To promote the launch of the fragrance Secret de Rochas, the brand hosted a gala dinner as well as an exhibition showing the journey of Rochas. They also brought down the face of the fragrance, the beautiful, Cécile Cassel – an accomplished French actress, as well as appearing in Sex and the City, and the film “Head in the Clouds” alongside Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz. I sat down with Cassel at the One & Only the Palm, and spoke about her first time in Dubai, her relationship with the brand, what’s in her beauty bag as well as her favourite stops in Paris – and her favourite pastry!
Hi Cecile! how does it feel to be in Dubai?
it is my first time. And to be honest I had not had the time to see anything yet.
How long are you here for?
Oh! I am leaving tomorrow. But I would love to have time this evening to visit the city. Do you live here?
Yes. I grew up here. But this whole Palm did not exist when I was growing up. (I was interviewing Cecile at the One & Only on the palm) it is crazy how fast things are moving. And with the Expo…it is crazy to see all the projects that are going to come… Tell me, what makes you a Rochas Girl?
Well; first of all I would say that I am a real Parisienne. Born and raised in Paris. There is maybe this little ….I don’t know how to explain it…”Le Secret”. They call it like that. It is not really a secret but something you grow up with. Just being yourself you know. Hélène Rochas was like that. She was really chic and she had that kind of strong thing inside her, really calm, confident. She knew who she was and what she could do and I really like that. I feel a little bit like her when I see her really feel something like: Be yourself and everything is going to be fine.
There is so much heritage from the Brand, and you mentioned it on stage yesterday that your family grew up with the original fragrance.
Yes. My grandmother used to have it in her bathroom and my mum too. So it is just part of my family. It is more about the culture. You know, in France, Rochas is a name and a smell that we know. It has been all around us forever. So I really have that issue….you know, when they called me, I said: ”you know; I know you. I have memories with you even if we don’t know each other”. In fact I already had strong memories with this house, which is funny.
How important is fragrance to you?
I wear perfume every day. It is almost the only thing that I wear every day. I don’t wear jewelry every day, I don’t wear a dress every day… And it is really important for memories. It is often related with a place or somebody. It’s really important for me. Smell is very important, because if I don’t have my glasses and that someone is entering the room, his smell would be the first thing I would have.
You look immaculate. What is in your beauty bag?
Oh! Not much, actually! I really like lipstick. So I will always have lipstick with me. Because if I you don’t have any make up in a couple of minutes you look great. I always have perfume and some hand cream, because those are the first two things you are going to do. You shake hands and someone is going to smell your perfume.
My readers are travellers, What are your favorite places in Paris?
I walk a lot in Paris; just trying to get lost in Paris is the best thing you can do. You can find little streets that nobody knows, little places… I would go to a pastry shop that has just opened. It is called:”Gâteaux Thoumieux”. It really is the best pastries in your life.
What are your favorite pastries?
One is “brioche”. With caramel nuts inside.
Given you have a strong background in Music; What is on your playlist?
At the moment…there are lots of things. I listen to many new British bands; I used to live in London, so I am still connected to the young artists there. MIA for example, she is really interesting. And I am also a lot into those eighties and nineties like R&B, that kind of stuff.