To Uplift Your Mood, Strengthen Your Resolve and Empower Your Ambition
Mom’s cinnamon muffins. A dog’s fur that is wet from the rain. A field of lavender. Tomatoes picked off the vine. Lemon furniture polish. Have you ever noticed that the whiff of a distinctive scent can arouse memories and emotions from a time in your life that has long since passed? More than sound or even taste, the sense of smell connects us directly with emotions and memory. It’s how we were designed: scent is perceived by the olfactory bulb, which begins in the nose and extends to the amygdala and hippocampus, the centers of the brain that process emotion and memory.
Perhaps that explains why the global perfume market (which topped $50 billion in 2017) is virtually recession-proof. Whether in good economic times or bad, fragrance is a luxury that many of us consider essential. A daily splash of bottled scent can uplift your mood, strengthen your resolve, empower your ambition. We’re not suggesting that a new perfume will change your life. But we’re not saying that it won’t either.
Summer is a good time to try something new. Our skirts are shorter, our shoes are open, and the heat induces us to loosen the grip of convention and experiment a little. A bright new fragrance might be just the thing for your jaunty summer style. Here are 15 of the most exquisite new scents we’ve sniffed:
Bloom by Gucci
Have you ever picked wildflowers at dawn in the Indian Himalayas? We haven’t either. But if we did, it would probably smell a lot like Bloom by Gucci. The richly floral scent is feminine and sophisticated, but not overpowering. It has a complexity that reveals itself hours after you apply it, with hints of vanilla and tea. Bloom was the first fragrance to be developed by Gucci’s new creative director Alessandro Michele, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Good Girl by Carolina Herrera
Since she launched her career in the 1960s, Venezuelan-American fashion designer Carolina Herrera has been known for exuding class and elegance, both in her personal presentation, and in her designs. She has dressed virtually every First Lady from Jackie O to Michelle O. So the concept of stiletto-bottled Good Girl comes as somewhat of a surprise. Herrera developed the scent to represent the duality of the femme fatale (alluring but dangerous), and she asserts that fragrance has the power to transform a woman’s aura from gentle to powerful or from good to bad. Firmly based in the floral family, with strong jasmine and tuberose elements, Good Girl also has deep notes of Tonga bean and cacao. Going against type has proven to be a winning move for Herrera, because Good Girl is her most memorable fragrance yet.
Floral by Coach
Florals with a unique twist are trending wildly in fragrance this summer. Coach’s new scent was inspired by the image of the company’s signature leather tea roses. With elements of citrus, peppercorn and pineapple, Floral is sexy and stimulating, for the woman who is so sure of herself that she doesn’t care whether you notice her or not. But from the moment she walks into the room, there is no way you could miss her.
Coco Mademoiselle Intense by Chanel
In clothing, accessories and fragrance, no one knows how to reinvent a classic like Chanel. By tinkering with the formula for the original Coco Mademoiselle—upping the patchouli and adding notes of Tonka bean, amber and vanilla—Chanel has simultaneously paid homage to the past while forging fearlessly into the future. Coco Mademoiselle Intense is a perfect summer perfume because its smokiness lingers gently in the air, like a beach barbecue adjacent to a garden party. It is both familiar and wildly different at the same time.
L’Eau Rosee de Toilette by Miu Miu
Speaking of riffs on iconic fragrances, L’Eau Rosee is a variation on Miu Miu’s original 2015 fragrance. Developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier, Rosee has a base of soft florals such as cassis and lily of the valley, with a refreshing surge of rose and musk for unexpected complexity. It’s light enough for daytime, but sophisticated enough for evening.
$61 – $105, nordstrom.com
Nude by Alaïa
Developed by the iconoclastic shoe designer Azzedine Alaïa, Nude is powdery, sweet, and very classy. With top notes of cedar and cashmere, and a base of musk, tonka bean and leather, Nude also has hints of orange blossom and Iris. When it’s so hot this summer that you don’t want to wear a single thread, it might be a good idea to start with Nude and see where that takes you.
When developing a new fragrance, some designers are known for delegating the process to a trusted nose and signing off on the final, while others are hands-on, and involved in every aspect of the mixing and testing. Tom Ford is widely known for being the latter, and with several hit fragrances in his portfolio, it is obvious that his olfactory sensibilities are as sophisticated as his design aesthetic. Eau de Soleil Blanc is a riff on the original Soleil Blanc from 2016. With an amber-vanilla base, and top notes of orange peel, bergamot and caraway, Eau de Soleil Blanc is refreshing, energizing and warm. A distinguished summer fragrance for you, and another win for Ford.
Jasmine Sambac & Marigold by Jo Malone London
In 1983, a former floral assistant named Joanne Lesley Malone and her mother started a scented candle and fragrance business that has become internationally known for its simple, elegant scents with unexpected twists. Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense is a wonderfully robust and complex fragrance that was developed by perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui in accordance with Jo Malone’s aesthetic. The delicate scent of Jasmine Sambac melds beautifully with the grassy marigold, and additional notes of ylang ylang, honey and vanilla, synthesizing a rich blend that is hard to describe but undeniably alluring.
Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana
Developed with the intention of creating an olfactory representation of Domenico Dolce’s native island of Sicily, Dolce indeed has the warmth and vibrancy of the largest island in the Mediterranean. Neroli, papaya, amaryllis, water lily, and narcissus form a flowery, citrusy potion that is undeniably sensual.
Elevator Music by Byredo x Off-White
Ben Gorham, a former model and pro-basketball player in Europe, has become world renown in recent years for creating unisex fragrances that are conceptual and evocative rather than traditionally beautiful. His capsule collection with Off-White’s Virgil Abloh includes denim, t-shirts, bags, and of course, fragrance. Gorham describes Elevator Music as an olfactory representation of soundscapes that are meant for passive listening. See what we mean by conceptual and evocative? With bamboo and midnight violet as top notes, jasmine and ambrette rounding out the middle, and amyris and burned woods as a base, Elevator Music is comforting yet provocative, but most importantly, it smells really, really good.
La Femme L’Eau by Prada
For several years, Daniela Andrier has served as the unofficial perfumer of Prada, creating a collection of fragrances that represent the luxury fashion house’s elegance as well as its penchant for quirkiness. La Femme L’Eau is an airy, refreshing floral with hints of mandarin, neroli, and greenery. It’s like walking through a giardino all’italiana in July: the scent of paradise.
La Panthere by Cartier
Founded in Paris in 1847, the House of Cartier became known as the “jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers” after making numerous crowns and engagement rings for members of European royalty. In 1981, Cartier developed its first fragrance, Must de Cartier, and since then, the company has created more than 90 perfumes. La Panthere is one of its best. Drawing inspiration from the company’s heritage, La Panthere is a musty, floral scent designed as an homage to the liberated, passionate modern woman. Yes, we are liberated and passionate, but we still love diamonds and perfume. Especially if they’re from Cartier.
Eau de Citron Noir by Hermes
The French luxury design house best known for its leather bags and silk scarves has been in the fragrance business since 1951, and the company takes great pride (and exerts great effort) in the development of its memorable scents. Citron Noir is a fragrance that you will either love or hate. Its combination of citrus, herbal, and a woody musk is unlike the flowery women’s fragrances that are trending now. Citron Noir is not a bright citrus, it has more of a smoky subtlety. In any case, be sure to sample it at a department or cosmetics store before you purchase it for yourself or as a gift. Spray your décolleté, wrists and behind your ears and note the way the scent evolves throughout the day after you put it on. For some women Citron will be too woody or grassy, but for the women with whom the scent resonates, 2018 is the summer of Eau de Citron.
Replica by Maison Margiela
Maison Margiela is an avant garde luxury fashion house founded by Belgian designer Martin Margiela in 1988. It is now under the creative direction of John Galliano, the former darling of Paris and London’s fashion scene until he was abruptly dismissed as the head of Dior when his drunken, anti-Semitic rant was caught on video. The Margiela job is an important second chance for Galliano and we hope he is able to stay on the straight and narrow and avoid any controversy that isn’t related to hemlines (or something equally benign). Now owned by the Italian design group Diesel, Maison Margiela continues to create (now under Galliano) clothes that are avant garde and wearable at the same time, and perfumes that tell a vivid, well-scented story. Replica is based on a range of conceptual scenarios, but we have our favorites: beach walk, jazz club, lazy Sunday, funfair and flower market. That’s a lot of detail to process, but it totally makes sense once you smell it. Romantic. Stimulating. Striking. It’s definitely worth adding to your memory bank.
$126 – $180, nordstrom.com
My by Burberry
My by Burberry is meant to smell like an English garden after a summer rain, and that is exactly what the perfumers achieved. A combination of sweet peas, bergamot, geranium, freesia and quince, it is flowery, refreshing and calming.