Kylie Minogue on Her New Perfume Disco Darling and Capturing Prince’s Aura

The pop star's most recent expansion of her longstanding fragrance line is inspired by her last album, Disco.

Kylie Minogue Fragrance

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Kylie Minogue is unstoppable. The Australian singer, actress, and entrepreneur has more accomplishments under her belt than we have time to list. Notably, though, she has sold over 80 million records, has a slew of awards such as Grammys, ARIAs, and Brits, and with her 2020 album, Disco, she became the first female artist to top the charts in the United Kingdom for five consecutive decades. As if that weren't enough, she also has successful wine and fragrance businesses — and InStyle hopped on a Zoom call to talk to her about the latter.

In 2006, Minogue launched her first Darling fragrance, and over the past 15+ years, she's launched different iterations of it. "We had Sexy Darling, Sweet Darling, et cetera. After we relaunched Darling in 2020, we wanted to build on [that]. So, Disco Darling was an obvious step after my previous album," she tells us.

The fragrance, which just officially launched this week, is a cocktail of sparkly scents. It features notes of bergamot, sparkling cassis, and crisp apple with a heart of jasmine, white peony, and raspberry, with added notes of vanilla orchid, musks, and ambrox at the base. In a press release sent to us, she calls it "glamorous, addictive, and perfect for a night out."

Below, Minogue elaborates on what inspired Disco Darling, offers hints about her upcoming album, remembers what Prince's aura smelled like, and more.

What inspired you to create Disco Darling?

We wanted to build on the re-release of Darling. So, Disco Darling was just an obvious step after my previous album — Disco. It just made perfect sense. We got to use the color theme and some of the graphics from the album, which did really, really well. I was so proud of that, making most of it through lockdown and reaching fans through music. And then, to be able to be doing the same things again with fragrance, it's just... It's been a delight.

Your fans love the music in the fragrance campaign. Do you have plans to release a full-length version on your upcoming album?

I don't think so. I shot the campaign for the video with Sophie Muller, who's an amazing human being and wonderful director. We've got really good communication and understanding of each other. So, when we were gearing up to film the campaign, there were questions going around surrounding what music we would use — which song from Disco? And to be honest, I couldn't decide. So Sophie, being Sophie, says, 'Well, make something!" I said, "I can write songs, but I can't just make a piece of music for you." She planted a seed. [Then] I was staying at a friend's place and had my travel studio with me, because I've been working on my album. And we knocked up this track, and everyone loved it. So no, there are no plans to extend it into a song, but maybe I could do it in a live set. That could be fun.

What else can you tell us about your next tour?

Because I didn't get to tour Disco, I will be putting a number of Disco tracks in there. I hope people love it. So far, I'm really touched by the engagement or re-engagement of Disco. To have people's — not just loyalty, but just to have also made an impression with the fragrance is really incredible. I can't wait to be at a gig.

Scent has the power to transport our senses to different memories, places, and feelings. When you smell Disco Darling where does it transport you?

It definitely transports me to Paris, meeting with the perfumer. We met there, and sampled lots of different fragrances. You know, you do your broad strokes [when testing]. When we got to Disco Darling, we both went: "That's the one. Love it, love it, love it." He said, "Yep, I love it for you. I love it on you." So, I would think about that moment. It's not a kind of dreamy, romantic, poetic place to be as opposed to, "Oh, I think of being, throwing my hair around on the dance floor with just the right amount of sparkle, or making eyes at someone across the room." I haven't had that moment with it, but that's what we hope to inspire with the fragrance.

kylie minogue disco darling

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What does a disco smell like to you?

A lot of the inspiration for Disco came from seventies discos — Studio 54. I'd never been... but the power of a place like that... such iconic imagery, and so historical. It has the power to make us all feel like we were there. Like, who would I have been if I went to aStudio 54? And Disco Darling is a different fragrance from the original Darling. It's deeper and more seductive. I wouldn't go so far as saying it's dangerous, but I don't know, it's a bit sweaty, but still glamorous. With musk and the base notes, there's that feeling of closeness. I went through so much making the album Disco, thinking about what disco is and what it means to people — even if you're not at one, which no one was at that point in time because we were all in lockdown, but the imagination of it. You can also be alone at a disco, but you can feel the closeness of like-minded people, just that exuberance, letting go, and forgetting about the world for however long you're there.

What's your favorite disco memory?

It wouldn't have been called a disco — it was the Blue Light Disco when I was, like, 15, because that was a big deal. It was a police-run disco where all the teens could go. But my best club memories were during the early nineties in London. I would be there until, as the Prince song says, "Closing time, ugly lights, and everybody's out." So somewhere like Subterania, which Londoners around that time will know of — amazing.

Who's the best-smelling person you've ever met?

I'm not sure if this is in my imagination or not, but I'm going to go with it: Prince. Maybe it was just Prince's aura and not his fragrance... The closest thing I would say is [he smelled like] incense, just the notes that you might find in that. Like a patchouli, or a really, really yummy vanilla. But I can't actually confirm this.

What's your first fragrance memory?

Well, my mum didn't wear fragrance. And she still doesn't like it. She is essential oils, and that's it. So, I didn't grow up with my mum's bathroom cabinet full of fragrance. But I do remember yearning for Charlie Perfume when I was about 12. Somehow, I don't even know how, Opium, which remember in the eighties was just... it just took off — I don't think I tried to wear it though. Issey Miyaki, I would've worn as a youngster. I dabbled in whatever was around at the time. But once I started traveling around 19, I would love buying those miniature sets at the airport. I did quite a bit of my sampling that way.

What does your mom say about Disco Darling?

Oh, she loves them! She can appreciate them, she just doesn't wear them, which I don't take personally because she doesn't wear any fragrance. I can't gift a Darling box set to my mother, but I can to my friends.

And do you wear fragrance in a specific way? Like, a perfume hack or before going on stage as a confidence booster?

I'll do all sorts of things. My nephew came to visit me yesterday and he's around the kitchen area and says, "There are so many scent-y things here." And it's true. I just have scent everywhere — and I travel with it. I love your question about putting a scent on before I go on stage — and often, I will. I'm definitely spritzing around in dressing rooms.

You have a wine company — Kylie Minogue Wines. Which wine do you think would pair best with Disco Darling?

Oh! I would say the Prosecco Rosé because it's an all-round smash. Everyone just loves it, and I think it's light enough to get you going. You know, just put a little spring in your step because it's light and sparkling. I think that would be a good pair for Disco Darling.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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