from diverse ends of the beauty spectrum, an equal exchange that expanded the other’s vision and provided unique moments of learning.

The Vanilla in Madagascar is of the finest quality, and the island has a long history of producing it. In order for it to grow into a Vanilla bean, it takes a team of qualified women to use a deft and locally honed technique to germinate the male and female parts of a flowered species of orchid. Once picked, the beans go through an eightmonth drying process in both the sun and shade. Another group of women use their skills to sort and prepare them to be turned into the Vanilla Absolute used in perfume.

The Ylang Ylang flower thrives in equally tropical conditions on the nearby Comoros Islands. Growing in the jungle, the trees need to be pruned for women to be able to reach the flowers to be picked. The fresh flowers are incredibly fragrant as well as fragile, so they are wrapped in soft cloth and immediately taken to the local distillery, which is managed by the same women. The liquids extracted are separated into essential oil and water, which are combined in the final version of Good Girl Blush to present a multi-faceted portrait of Ylang Ylang.

In partnership with Givaudan and the Givaudan Foundation, Carolina Herrera is proud to support local women not just by using their ingredients, but by mentoring entrepreneurial skills in order to launch independent businesses during farming off-seasons. The importance of future generations is also a huge priority, so children are empowered through the building and renovation of local schools. Other initiatives include helping to install energy-efficient distillation facilities and investing in projects that facilitate access to clean water.

Carolina Herrera is committed to sustainability and biodiversity. In the Comoros Islands, this translates directly into helping local communities to protect the natural resources and landscape and thereby the cultivation of the Vanilla and Ylang Ylang flower so central to Good Girl fragrances.