Cher Says She’s the Best-Smelling Person She Knows

Capturing and bottling the scent of one entire decade—let alone four—is a seemingly impossible task. But Cher? Cher can do anything. The icon’s latest perfume collection, Decades, is out now and features four distinct scents that capture the aura of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s from her unique perspective. “I think the thing that’s the coolest is that I was famous and in all of them,” she tells BAZAAR.com. She designed each one in partnership with Scent Beauty to evoke a feeling of those years: a warm floral for the free-love era, an amber woody scent for her disco days, a floral and fruity essence for the punky ’80s, and an airy floral to channel ’90s pop escapism.

BAZAAR.com caught up with Cher over Zoom ahead of the Decades collection launch on Walmart.com (where each bottle is available for a delightfully giftable $30) to discuss how perfume plays into politics and feminine power, where she draws scent inspiration, and the current trends she loves as a perennial fashion and beauty icon.


On fashion and beauty trends today …

Now it seems that you can wear anything, and it doesn’t make any difference which look you decide to wear. Before, when I was younger, you know, back in the log cabin days, I remember that there were specific things that women could wear. And it was so boring. And everyone was, like, wearing the same things. I didn’t do this, but, like, women had to have their skirts one inch below their kneecap. And, you know, my best friend and I were wondering when we’re gonna have to cut our hair, when we would be too old to have long hair. Now there’s freedom, and you could do anything, and that’s what I like more than anything else. I just like the freedom.

On a fashion trend she really loves …

I like the big, big high heels and platforms. When I did Balmain the other night, I was on shoes that I couldn’t believe—I felt like it was on stilts. But you look so good. And your butt looks good.

On capturing the scent of the ’60s …

I was like, “Just think of a madras bedspread.” There was this feeling of the ’60s—all fresh and breaking out, but not like Charlie, you know what I mean? I always wanted to stay away from that, even though it was the most popular scent of the time. But I didn’t like it. I thought it was for good girls. I wasn’t one.

On one of her (controversial) favorite scents …

I remember I walked into Yves Saint Laurent and said, “Oh, my God, what is that?” And the girl said, “Opium.” I went, “No, come on. What is it?” I started getting all the girls Opium and sneaking it in my suitcases, because you weren’t allowed to buy it in the United States because of the name.

On how perfume asserts feminine power …

It makes me feel really girly. … I used to say if you smell like dessert, a man will never forget you. And I still feel that way. There’s a way to be powerful, and not be unattractive, or not be kind of abrasive. And I think that perfume kind of helps you soften up the room.

On the future of women in power …

There’s a way women can be powerful, and it’s not breaking down the walls. We’ve got these chips in the wall, and at some point, men are going to move over, and we will be able to take care of things that they’ve screwed up. At some point, that’s going to happen, and it’s already happening in many ways in many cities.

Women are the future. We’re not going to be taking crumbs anymore; we’re going to take over, but not in a mean way. Because I think we’re much better than that. I think that if women were in politics, we wouldn’t have all this bullshit stuff that’s going on. We wouldn’t have had Trump and his merry band of criminals, you know? So I think that women are taking over things that they never were allowed to.

On the best-smelling person she knows …

Me.

On the scents she likes (and doesn’t) …

I’ve never been, like, a rose or flowery kind of girl. I like sexier ones, but I know that not everybody’s going to wear my perfume. I don’t want perfume that’s, like, if you get on an elevator and everybody goes, “What in the eff is that?” I just want something where someone gets on an elevator and everyone goes, “Oh, my God, who is wearing that?” So I tried to split it between the obvious and the seductive and the discreet.

On her scent inspirations …

We were really poor when I was little. My mom wore Joy. I know that she saved up for it. I didn’t know how expensive it was, but I knew that I better not touch it. My mom was so beautiful. And she was so classic. And also, we wore jeans all the time, we wore 501s all the time. So we were just a contradiction walking around.

I was inspired by movie stars and by freedom. There’s so many things happening around you—and they inspire you. I used to watch old movies in the afternoon with my mother. Audrey Hepburn, and both Hepburn girls, Katharine. All the old movie stars, like Lana Turner. Hedy Lamarr! Oh, my god, I was so crazy about her. For me, she was the deep, dark, seductive—she was the bad-girl perfume. You know, there was, like, the good-girl perfume and the bad-girl perfume. I always kind of gravitated to the bad-girl perfume.

I remember when I was young, I saw Tabu and I sprayed myself. And I just said, “Mom, I would really like to get that.” She said, “Honey, good girls don’t wear that.” I wanted it more. But when I would breathe it around me, I had a feeling that I liked and I didn’t care if good girls or bad girls wore it.

On genderless scents …

I remember Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent; my boyfriend was wearing it. And I just went, “I’m gonna wear it now.” You know, I like that I’m taking it. I don’t think it makes any difference either, who it’s for. If you gravitate to it, then it’s yours.

On how perfume can turn back time …

I’m so old and still feel so young. Perfume can make you feel young—you’re not gonna know what I’m talking about. It’s just so important. It makes women feel good. … It’s that extra thing that we get that they don’t get. I mean, yeah, of course, they can wear whatever they want to wear. But we don’t want to leave our house without it. Our perfume, we want to smell it during the day, and we want to have it with us out, you know, in the afternoon.

Cher Cher Decades 60’s Eau De Parfum

Cher Decades 70's Eau De Parfum

Cher Cher Decades 70’s Eau De Parfum

Cher Decades 80's Eau De Parfum

Cher Cher Decades 80’s Eau De Parfum

Cher Decades 90's Eau De Parfum

Cher Cher Decades 90’s Eau De Parfum

The Cher Decades collection is available now online at walmart.com and scentbeauty.com.