Bella Hadid on Launching Her Ôrəbella Fragrance & Staying Ahead of the Curve

My Uber pulls up at the exact moment Bella Hadid steps out of a black Sprinter van in a jaw-dropping yellow corset gown pulled from Roberto Cavalli’s spring 2003 collection. She gamely poses for pictures and heads inside a West Village event space, warmly greeting everyone along the way. She’s here for the official launch of Ôrəbella, her new skin-nurturing fragrance, the fruition of a passion she says began years ago when she was mixing essential oils on the Hadid family farm in Pennsylvania. Inside are Hadid’s business partners, fellow models, fashion insiders, and, notably, a few men in cowboy hats. A photographer reminds Hadid’s mother, Yolanda, to shake a bottle of the fragrance to show off its unique bi-phase formula. Later, Rosalia and Alex Consani join the party.

I’m diverted to the Window2Soul room, an enclave devoted to one of Ôrəbellab’s first three scents decorated with thousands of flowers. A recording of Hadid reading a poem plays on a loop. That recorded voice is soon replaced by the real thing as the model enters for a chat about her new venture:

So why fragrance?

I don’t think there was ever a moment when I was like, ‘I’m going to put a product out, and I want it to be this, or I want it to be that.’ Fragrance, for me, was just something I was always passionate about, and it helped me with my own daily rituals and made me feel unique. In Pennsylvania, I was like, maybe this is something special that I can actually do something with one day. I started to formulate and think about the ethos of what I wanted the brand to be—if I ever made one. People talk about manifesting, but it wasn’t necessarily that I manifested. What was on my mind was creating, building, and making something. It was always going to include essential oils. Once I started to get creative with it, I knew it would be a fragrance, but I wanted it to be something that could break the barriers of what the fragrance world looks like today.

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How long did the process take?

I started making decks and pitching ideas to my now-partners five years ago. A couple of years before then, I started really making my own essential oils. I’d be at home with glycerin as my base, adding different essential oils together. I’d be like, maybe I want something spicy, so I should add ginger or cinnamon. I was just getting creative with it, almost like we do with our outfits.

I’d imagine that when most people launch a fragrance line, they don’t already have their own formulas as a starting point.

No one came to me like, here are three scents, which is why you should be the face. I brought my scents and a creative board of what I felt the ethos of the brand should be. From there, we started to tweak the three scents. I was having the time of my life actually, just making new ones and having different ideas. In my journal, I would write all of the essential oils that I loved, and then what I felt in my heart would go well with them. I think when you do it freely and creatively that way, you can get a lot more interesting things out of it instead of looking at what others are doing. Whether it’s my style or a hairdo or makeup or fragrance, I always want to do what I feel will be cool in a year or two from now. This stuff that I’m putting out now is stuff that I made probably two or three years ago. The fragrance is very timeless, but you can have fun with it.

How did the bi-phase formula come about?

I started out using glycerin, but it sprays differently out of the spout of the actual perfume bottle, so we couldn’t use it. I wanted to do something different, maybe something with snow mushrooms and, going back to my roots, something with olive oil. We ended on a five-ingredient moisturizing blend, which is the bottom half. Then, the top half is made up of essential oils. You shake to activate it. The moisturizing element was really important for me. For regular perfumes, there are only certain spots you want to spray, and then it just sits on your pores and skin and essentially puts toxins and chemicals into your body. With the bi-phase formula, you can spray it all over your body after you get out of the shower in the morning, or even if you want to smell adorable when you go to sleep, either for yourself or for your significant other.

Do the three scents have different personalities in your head?

Our Salted Muse actually does have pink salt and peppercorn. It’s our more musky, kind of oaky smell. That’s the one that is pretty androgynous. The girls love it, the gays love it, the men love it. Window2Soul is more of my white flower. I always wanted to do a white flower scent with gardenia, jasmine, and rose smell, and that’s what that is giving in this room. It’s really fresh and it feels like you just got out of the shower, even if you are on a red eye and have to go straight to work. Blooming Fire is really our sweetest one. It’s the most nostalgic to me and my childhood growing up by the beach. It smells like when you’re sitting on the beach, and the sun’s going down, and you just put a sweater on; you just got out of the water. You’re still slightly salty, but you still have a little sunscreen on. The Tahitian monoi gives you that kind of smell, but it also has a lot of patchouli in it, which makes it rounded. I really wanted to grab the highs and the lows of different factors to be able to make things that are interesting and not very flat.

Recently, you shared your morning routine on TikTok. If you had to suggest one morning practice or ritual, what would it be?

I’m a big fan of journaling, obviously. I like to be able to leave the day before in the day before. When you wake up and subconsciously write down your dreams and the things that made you anxious or worried the day before, you can leave it there and go into your next day. Then I’m grateful and happy and hopefully looking forward to the next hours of the day. Also, just making sure that you keep a routine of what your body needs, whether it is with vitamins or tinctures. I think we all kind of lack that sometimes. When we take care of our insides, we look good on the outside.

You’re starting with three scents, but are there other places you want to take the brand?

The way I always pitched it was that it was going to be the umbrella of Ôrəbella. And I can’t tell you so much of what’s coming, but there are a lot of things that I already have in the works.

I have to ask about the dress.

Today I’m wearing Cavalli. This is a dress that I have seen for many, many years, and Molly Dickinson was able to source it for me. It was a dream come true. I sent her all of these looks and I was like, ‘Surely there’s no way that you can help me get them.’ Two days later, she had pulled every single look that I wanted. She was just an angel. I haven’t been working with a stylist in a long time, but this week I just wanted to really focus on Ôrəbella and the press. Molly did such an incredible job with helping me, and she’s able to be so collaborative, and that’s how I like to work too.

And everyone wants to know, will we see you back on a runway soon?

I’ll give you a runway walk here if you want. Exclusive! But who’s to say? You’ll see me there when it happens.

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