Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black & Nirvana White: About Bed by the Olsens: Generation Cocooning 2 (2014)


The Olsen twins are launching a duo of fragrances under their apparel label Elizabeth and James following up on previous incursions in the celebrity category when they were teens. This is a different project - Nirvana Black & Nirvana White are about lifestyle seen from the point of view of apparel brand Elizabeth and James buttressed by the personal worldview of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen... 

The general philosophy behind the fragrances is unconventional yet rings true: a fluffly, cloudy bed is the ultimate place of refuge in a busy and judgmental world, which is however fortunately evolving more and more into an ever expanding accepting moral space compared to mores prevalent in previous generations.

 It sounds to us like an update and a twist on the 90s Cocooning.  Based on these early statements, we see that it differs from cocooning in the 20th century in that the person retreats from the world yet remains connected to it by staying morally aware of others and having a broader conscience beyond that of hedonism, curling-up back into a fetal position and baby-sitting of the self. It's not just about a superior mattress, a downy comforter, hot tea and DVDs anymore; it is about an impressive mattress made possible by enhanced technology turned into a near ethereal support for our minds - we go back up on clouds here - allowing for an experience of bed as monkish cell. It is also a far cry from the 70s experience of nirvana, which was artificial. Here we are confronted with a sensation which is both physical and spiritual, clean and connected. You could call it a form of Connected Cocooning. 

"The name Nirvana was chosen, said Ashley, “because to us, this was really about a moment — and what’s that one word that’s going to define that one moment where you feel comfortable, sexy and at ease with yourself? For us, we always came back to our beds. That’s where I love to spend my time off. No noise, no people trying to bug you. So it was about capturing that. And about there being no judgment, and how our generation is growing up with that intention. People are much more accepting of things and of people’s choices. That was also part of this process."


The two sisters collaborated with perfumers Pierre Negrin and Honorine Blanc of Firmenich for respectively Nirvana Black and Nirvana Blanc. About the creation and developing process, Mary-Kate said,

"I don’t want the fragrances to wear [the customer]. Ashley and I are really into oils, and those were the notes we were really attracted to. It was fascinating to see how many different variations of ingredients there were, how many different types of sandalwood, for instance. That was one of the things I found most interesting, the quality issues of these ingredients, and also balancing all of the notes so that they would sit well together in the juice."


While initially, the idea was to launch a single jus, it soon became obvious that a second one was needed, which is not suprising considering there is a twin dynamic at play. At one point they realized that could not cram all the notes they were interested in in the same bottle. 

Nirvana Black rests on three main notes of violet, sandalwood and vanilla and Nirvana White is characterized by peony, muguet and musk. Both however are about a common experience, intimacy. As Mary-Kate underlined,

Also, these fragrances are really about what everyone wants, which is intimacy.” 

The perfumes will launch at Sephora from late January 2014 in the United States. Elizabeth and James Nirvana eaux de parfum will each be available in three sizes — 50 ml. for $75, 30 ml. for $55 and a $22 rollerball.

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