Q&A with Margot Elena! A fun chat discussing her TokyoMilk presents Neptune & the Mermaid collection.
Q: You are an internationally known Perfumer & Packaging Designer know for sophisticated layered fragrances and beautiful products. That's drawn you to design fabric?
A: When I design a new collection, I design in four senses. First, the visual, how your eye is drawn to the sparkle of a glass bubble bath bottle. The way the product feels when you pick it up. I use a range of materials in my lines from crystals, embossed linen papers, to natural wood boxes, like in Library of Flowers. I think about the way a product sounds as someone engages with it. Lollia candles have cut-glass crystals hanging from the side that tap against the luminary. Our bath salt sachets have paper wrapped in soft fabric that crinkles when held. And of course, the fragrances are the final piece of the puzzle.
I say all of this to preface the fact that my collections are often inspired by the warmth and texture of fabrics. Both fragrance and fabric can capture ones imagination. They are invitations to immerse into a moment.
I have stacks of beautiful vintage textile design books that I've collected over the years, filled with original gouache paintings and printed samples. Some of those one-of-a-kind patterns have inspired my packaging designs, and the patterns I am creating for textiles. I am so excited to finally be designing fabric - I have wanted to do this forever!
Q: TokyoMilk by Margot Elena is a cult-classic fragrance brand, including TokyoMilk Dark,
TokyoMilk Light, and now Neptune & the Mermaid. Do each of these collections speak to different audiences?
A: I believe fragrance is so powerful - one scent is never the same on two wearers, and it's never exactly the same scent day-to-day. Fragrance is alive and evolves with our body chemistry and our mood - it's the most intimate "accessory" we can select.
While the collections within TokyoMilk, such as Dark & Light, each tell different stories, they are not meant for one specific audience. The wearer chooses their own path moment-to-moment. Perhaps a woman wears TokyoMilk Light in the morning, Neptune & The Mermaid perfume for lunch with friends, and TokyoMilk Dark for a date night - she decides what her story will be.
Q: Neptune & The Mermaid is full of bright punked-up classic patterns paired with surreal scenes of mermaids, octopods, and guardian goldfish. Is there a story you're telling through this collection?
There's always something curious and unexpected to TokyoMilk - and that's represented in this fabric line. I had such a great time dreaming up the patterns for Neptune & The Mermaid fabric, where you have to look twice to see all that there is to see.
A: Similar to creating a fragrance story with top, middle, and bottom notes, the fabric line is a visual narrative told in dreamlike ephemeral collages. By mixing & matching patterns, it becomes a choose your own adventure, inspiring creations that are as pretty as you please, or as unexpected as you dare. I want the person shopping at their local fabric store to feel like they can create their own story. My patterns are just the beginning of the tale.