Maybe this is something I'm supposed to keep to myself, but I feel so relieved of the scorned lover energy I've been carrying around lately, that I'm feeling pretty untouchable. Earlier this week I saw a healer who, after cleansing me of said negative energy, informed me that I killed my ex in two past lifes. Ah, well, that explains it then. I met this brilliant guru, Louise Mita, at the launch for Vyrao, the new wellbeing brand created by Yasmin Sewell. Sewell is the fashion buyer, creative director, consultant and OG street style star who has been an instrumental force in shaping the face of British fashion. Long driven by the radical energy of then undiscovered and emerging designers including Rick Owens and Christopher Kane, Sewell's latest venture is similarly 'built on vibes'. Concocted in collaboration with Mita and the perfumer Lyn Harris, Sewell has created five luxury fragrances containing ingredients which promise to conjure good vibes only.
After moving to London from Australia in the nineties and setting up a now infamous clothing shop in Soho, Sewell, who has Lebanese roots, went on to hold senior buying roles at Browns and Liberty. She later became style.com's fashion director, Farfetch's vice president of style and creative, and founded her consultancy brand in 2008, also co-founding the agency Paper Mache Tiger and clothing brand Être Cécile. Most recently she launched the project 'Yasmin Sewell Rechargex8' with Selfridges, where seven University of Westminster MA fashion design students upcycled designer items from her wardrobe, including Phoebe Philo Céline and Nicholas Ghesquière Balenciaga, incorporating crystals and practices such as mantras into the design process. This was both an exercise in sustainable design and in clearing away stagnate energy, which gathers just as much in our neglected wardrobes as around our physical beings.
'After 22 years working as a fashion and creative director I have a deep understanding of the magic in design, art and beauty. Since my early 20s, I’ve studied many forms of energetic healing, including reiki and integrative quantum medicine. Vyrao brings both of my worlds together for the first time', Sewell explains in a press statement. 'Use Vyrao as an energetic source, an object of desire, or both, the choice is yours.'
In 2021, self-care and healing are common practice, whether that be heading to the gym, running a bath, or becoming an astrology expert armed with the CoStar app. The power is in our hands, and we could all do with being a little more witchy to realise what lies within. That might mean reaching for crystals, sage and horoscopes, but a little magic can be found right at our fingertips with one spritz of a Vyrao scent. Fragrance is a smart choice for Vyrao's first product, as it's already a staple in most people's daily routine - and for good reason. Scent provides an invisible armour; it has the ability to empower, to seduce and to comfort.
'I've always worn fragrance for myself rather than for others, and I wear it to amplify my energy. Throughout the process [of creating the Vyrao scents] this has intensified for me as I have become more tuned into it. It's about ritualising your routine, stating your intentions for the day by taking a moment for yourself. I use Vyrao in that moment and so do my friends and we all find it starts our day in a positive way', Sewell tells me.
Formulated with specific emotions in mind, Vyrao's five concoctions promise to help conjure the energy you need on any given day. Each bottled fragrance also comes with an affirmation card and ingredients list. 'The Vyrao project totally inspired me as a perfumer. It feels like the right time to create fragrance that is more than a beautiful smell, one that helps you connect with life and yourself. Honestly I have never been briefed this way before. Yasmin came to my laboratory and got totally involved', says perfumer Lyn Harris.
I am Verdant contains bergamot for clarity and frankincense for illumination, Witchy Woo the root of the Moroccan osiris plant for courage. (It's impossible to choose a favourite but these two might just be it). The sexiest of the bunch, in my humble opinion, is Magnetic 70 - there's a hint of the men's cologne you catch a whiff of on the street, that smells just right but you can never quite place. Created with attraction and protection in mind, this scent contains cedar wood for positivity and angelica seed for protection. Georgette, named after Sewell's grandmother, is your new go-to rose scent, but don't be put off by this often sickly ingredient. Bringing with it a little self-love, Turkish rose oil is made rough around the edges with ingredients including guaiac wood and patchouli for energy clearing and grounding. Free 00 contains Sicilian lemon, mandarin and orange flower to target anxiety, with vanilla and jasmine to inspire sensuality and waterlily for liberation. 'The fragrances are designed as playful mood boosters, a way of integrating positive energy into everyday life. Scent is emotional, it evokes powerful feelings, vivid memories, it energises the spirit and awakens the mind', Sewell states.
Experiencing the fragrances for the first time in the oasis-like garden of the creative director, and Sewell's friend, Joel Bernstein, I was spellbound by Vyrao from the get-go. A team of gardeners had planted some of the aforementioned ingredients into the fairyland woodland Bernstein calls his back yard. I couldn't help but think of female healers reprimanded as witches throughout time, creating ailments for body and soul from ancient plants, and how Vyrao invites us to concur in our own acts of modern sorcery - the brand takes its name from the latin verb 'vireo', meaning 'I am verdant, I am vigorous, I sprout green growth'. In other words, power is found from within.
Each 50ml bottle of Vyrao fragrance contains a 450 million year old Herkimer crystal - charged with energy by Mita, first they'll clear away bad energies, then amplify those of the given scent, transferring each ingredient's good vibes to the wearer - the fragrances become your own personal healers. Formulations are 80% organic and contain nearly 90% natural ingredients sourced from Robertet, and packaging is made from totally recycled and recyclable fibres. Bottles are also reusable, so us witches can return to the coven for a refill.
Vyrao launches at Selfridges with an installation designed by Joel Bernstein, with more immersive concept stores on the horizon. Creative director Jaime Perlman and CGI artist Michael Günther have also created CGI campaign videos for each fragrance. 'I wanted to approach fragrance in a new, fresh way that I hadn’t seen before. CGI is an exciting tool for us to create imagery which stretches the imagination. I thought it was the most fitting medium to demonstrate the brand’s DNA rooted in creativity, energy and light', Perlman tells us.
As a multi-dimensional brand, this is just the first in a whole range of products which Vyrao will be branching into, from candles to supplements. 'We exist to raise your vibrations, we exist to lift your energy. Vyrao is here to make your life better. Our products are specifically formulated to elevate your mood, which I feel is a unique approach to the creation of a product', Sewell replies when I ask what differentiates Vyrao from the plethora of other wellbeing brands such as the likes of Goop.
I'm convinced that Vyrao is in its own league, not only because I've spent the past week cheating on the perfume I've worn exclusively for a decade - with no plans of stopping - but also because Sewell is in the driving seat. If her track record is anything to go by, Vyrao is set to be a bonafide success. Once healed by the magic of fashion, with Vyrao, Sewell is showing that more often or not, the answer lies right under your nose.