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The opening scene for Mugler’s new Angel Elixir teaser video opens as if we’ve entered into the Hunter Schafer Multiverse. A Mugler sign transforms into a runway to unveil Schafer—draped in a body-skimming Mugler bodysuit, of course—waltzing down the runway to Charlie XCX’s “Dreamer” before she begins a seemingly endless run. Only thing is, this isn’t a dream. Schafer is every bit of a Mugler girl—figuratively and quite literally. It’s why the legendary French house handpicked the actress to walk in its Spring/Summer 21 show back in 2021. The thing she’s running to? Oh, just her new title under Thierry Mugler’s empire: the face of Mugler’s Angel Elixir perfume.
The soul of Mugler’s iconic Angel perfume has been revived several times since it debuted in 1992, but no previous iterations are as deeply seductive and deliciously light as its 2023 counterpart. Angel Elixir is an olfactory marriage of opposing energies, or as Schafer puts it,” contrasting properties fusing together to make a bouquet,” housed in a dark blue vial that leans nocturnal with notes that are anything but.
At the top of the pyramid is a creamy, exhilarating floral medley of orange blossom, white flower, and ylang-ylang. Though the heart of this scent is sweet, a tinge of sandalwood and pink pepper cut through the softness to deliver a spicy, sensual hook that leaves a trail as you head down your own runway. “In the end, it fuses and creates its own magic. It’s a beautiful fusion,” she adds.
Ahead, Schafer on Mugler’s new era, Angel Elixir’s magic, and more.
Angel Elixir is sweet but also fiery. What ignites your fire?
Fire can mean a lot of things. But when I think about fire, I think about what makes me feel confident and powerful. I think of feeling synchronized between how I feel inside and how I’m presenting myself outward, and that I’m able to move without second-guessing myself. That looks like assembling a good look, putting the Angel Elixir fragrance on, doing my hair and makeup, and all of that. It’s putting on whatever armor I need to make sure I’m good to go out in the world unrestrained—that’s what makes me feel fiery.
What do you love most about the world of Mugler?
Mugler just has an incredible fashion history, so I’ve been a fan of the house’s work for years. I grew up watching the hour-long runway shows on YouTube, and just marveling at the mastery of couture and the silhouettes and the performance. Mugler is just really unique and special. When Casey [Cadwallader, creative director of Mugler] came along, what he was doing with the house really caught my eye. Even as far as casting goes, they take a unique and exciting approach that you don’t see a lot of other fashion houses taking right now. Just to be a part of the Mugler legacy in any way is really cool.
What do you love most about perfume?
It’s been a huge learning experience for me actually, as far as understanding scent and fragrance on a deeper level and all its complexities. Fragrance is a really powerful tool because you’re able to give yourself that extra boost of confidence or transport yourself into another place. I’ve been talking a lot about the power of scent and if you’re walking around somewhere and catch a whiff of something, all of a sudden that conjures a vivid flashback from when you were in preschool or something. I don’t know, there’s nothing else quite like fragrance and its power to transport you to a place or time. And so to be able to use that purposefully as a tool to help make you feel better and more assembled and more beautiful and powerful, or whatever you want to be putting out into the world, is really special.
Where does Angel Elixir take you?
I do feel like the commercial does a pretty amazing job of visually representing where the fragrance might take you or the world that Angel Elixir lives in. It takes me to this massive space setting and the nebula clouds. Angel Elixir is not a cold or isolating space, it’s one that I think we would all vibe in and be able to breathe and feel warm in.
The tagline is: The Angel you don’t expect. Who’s an unexpected angel in your life?
My unexpected angels are definitely my sisters, especially as I’ve gotten older. We were little demons in each other’s lives growing up. But as we’ve gotten older, we’ve come to appreciate each other a lot more and be able to help each other out, and actually be something reminiscent of good friends to each other. I don’t know if I would’ve expected that earlier on, because of how frequently we fought and bickered over the stupidest things. At this point, they really do feel like angels.
How would you describe this scent to someone blind buying?
What I really like about the scent is that it has these feminine elements that are matched by slightly more masculine elements. These contrasting scents fuse and make this yummy in-between with a more woody base and then vanilla tones and bright white florals, and then harder, more metallic spicier moments.
What makes Hunter say “yes” to a project or opportunity?
Being a fan beforehand helps a lot, which I can thankfully say has been the case for most of the things I’ve done at this point. That’s a major motivator for me wanting to work together, because you really do form a relationship with the brand and the people that work there. So I think being a fan and being genuinely interested in the aesthetic, the world, or excited about what they’re doing, just genuine enthusiasm, helps a lot. I directed my first music video [for red’s “hornylovesickmess”] last year. I want to keep doing that, keep getting into directing and hopefully get a little better at it as I continue to [pursue] it. Next, I hope to get a studio soon so I can really delve back into my visual arts practice as well.
So much has changed since Angel debuted in 1992, over 30 years go. How do you envision the beauty industry moving forward, say another 30 years from now?
It’s been cool witnessing the changes that have happened. Even in the past five years, I feel like everybody has broaden their view of what they can find beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, and broadening their world. I hope that track continues because I think it’s yielded some really beautiful works and projects from different people and brands. I hope that’s what continues to happen, reinvention.
Beauty Commerce Editor
Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music). She has a penchant for sneakers and nude lip glosses, and spends way too much time re-watching 90s sitcoms.