Joining the ranks of supermodels Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, actress Lily James is the new face of My Burberry fragrances. The 27-year-old rising star lets us in on what it’s like to be part of a British legacy.
captures Lily James
in a never-beforeseen
What is London without rain? Think of the metropolis, and the mind invariably conjures up romantic imageries of lush, quaint gardens, brimming with life post-downpour— and the perfect trench coat to weather the storm in.
Inspired by the iconic trench, the original My Burberry, launched two years ago, captures the essence of a London garden after the rain. This fall, the storied house revisits a familiar place with the release of its latest My Burberry Black scent.
“I had to go back to the original story, the English garden. But the garden is different because it’s a different time of day, a different mood.
There is heavy rain, yet it is warm; a captivating scent fills the garden; a sensual warmth and lushness fills the air,” explains renowned perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, who created My Burberry Black in collaboration with Burberry Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey.
Lily James stars in
the new My Burberry
Inspired by a London garden at dusk, amidst a gathering storm, My Burberry Black embraces a darker, sexier and more mysterious side. Replacing Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne as the face of the campaign is Downton Abbey star, Lily James—not too shabby for her first-ever global beauty gig.
“I have admired her work for quite some time and was bowled over by her wonderful charm and her warmth when we met, so it was a treat to have had the opportunity to collaborate on this shoot together,” says Bailey.
Clad in a black Burberry Heritage trench coat in the print and film campaign, once again shot by celebrated fashion photographer Mario Testino, James reveals she had a lot of fun showing a different side of herself. In this BAZAAR exclusive, we get a behind- the-scenes peek into the shoot and James’ experience.
Christopher Bailey and
Mario Testino at the
You’re often referred to as a modern British beauty. What was your relationship with beauty when you were growing up?
I have never been obsessed with beauty but I like to make an effort. There are [these] pictures of me from when I was four years old... I broke into my mum’s bedroom while she was having a dinner party and put all her makeup on my face. But what’s amazing is I actually kind of got it all in the right places. I mean, it was terrible but it was good.
What is your personal beauty routine like?
I’ve always had an eye for makeup, but I don’t wear a lot. I’m quite simple and I don’t wear makeup much in the day, unless I have to. I like a low-key natural look—brows, some mascara, a bit of contouring and lip balm, unless I am going to an event when I go for a stronger eye look and usually a nude lip. But I absolutely love fragrances; I’ve always worn perfume and like to wear it every day.
So you’ve always been a perfume fan! What was it like going from playing dress-up to being the face of such an iconic scent that is so British?
I feel hugely flattered and very proud to be starring in the My Burberry campaign. There is a real sense of quintessential Britishness about Burberry that is so effortless and cool, and to be a part of that is so exciting.
Let’s go back to your love for perfumes. Are you a signature scent kind of person? Or do you believe in having a fragrance wardrobe?
I like having a signature scent myself and I like wearing the same perfume. At the moment, I’m really enjoying wearing My Burberry Black. I like that there’s this sort of dark edge—the amber, and then there’s the peach, it feels floral but with this kind of more sensual muskiness to it.
What was the entire process like? How did you approach playing the role of the woman in the My Burberry Black ad campaign?
This was my first-ever campaign and it felt great! There was a certain persona that I was embracing—the world of My Burberry Black is a world of sensuality, and the woman who wears it is very confident in her own skin. She’s quite seductive and quite sensual, and that was what I was embracing.
How would you compare making an ad campaign with making movies or shooting a TV series?
There was music and it felt really fun. And because it was a film, it wasn’t just stil ls, there wasn’t that much dif ference to being on set for a film. For film roles, I learn my lines! What’s interesting is the characters themselves.
At the moment, with the roles that I’ve been playing, they’ve not all been a million miles away from me. You have to find certain parts of the character in you and enhance them. That’s exactly what I did with this. Mario Testino has been part of My Burberry since it started and he’s worked with all the big names.
What was it like to be working with him?
Brilliant, he has so much energy, he’s like this force and he makes you feel confident and relaxed. He wants you to be yourself and he knows how to capture the best from you. He brings out your confidence.
What do you think is the message behind this scent?
I think it’s about embracing your sensuality and the confidence in yourself. It’s British and fun and there’s a freshness to it; a boldness.
From top: My Burberry Black, $215 for 90ml; My Burberry EDP, $215 for 90ml; My Burberry EDT, $175 for 90ml, Burberry
by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian
On what My Burberry Black is about…
Christopher [Bailey] gave me a vision and I stuck to that. It is about sensuality and seductiveness and, of course, the black trench.
On the ingredients in My Burberry Black…
It fuses the scent of sun-drenched jasmine flower and peach nectar with a touch of rose. The signature rose note at the heart of My Burberry is given a sweet and inviting candied twist, while rich amber patchouli rounds off the scent for a deep and captivating finish.
On his creative process…
I believe that the hardest thing in my work is to let people feel what they smell. This is why the message has to be very clear in a way.
It can’t be as sophisticated as something visual, because when you look at a flower arrangement, you have many colours, and your eyes and your brain are capable of defining everything properly.
When you smell, your sense of smell lacks a sense of education, so you have to be more direct to create a great perfume. It becomes very emotional and you have to go straight to the point and be very sharp.
I think the modern woman has gained the freedom to be who she wants to be. I think she has to believe that she can have a different lipstick; or she can get a different haircut; or she can just wear black and white all her life because that is what she wants to do. It’s the same thing with love; you have one love or different loves, you know. It’s freedom.