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Burberry’s beauty: an interview with Amber Anderson

April 7th 2016 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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British actress, brand face and co-star of the new Steve McQueen-directed Mr Burberry fragrance campaign Amber Anderson, talks scent and style with us

When it comes to brands that perfectly exemplify British style and tradition, Burberry is the brand that immediately comes to mind. With a history steeped in fashion and an ever-expanding portfolio including more recently, hugely successful makeup and fragrance lines, the fashion house never fails to disappoint come Fashion Week or beauty launch. While the brand’s My Burberry advert starring Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss proved one of the most memorable to date, it may now have serious competition thanks to the new steamy Steve McQueen-directed commercial (McQueen Directed 12 Years a Slave) for its male counterpart - Mr. Burberry - starring British actor and musician Josh Whitehouse and British model, actress and face of Burberry Beauty, Amber Anderson.

“The idea of Mr. Burberry - and this reflection of British style - is that feeling of contrast. He’s quite together, but there's something about him that’s not pristine,” says Amber. “And that’s a cool reflection on the Burberry brand and British style. When it came to making the film, Josh and I kind of just got into it. We had three days, and that felt generous, but it was a quite intense working environment. So we had to go in headfirst and trust everything would be fine. He’s a really funny guy and we have a similar sense of humour. And you have to have a sense of humour when you’re doing kissing scenes and you’ve just met."

The perfect personification of Burberry Beauty, here Amber talks all things scent and style with us as well as what it feels like to become part of such a well-loved British dynasty.

Burberry and London are synonymous. What makes Burberry so quintessentially British? And what does Burberry mean to you?

AA: I think Burberry is quintessentially British because it really reflects British style—a mixture of classic pieces but always with an edge of rock ‘n roll, a little irreverent. Burberry will show a really great evening dress, but with barely any makeup. And British style is really like that.

The Burberry brand has a heritage, and the clothes really reflect that. I grew up with Burberry. My godmother had a Burberry trench—she still has it. When I was a kid I used to go into her wardrobe and try it on. As a kid I was aware that it was really aspirational, and something a grown woman would have. So it was surreal when Burberry asked me to be part of the brand. It’s a life goal that has been achieved!

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What are your favourite aspects of London style?

AA: Every city has a distinct style. The thing I love about London style is that it’s not done-up. The girls here always look really cool, but not over the top. It’s casual and there’s always a mix—vintage is quite a big thing, and there’s a slight rock ‘n’ roll edge.

How would you describe your own style, and how it has evolved over the years?

AA: My style has definitely evolved. I grew up in the country in the highlands of Scotland and spent most of my childhood outside running around. Until 14 I was still wearing Wellington boots and knitted jumpers! My education in fashion happened very quickly, when I got my first Vogue. I still live in skinny jeans and jumpers, but now I’m a bit of a magpie. I love dresses and anything with sequins. My wardrobe is full of dresses that I don’t wear so much, but I love to buy them and just have them. I have a lot of shoes, too. I like to think I don’t try too hard—I mostly like to be comfortable!

Do you wear fragrance? When, and where?

AA: Yes, I wear fragrance every day, actually. And it’s funny because the fragrance I wear day to day, my friends say is synonymous with me. Scent can trigger memories and emotions. It’s really part of someone. Especially if you’re a couple and in love, one’s smell is really important. When I visit my best friend, she gets me to spray the pillows before I leave with my perfume, so the bed will smell of me for a while.

I think women's fragrances are often quite sugary and sweet, so I also have a few men's fragrances that I wear from time to time. Mr. Burberry is something I could see myself wearing—because it’s kind of dark and musky, and I like the grapefruit.

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How important is scent to you as a personal style signature—for defining who you are, or who you want to be on a given occasion?

AA: I think in terms of who you are, fragrance can really become part of you, and who you present to the world. I notice if I’ve left the house without putting it on. If I'm doing a show or a big shoot, I always put fragrance on, and it makes me feel like it’s all there. I think we all have our scents, and it’s part of our identity. My godmother used to make her own scents by mixing jasmine and tuberose oils together. That scent is so distinct to me, so now whenever I smell tuberose, it’s her, and I'm six years old again. If she ever changed her scent I would be really upset.

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How would you describe the Mr. Burberry fragrance —and the man who will wear it? What kind of man will this attract?

AA: The Mr. Burberry scent has the fruitiness but the darker side, too, so I think it will suit lots of people. But I think that about Burberry as a whole. The brand is so iconic, and suits everyone. The Mr. Burberry fragrance reflects that. And I think girls will wear it, too.

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What are your favourite things to do in London—where to stroll, eat, look at art, have a drink? Do you have a favourite neighbourhood? Weekend hangout?

AA: There’s a big pub culture in London, and it is the kind of thing where you can find yourself at the pub three-to-four nights a week, but not necessarily drinking. I just love seeing my friends. There are great music venues and loads of theatres—like the Sinborough, which is quite small. The Troubadour is a go-to as a restaurant, but there’s also a really amazing music venue downstairs. Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell played there back in the day. It’s like a real locals place; not many of the tourists know about it, but it’s got such a history. I live near Notting Hill, so Portobello Road market has a lot of great restaurants and really good shopping. I stay around there because most of my friends live there.

What upcoming projects can we look forward to from you, and what would you like to do in the future?

AA: I just finished something called Maigret, set in Paris in 1955. It’s a full-length feature film for television for ITV, but going out worldwide with the BBC. It’s based on these old French novels, about a character called Inspector Maigret. Rowan Atkinson plays him and I play the main girl, and John East directed it. It comes out in the summer. And the Mr. Burberry film has just come out, so I feel like 2016 is going to be a good year!

As the first ever Discover special for a luxury brand, a dedicated Mr. Burberry Discover Snapchat channel will allow users to access a wealth of style and fragrance content, including tailoring and grooming tips. The channel will also feature the full-length director’s cut and behind-the-scenes content from the campaign. Although the channel was only live for 24-hours in-app, for two months following, Snapchatters who scan the Burberry Snapcode found at point-of-sale within select retailers will still be able to view the channel. This marks the first time a Snapcode is being used to unlock content in this way.

Mr. Burberry, from £65. Buy online.

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