Jo Levin spills the secrets on her first fragrance, OdeJo

Modelled after her exclusive signature scent, the debut perfume from the stylist is enticing, enigmatic and eminently wearable


The story behind OdeJo happened about 30 years ago. I came across an oil in the US and I would combine it with my rose-scented shower gel. People would come up to me and say: "God, you smell so good," and I would reply: "It's me – it's eau de Jo." The thing about perfume is it's your secret, so you almost don't want to tell anyone what it is.

Tom Ford, after every show, would tell me I smelled divine and even taxi drivers would ask what it was. Then I was at one of Sir Elton John's parties and fashion writer Tim Blanks turned up with Jeff Lounds, who is now his husband. At the time, I had no idea Jeff had a background in perfume – he was one of the original partners behind Escentric Molecules, which has been a huge success. He chased me around the garden trying to figure out what the scent was and over the following period of 16 years, he was constantly saying: "You're driving me crazy, Jo. What is it?" He told me to call him when I was ready. It was 18 months ago that I finally knew it was time and he immediately said: "Fantastic, let's do it."

Since then, everything has happened very quickly. We worked with Michael Nash Associates to develop the branding. They started by asking me about the things I like and as my bag is always full of bright colours – from my notebook and diary to pencil case, glasses and address book – this influenced the fluorescent highlights on the packaging. It's an explosion of colour, but it's also chic and timeless.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

I was inspired by my favourite times of the day – early morning and late afternoon, when you get that wonderful golden, caramel light and everything becomes warm and toasty. So the scent itself starts very fresh on the skin then dries down to something more sensual. The notes are very straightforward: cucumber and blue sea kelp, Tahitian rose and lily. They're all things I love – the beach, the countryside – in a bottle.

JO LEVIN is a creative director and stylist and was formerly the creative fashion director at GQ. OdeJo is stocked at leading stores and online retailers, including Liberty and Harvey Nichols in the UK, and Barneys, Colette and Lucky Scent internationally

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.