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Billie Eilish on Her Style Changes and Smelling Like a Christmas-Tree Lot

Photo: Mason Poole

It’s morning in Australia for Billie Eilish — who is on the tail end of her world tour (and it’s nighttime in New York for me) — and she can’t stop talking about her fragrance obsession over Zoom. This November, Eilish is releasing her second fragrance, Eilish No. 2, and the Cut has the exclusive on what it will smell like: a lot more woody. We tried it and can say it has a freshness about it that stems from apple blossom, black pepper, and spicy papyrus. If you, like me, loved her first fragrance — launched last November, a warm, cozy gourmand scent bottled in a sleek metallic gold silhouette of the upper body — you can get her second one in mid-November at BillieEilishFragrances.com for $72.

In anticipation of its release, I spoke with Billie about what inspired the fragrance (hint: It’s an adorable childhood memory), being sexy like the bottle, and her style.

Hi, Billie, from the other side of the world. You’re on tour. How’s it going?

It’s going great. Like really, really good. It’s almost over though. It’s kind of heartbreaking.

Let’s talk about your new fragrance. Your first fragrance is very vanilla-forward, which you’ve said reminds you a lot of your mom’s baking. So what does Eilish No. 2 remind you of? 

A Christmas-tree lot. I went as a kid with my family. And every year, we always go to the same one to get our tree, and the smell has always been sentimental to me. It isn’t necessarily a holiday scent at all, and it works in all seasons. It smells like wood and pine but also cold air and warmth at the same time. I smell that again and it makes me happy.

What else makes you happy?

Not many things. It’s a very specific joy that fragrance brings me. It courses through my whole body, you know what I mean? Not many things do that, but laughing does and spending time with people that I love. That’s the closest thing.

The Eilish No. 2 fragrance bottle. Photo: Glen Luchford

What do you like to smell like when you’re in a good mood? 

When I’m on tour, most of the perfumes I have with me I’ve worn before. I usually have memories of all of them, so depending on my mood, I’ll choose which to wear. Let’s say I have a perfume that I wore during a time in my life that I still feel a little iffy about, I have to be very nonsensitive and delicate if I wear it.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your fragrance? 

I want it to feel spicy — the perfume you wear when you want to smell interesting. A smell you can’t put your finger on, necessarily. I hope it’s a good flirty one for people because it has been for me.

The bottle is inspired by your favorite parts of the body: the chest, neck, and collarbone. Why these body parts?

When I really love a person, and I’m looking at their chest and their collarbone, and I can see their breathing, and I can see their chest going in and out — it literally makes me ache. I just love it so much. There’s something so intimate and almost sensual about chests, collarbones. I really wanted this bottle to feel relatable and to feel like it could be anybody. It’s not me, and it’s not you, necessarily. It’s both of us, and it’s everybody.

When do you feel your sexiest?

I feel pretty sexy onstage at certain points, but in general, when I’m dressed in a way that I feel confident in. Sometimes I feel sexiest when I feel more masculine, in a weird way, but then if I smell more feminine. It’s a mix that I crave. It varies. I go through phases of thinking I’m the hottest bitch on earth, and I go through phases thinking I shouldn’t exist.

A few months ago, you rated your past looks on social media. Tell me a little about your style evolution.

The evolution over the years has been insane; it was all about being extreme for a long time and masculine and big. Then I went 100 percent the other way and I wanted to be feminine. Then there was a period of time where I really had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I was having a full yearlong existential crisis. I changed things in my life around, some people left my life, and in the last half-year, the change in who I am has been so drastic. It’s kind of crazy how fast that can happen.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Billie Eilish on Smelling Like a Christmas-Tree Lot