scent memories

Elle Fanning Thinks Sunday Mornings Smell Like Her Dog

Photo: Getty Images, Miu Miu

Call it the Proust effect: Memories are often triggered by smells. Scientific studies confirm that out of all the senses, smell offers the best recall. In Scent Memories, the Cut asks people about the scents they associate with different times in their lives. Next up is Elle Fanning: actress and face of the new Miu Miu fragrance, Twist. The scent is described as “youthful but sophisticated” and has notes of apple blossom, pink amber, tonka bean, and cedarwood. The Cut spoke to Fanning about sunscreen, Christmas morning, and not washing your hair.

My first scent memory is: My grandmother. She wears a lot of perfume, and she has a big glass vanity with all her perfume bottles on it. As a little girl, I thought it was so grown up to spray on perfume and mix all the different scents together. I always saw the women in my life spray on perfume before starting their day.

Happiness smells like: Christmas morning. My grandmother makes cinnamon rolls and they smell so good!

Love smells like: Roses. I think getting flowers from someone is always pretty nice [laughs].

Friendship smells like: The beach. Or, even broader, L.A. I grew up going to the beach with my friends a lot, so definitely that salty air smell.

Vacation smells like: Sunscreen! I’m so pale that I have to be slathered in it if I’m going somewhere hot and sunny.

Sunday morning smells like: My dog, Lewellen. Who does not smell bad! [laughs] She smells a little like dog food, yeah, but I think she’s pretty clean. She has her own little smell. She’s a schnoodle.

Monday morning smells like: Oof. Well, if I’m going to work on a set, I start my day really early, so it’s that damp, dewy, 6 a.m. scent, where the fog is out and it’s still really dark.

If you could have one smell on my hands forever it would be: Almond. I’ve always loved that smell. But my mom kind of smells like almond, so maybe that’s why I think that? Ideally it would be like an almond cake smell, that almond extract, you know? I would be fine with that.

I smell like: I’ve been told that I smell pretty good before, so that’s a plus [laughs] I mean right now I smell like Twist because we’ve been putting it on all day. I don’t wash my hair every day though, so I’m sure sometimes I have that like, sour scalp smell [Laughs] and I know it’s weird but I kind of like that smell. So it’s a mixture of all of those things.

What does Twist smell like? Femininity, but with an edge. It has just the right amount of sweet. It really matches well with my personality. I love how this smells on me, and how well it stays on my skin.

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Elle Fanning Thinks Sunday Mornings Smell Like Her Dog