There is an impacting trend rising in the fragrance industry where gender boundaries are being blurred. Terms such as gender neutral, unisex and fragrance convergence making the headlines.
Comments such as boy meets girl in perfume marketing is popular and make us ask the question. What classifies as a male or female perfume?. Where did this classification start and why?. Intrinsically we have been taught that female perfumes are a blend of flowers, fruit, musk and vanilla. While men’s creations are spicy, smoky and woody. Perfumer Roja Dove of Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie in Harrods shares that the idea of scent for one gender only came along at the end of the 19th century. With the birth of the modern perfume industry. Before which men and women wore whatever they liked. This reinforces the idea that our perceptions of ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ smells are cultural rather than innate. Roja Dove, who never classifies his perfumes according to gender, says. “The idea that roses are feminine and woods masculine is nonsense. It supports Victorian values that women are delicate flowers. And that men are some sort of strutting beasts from the woodland who should be viewed with apprehension as if they only have one thing on their mind. A rose on a man is a masculine rose; a rose on a woman a feminine one.” Coco Chanel refused to believe that women should smell a specific way. The unique dose of aldehydes in Chanel No 5 changed this notion and created a legacy till today. Our pre-conceived ideas are being challenged by some perfume brands where they are not creating or exhibiting their perfumes as his and hers. Commes des Garçons, Roje Dove, Calvin Klein and Escentric Molecules are the forerunners in this trend. Have a look next time you walk into your favourite perfume store. Women are more inclined to explore men’s or unisex fragrances. Men are more challenged in this arena. But according to research are becoming more knowledgeable and open to experimentation. Gender stereotypes in a bottle will be reducing. Focusing rather on personalities; unique likes and dislikes; and independent decision making. Rather than being swayed by mass gender perfume marketing campaigns. Opening the door to captivating, curious and endless perfume formulations.