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Donna Karan Talks Cashmere Mist

Donna Karan Talks Cashmere Mist
Britt Aboutaleb

The most surprising thing about Donna Karan’s iconic scent, Cashmere Mist, is that it was never supposed to be its own scent. “It was the fragrance of the ancillary bath products to our Signature fragrance,” Karan says. “The body lotion especially became this addictive obsession everyone knew and loved. Very soon, women wanted it as a standalone fragrance. They wrote letters, they stopped me on the street, they all but demanded we turn it into a fragrance.” So she did, and now, on the 20th anniversary of its debut, she and filmmaker Paul Austin have filmed a documentary on the scent.

“At times it felt like we were detectives,” says Austin. “We spent months trawling through archives, tracking down various key characters and interviewing more than 20 people who had been involved in the project from its inception.” The result is a concise but detailed look at the evolution of Cashmere Mist, from when Karan told perfumer Nick Calderone she wanted something that smelled like cashmere, to her husband’s varied iterations of the scent’s sculptural bottle. Karan says she made the film because, “Generations of women who love it don’t have any idea how it came to be.” Watch an exclusive clip, above, and head to cashmeremist.donnakaran.com to watch the entire film.