Unisex: The New Sexy in Fragrances

When Brad Pitt appeared in a Chanel no 5 ad last year mumbling words that sounded vaguely existential (who cares, it was Brad) there was a buzz that Chanel had bowed down to the hugely popular unisex fragrance trend and was launching a unisex version of no 5.

It wasn’t true. Brad was merely adding a frisson of faux gender bender excitement to a brand that has been endorsed by glamorous women forever.


But Chanel’s top end range, Les Exclusifs de Chanel, has choices like Sycomore with intense vetiver and Cuir de Russie with notes of leather and smoke that can be worn by men as much as women .

Recently Dior launched its ultra luxe La Collection Privee Christian Dior which has a new version of Bois d’Argent (originally a men’s cologne) with incense, iris and honey in its notes, for both men and women.

Despite traditionally divided fragrant worlds, we have found there is much to like in each other’s smells (I personally love the smell of Davidoff Cool Water on myself) so it hasn’t taken long for perfumers to create a third olfactory space beyond His or Hers.

Calvin Klein’s CK One is acknowledged as ‘the one’, the sexy unisex fragrance that drove people crazy in the 90’s. Its key notes of bergamot, pineapple, rose and musk appeal equally to both sexes.

Kiehl’s Forest Rain is deliciously fresh with woody and citrusy notes for men and women.

Giorgio Armani’s ‘couture’ Armani Privee fragrances are redolent with olfactory stories but intriguingly never specify if they are for men or women and can be used by both.

Similarly D&G’s eight Velvet Exclusive blends celebrate inspiration and ingredients leaving you to decide which one you will make your own.

There is quirky brand Bond No 9 which has many unisex offerings in its range including High Line with clean notes of ozone and Indian rhubarb inspired by New York’s hottest tourist attraction, the High Line Park.

Hermes is my favourite with three lines of ‘shared’ fragrances created by Jean Claude Ellena one of the great noses in the world – Les Colognes, Voyage d’ Hermes and Hermessence.

Fragrance lets you call upon your inner Proust as it triggers moods, associations and memories. Giorgio Armani had one of those moments when memories of the strong incense in the old Church in Pantelleria where he was taken as a young boy by his grandmother inspired Bois D’Encens which has Somalian incense and amber in its notes.

bois de encens

Celebrities have recognized the trend. Teen icon Justin Bibier’s My world is a $10 dog tag infused unisex fragrance with notes of lychee, pomegranate and bergamot.

Trendy, new unisex fragrances suggest sexy modernism and sophisticated elegance, speaking to the global citizen who inhabits an equalized world under the I Cloud- He, in touch with his feminine side and she, her masculine side.

This appeared in Economic Times ET Panache http://www.economictimes.indiatimes.com

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