the perfume’s new “gender fluid” notes

When he created Imagination, the new perfume for men from Louis Vuitton, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, the perfumer of the luxury house, did not immediately know where to put his new creation. With its history of burning tea sprinkled with spices and bathed in a sea of ​​ambergris, it leans no more towards the masculine side than the feminine…

For some time now, the question of gender has agitated the world of perfume. An event that is considered in the construction of perfumes. We are increasingly seeing the transformation of some items reserved for men into women’s perfumery, and vice versa.

Therefore, Gluttony enters on the men’s side (a syrupy plum in the virile One Million, by Paco Rabanne, or the caramel note in Scandal for men, by Jean Paul Gaultier) despite the lavender notes, which to awaken the little one, to drink the perfume of women. , following the example of Free, the powerful eau de parfum by Yves Saint Laurent. The most recent example, the “lavender oil” at the heart of Phantom, by Paco Rabanne, reminds us that you can combine the archetypes of different men (lavender and vanilla) in one and the same fragrance, listed in the category “men “. ».

Reassure men about their virility

This list of perfumes called “male” and “feminine” on the shelves of specialty stores and on the pages of e-commerce sites is for a simple reason: “With few exceptions, perfumes were developed by factories, after the First World War for women, after 1945 for men”, analyzes Eugénie Briot, the perfume historian. So the labels adopted a gender division similar to clothing: a line for women and another dedicated to men.

But the binary distribution has not always been successful, although it is very new on the scale of the history of the perfume. The perfumer chose a style from 1904. That year, Guerlain sold two perfumes with names that left no doubt about their goals: Mouchoir de Monsieur and Voilette de Madame. “All the olfactory codes are set at that time: the flowers for him and the new “clean” for him”, said Eugenie Briot.

There is a time when a man’s expression can be comforting to men who are not known to use a perfume. By adding the words “for men”, their virility is preserved. The custom has been preserved for another reason: to give a character to the spices and then to organize a plethoric offering where one gets the rose or the other.

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