I first met Margarita Nazarenko at a PR event. I have a well-honed strategy for surviving out of my natural habit at these things: throw down a glass of bubbles, take heaps of no-doubt wonky photos and write notes if possible to further conceal my presence. Then run for the hills.
But I got stuck at this particular event: notebook and camera and drink and no third hand. A group of three beautiful women, obviously friends, were chatting nearby at the only table in the packed bar. A stunningly presented blonde looked up from behind her Birkin and gave me a megawatt smile. “You can sit with us”, she said.
This *never* happens at events.
It took me another lap of the room to build up the courage to agree, ready for the inevitably painful small talk and the quizzical looks I get when I explain that writing about perfumes is my thing.
But I was mistaken when it came to this girl squad, and this girl in particular. As an influencer, Nazarenko is more than meets the eye: intelligent, charismatic, creative, with an irresistible authentic warmth and an unapologetic commitment to creating a beautiful life.
Oh, and zero time for those who might try and minimise that.
“I think part of a woman’s power is her ability to create glamour and I’m not just talking about being pretty I’m talking about self-creation,” she explains. “I think the creation of beauty, looking good and smelling good, is a hugely powerful tool and can’t be sidestepped. Telling women they can’t be powerful and pretty is just another way to disable them from their full potential.”
Basically raised on a diet of Hermes by her fabulous Russian mum (who guest stars in many of the videos on Margarita’s channel, The Blonde Avenue), it’s no surprise that fragrance is a non-negotiable for this glamorous but grounded Sydneysider. She wore Poison on that first meeting and confessed her love for Thierry Mugler’s Alien in the first moments of our conversation. “I smelled Alien when I was young, that strange scent had a massive impact on me,” Margarita ponders. “I think it made me realise that not all perfume was floral and fun, but that there is a complex story to be told if you choose to wear a perfume that tells it.”
That realisation has informed Nazarenko’s attitude to fragrance: go glam or go home. Well that, and a fondness for Marilyn Monroe’s famous statement of seduction, that she wore Chanel N°5 to bed and nothing else. Plus she has a weakness for a stunning editorial. “When a creative director captures a scent with imagery I think it’s truly special,” says Margarita. “I have a love for film and that’s captured for me when it comes to great campaigns.”
These days though, selecting a scent is simple. “I love an individual heady scent that drives my obsession,” she says. “I love anything with sex appeal and a stunning bottle is also a big pull!”
I’m thrilled to have Margarita on The Accords to share some of her scent selections with us.
What’s the scent you would wear on a Saturday night?
On a date night I am wearing Black Opium by YSL. It’s such a sexy strong and powerful fragrance. When I wear it I either have the best time or get into an argument with my husband. I think it clearly makes me feel too sassy for my own good!
And ditto for a job interview?
For a job interview I am wearing Kelly Caleche by Hermes. The rose note in there is so fresh, honest, straight forward and yet young: I love that scent. Makes me feel like me. It also features mimosa which is a hugely nostalgic scent for me.
To a wedding?
Dolce and Gabbana The One. It’s light, floral and so sweetly romantic… If I had to renew my vows now I would wear Tom Ford Orchid Soleil. I am obsessed with it. It’s is truly like a drug for me. It’s vibrant, peppery and so sexy.
And what about on a man?
Depends on the man. I grow to love the scent they love as that’s what reminds me of them.
Favourite classic scent, and why?
I love the mix of Pomegranate Noir and Blue Agave and Cocoa from Jo Malone London. The mix is truly on of the most enchanting things on the planet. (Editor’s note: Margarita flags fragrance combining as one of the biggest trends in perfumery right now and we have to agree.) Along with that, Hermes’ 24 Faubourg Eau Delicate is the scent of my mother who is the most precious person on this planet to me, as is this perfume.