Katy Perry and the Killer Queen

Katy Perry and the Killer Queen

This month, Katy Perry launches Killer Queen, the third in her perfume repertoire—a non-feline-themed floriental fragrance. Our DEBORAH FULSANG had the pleasure of the star’s company, and her perfumer’s too, while in New York recently to talk about the spritz. Take a read!

QUESTION:  Was it a teenage dream of yours to launch a fragrance?
KATY PERRY: I love the process of creating a fragrance. For me it takes about a year to create a [one]. [My] first one was more floral, the second more gourmand. This one is more luxurious: It has a hint of floral, a hint of the gourmand with the praline, and it has the red velvet flower—just a drop, because there are nine different elements in this [perfume]. The red velvet reminds me of luxury and sophistication; I wanted to put something royal into a bottle.

QUESTION: Can you tell us about the inspiration for the name Killer Queen?
PERRY: It draws from many things. First and foremost, I love the idea of a monarchy system, especially where a woman rules. And the song: If you listen to the lyrics that explain this type of woman, that’s the type of woman I want to be. I hope I never stop with the evolution process. From the first time I heard it at 15 and now being 28, I have tried to embody some of her characteristics and that is what inspires it. Everything is very detailed and ornate.

My first fragrance was a cat and while I will never desert the cat, I think this bottle is really wear I am now. Purr and Meow were perfect for then, but Killer Queen is who I am now: I created a crest that embodies me, the treble cleft which is the music, the cats which [are] the affection, the cross dagger which is the strong spirituality, the hearts which is love. Those are what make my world spin.

QUESTION: What queen, living or dead, fascinates you and why?
PERRY: Probably Cleopatra. She was such a bitch! She was sleeping with Caesar and trying to overthrow him. I love it. I’ve been obsessed with Egypt, where I’ve never been, but I will go. I love Cate Blanchett playing Elizabeth.

QUESTION: What was your favourite scent growing up in California?
PERRY: Probably of bougainvillea. Gardenia, of course. And being in California, Mexican food—I love tacos. I don’t know if we’re going to have a taco-smelling fragrance though.

QUESTION: You said you love the process of creating a fragrance. Is it like creating an album?
PERRY: I know that this fragrance—the third installment of my fragrance life—is a bit cooler, a bit edgier, a bit more sophisticated and I feel that [this] is where I am now. In the beginning it was a bit cutesier and kind of edible. But I feel like this embodies where I am [now] in a visual aspect. I think that hopefully you’ll get something cooler and in the next installment of my music.

QUESTION: Can you name a few women who inspire you in beauty, spirit and style?
PERRY: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett. Many funny women: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristin Wigg, Rebel Wilson, Amy Sedaris—all the girl that make you laugh.

QUESTION: You’ve talked before about being inspired by Freddie Mercury and I wanted to ask what you think he would think of this fragrance?
PERRY: Freddie Mercury’s fingerprints are all over me. I loved his courage and confidence and [how he] transcended [the] sexes of course. And Queen was a part of opening my eyes to songwriting and how I wanted to songwrite. The title for this fragrance is ‘Own The Throne’ and in some ways he owned the stage, and I try to own the stage.

QUESTION: Your perfumer says your perfume mirrors your transformation.
PERRY: It mirrors visually where I am now.

QUESTION: But also in life, he said you have matured.
PERRY
: You have to. At some point in life you have to accept that you’re going to grow up. 

Q&A with Killer Queen perfumer Laurent Le Guernec

LE GUERNEC: “The whole story about the fragrance is that Katy wanted a perfume with a connection to royalty,” says Le Guernec. “All the ingredients that are showcased have a connection: There is a flower that is called, the ‘Red Velvet Flower’—that accord was created with ingredients that have a strong connection with the colour red and the texture of velvet. Velvet was a very expensive material in past times, only the rich could afford it. As a perfumer I have a tool, I can put in ‘red’ and ‘velvet,’ and then I have a list of ingredients that people can connect to. This list is how I got that flowery scent.”

QUESTION: Why Jasmine?
LE GUERNEC: “To me, Jasmine is the queen of the flowers. They are super rich, with all the facets, there is nothing like it. A rose is pretty, but jasmine is powerful.”

Katy Perry Killer Queen: But what does it smell like?

Our take at The Whale & The Rose: It’s sweet yet dark, girlie but with an almost-spicy undercurrent that is both woody and floral at the same time. A titch powdery. Interesting.

For a full breakdown of notes and details, see our Perfume-o-pedia listing of KILLER QUEEN

Watch Perry’s cheeky Own The Throne Killer Queen commercial. 

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.