This month’s Allure has an article with quotes from all of our perfume friends (Victoria Frolova, Mandy Aftel, Alyssa Harad, and Barbara Herman), so of course I had to pick it up. This issue also has another perfume-themed article, “Uncommon Scents”, that talks about gender-bending perfumes. It starts off promisingly enough: “Fragrance- complex, faceted, enigmatic fragrance- isn’t simply masculine or feminine… So why get all caught up in this his-or-hers business?” But not a paragraph later, the “Rules for Women” section offers the following advice: “You don’t want to smell like a cowboy. Avoid aggressive, muscular notes, such as leather and tobacco, and hightail it away from any scent that combines both. ‘These are what I call animalic scents, and they’re much too rugged for women’, says perfumer Jean-Claude Deville.” For once, men receive equally gendered advice: “Skip dessert. Gourmand notes (vanilla, chocolate) and fruits (apple, berry) have a sugary side so undeniably feminine that few men would feel comfortable wearing them.”
It’s odd and a bit disappointing to see this sort of limited thinking from Allure, whose fragrance coverage is usually miles ahead of other magazines (Frederic Malle has had an Allure column since 2007). I don’t know about y’all, but I think I’ll stick with my Tauer Perfumes Lonestar Memories over Monsieur Deville’s less “rugged” feminine fragrances, which include Baby Phat Goddess and Paris Hilton Can-Can. In general, I’m pretty over people telling women what they should or should not smell like. I’ve been re-reading Perfumes: The Guide recently for work, and I found myself getting annoyed with Luca Turin’s constant insistence that “women should not smell like flowers.” I do what I want, Luca! It’s sort of like when dudes say “Women shouldn’t wear makeup. Stop covering up your natural beauty.” Even if it’s a different message than the ones that women usually receive, you’re still telling me what to do.
Let’s finish with a poll based on the Allure article: ladies, what are your favorite “rugged” perfumes? Gentlemen, what are your favorite gourmands?