By her own estimation, Yasmin Sewell has been leading a double life for decades: brand and retail consultant by day, meditation retreat host and certified integrative quantum healer (a “form of energy work,” she clarifies) on weekends and holidays. “I was a little psychic as a kid,” the front-row fixture says without a hint of sarcasm. “When my job was to look at the next generation of emerging talent, I tapped into that intuition,” Sewell continues of what she describes as something of a sixth sense that has allowed her to stay grounded and to get ahead despite the unrelenting pace of the fashion industry. Until two years ago, Sewell frequently hid “the witchiness” of herself. But when she left her job as vice president of creative at Farfetch and took some time off, she had a realization: “I felt like for the first time, the things in my life that I was secretly into were things that people were much more open to.”
The timing checks out. By 2019, all the things formerly known as woo woo became better known as wellness. Turmeric lattes? Wellness. Crystal healing? Wellness. Reiki, infrared saunas, breathwork? All newly accepted forms of regular, totally rationalizable wellness. For Sewell, feel-good fine fragrances were right there in the mix. “Scent is such a potent tool in shifting the energy in our bodies,” she explains of the original idea for Vyrao, her first post-fashion venture, which taps into the mind-shifting power of perfume. Derived from the Latin verb vireo, which loosely translates to the idea of sprouting new growth, Sewell’s collection of five “high-vibrational” fragrances launched this year in the UK and just landed Stateside at Saks earlier this month.
Meant to conjure feelings rather than more conventional scent families or evocative destinations, the formulas are a collaboration between Sewell and British perfumer Lyn Harris. “She knew exactly how she wanted each one to smell and how they must transport you emotionally,” Harris reveals of the brief Sewell shared, which was light on flowers and focused instead on words such as “empowerment,” “liberation,” and “magnetism.” Witchy Woo, which is meant to inspire courage, smells of rose, cinnamon, and musk. Georgette, a woodsy floral, is designed to inspire self-love. There is also a herkimer diamond in every colored glass bottle energized by Sewell’s own healer, Louise Mita, and designed by creative director Jaime Perelman.
Sewell understands that not everyone is going to be ready to “go there” with her. “I was super conscious of that,” she insists of the suspension of disbelief that will likely be required for some people to fully appreciate the underlying magic infused into each flacon. “But if energy is not your thing, it’s still an extraordinarily beautiful bottle—and an extraordinary fragrance!”
Interested in getting good vibes wherever I can find them these days, I took I Am Verdant with me as I started my official return to office, exchanging the lush, full trees of the Catskills for Manhattan’s concrete and steel. I can’t say it entirely helped shift the frenetic energy of a New York Fashion Week-meets-Met Gala kind of work week, but a well-timed application of the earthy frankincense, iris and orange flower eau certainly offered a reminder to take a break, breathe in, and, most importantly, exhale.