Calvin Klein Women: who are yours?

Mothers, sisters, teachers, friends – or simply women you look up to. Whoever inspires you, supports you – or simply that woman who has your back on a daily basis – to celebrate the launch of the new fragrance, Calvin Klein Women want to know: who are your women?

Calvin Klein Women marks Chief Creative Officer Raf Simmons’ first ever fragrance for the fashion house, and so they wanted an advertising campaign that not only reflects the proudly strong modern woman, but showcases the other strong women in our lives who’ve helped us get to where we are now.

For the advertising campaign, Calvin Klein chose Luptia Nyong’o and Saoirse Ronan, because they are ‘award-winning actors and voices of their generation, universally reconised for their unique talent, creativity, intelligence and strength of character.’ The television campaign will air worldwide later this summer, and was directed by Anne Collier with creative direction from Lloyd & Co. Featuring Luptia and Saoirse surrounded by past icons of femininity who continue to inspire them, they feature alongside images of Eartha Kitt, Katherine Hepburn, Sissey Spacek and Nina Simone.

Calvin Klein Women say: ‘By using #IAMWOMEN, women all around the world can pay homage to the females in their lives, who helped make them the individuals they are today by simply sharing a picture of those who inspired them.’ A celebration of women individually, but also as a collective – the strength of togetherness. Explains Raf Simmons:

‘With this fragrance, we wanted to put the concept of plurality center stage. The campaign is an exploration of femininity – a group of women bonded by a common thread; the desire to have the power to create their own identity, and to support and lead the way for those that come after them.’

But what does Calvin Klein Women actually smell like? Well don’t think the concept of strength implies shouting from the rooftops, here – this is scent for women who are comfortable in their own skin, and who don’t feel the need for a perfume to enter the room before they do. The surprisingly green fresh fruitiness of eucalyptus with sparkling lemon and luminescent jasmine settles to reassuring woodiness, with an acorn accord atop Alaskan cedarwood and the sheer delicacy of orange flower. In the base, there’s olibanum to soothe the senses, cut through with a twist of black pepper to add a little pep to the proceedings…

And so, we wonder, who are those women you couldn’t do without? We look forward to following your #IAMWOMEN resonses on social media!

Calvin Klein Women £78 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try it at harveynichols.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

7 of the women to thank for your favourite fragrances

There are reportedly more women now joining the famous French perfumery school, ISIPCA, than men – an about-face for the time women in the perfume industry were either not employed at all, or remained somewhat faceless behind-the-scenes as their male peers were lauded as genius perfumers in gleaming white lab coats, then the respectable (and respected) face of fragrance.

The perfume world – and all fragrance fans – have many pioneering women to thank for the centuries they spent, tirelessly working their way to the top. So, for International Women’s Day, here are just a few we’d like to put our hands together for, and whom we should all celebrate, not just today, but every single time we spritz…


Germaine Cellier was a pioneering nose from the 1940s who created scandalously daring scents such as Balmain‘s Vent Vert – overdosed with galbanum and considered the first “green” perfume of its kind – and Robert Piguet‘s Fracas, a bombastic, room-filling, man-slaying tuberose. Cellier believed in doing her own thing, and as such it’s often reported her male colleagues found her ‘difficult to work with.’ For ‘difficult’ read ‘opinionated’ and just wonder if those male colleagues were similarly chastised for daring to disagree. Here’s to ‘difficult women’ everywhere.

Had she been male, or growing up in an age of equality, Patricia de Nicolai might have become the next generation of the Guerlain family’s master perfumers (the title traditionally being passed from father to son). Undefeated, de Nicolaï has gone on to found an eponymous fragrance brand – Parfums de Nicolai – is a member of the technical committee of the French Society of Perfumers and now president of the prestigious Osmothèque scent archive. Having won the International prize for Young Perfumers (Prix International du jeune Parfumeur Créateur – Société Française des Parfumeurs) in 1988, her fragrance Number One garnered her the position of their first female laureate. Top that? She did. In 2008 going on to be decorated as a knight of the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. It’s fair to say de Nicolai is one of the all-time (if mainly still unsung) great perfumers.

Josephine Catapano is considered a mentor by many female perfumers working today, and when you read her list of accolades, it’s not hard to see why. In 1980 Capatano was granted the Cosmetic Career Women’s Award followed by a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Perfumers in 1993. Working during an era when perfumers were kept firmly within their labs, no names emblazoned on bottles, and most especially if they were female; creating the all-time classic Youth Dew for Estée Lauder, the original Shiseido Zen and Fidji for Guy Laroche; it is only now truly Catapano’s name has even begun to be truly acknowledged.

There are certainly more historical female pioneers we should hoist the bunting for, but we’d also like to pay tribute to just a few of the contemporary noses who’ve risen in the ranks to become distinguished perfumers we follow the careers of with fascination, and much respect.

Sophie Labbé spent her childhood between Paris and the Charente-Maritime area of France, encountering contrasting smells: the odours of a capital city, against the scents of the countryside, living to the rhythm of grape-picking and harvesting, swept with a salty breeze… She studied at IPSICA, and at the Givaudan Perfumery School in Geneva for six months. In 1992 she joined IFF as a junior perfumer, and since then Sophie has worked on fragrances including Bulgari Jasmin Noir and Mon Jasmin Noir, Calvin Klein Beauty, Estée Lauder Pure White Linen, Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina and Signorina Eleganza. We asked whom she’d most loved to have created for. Her answer? ‘Cleopatra – a powerful female figure whose legendary status is drenched in perfume!’ And which, we wondered, was her favourite bottle of all the perfumes she’s composed? ‘Givenchy Organza, with its beautiful feminine, goddess like curves.’

Ruth Mastenbroek was born in England, spent some of her childhood in America, and graduated with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University. Having been classically trained in Grasse, she’d studied alongside brilliant perfumers such as Olivier Cresp, who created Angel, and Jacques Cavallier who created the Jean Paul Gaultier ‘Classique’ fragrance. In the late she 70s worked as a perfumer in the UK and Netherlands with Naarden International (which later became Quest and is now Givaudan – one of the largest perfume suppliers in the world…)Ruth worked in Japan and in the perfume capital Grasse before returning to England to work for a small company, where she created fragrances for up-and-coming brands like Kenneth Turner and Jo Malone – including her Grapefruit candle. Ruth set up her own perfumery company, Fragosmic Ltd., in 2003 – the year she became president of The British Society of Perfumers. In 2010 Ruth launched a capsule collection of scented products featuring her signature fragrance – RM – and also became the first perfumer to use advanced micro-encapsulation technology… in a scented bathrobe! Inspired by her travels, ingredients she grew up with and most of all by her seemingly tireless zest for life, Ruth’s perfumes are shamelessly romantic, but still with a contemporary edge, and we’re always thrilled (and proud!) to wear them.

‘I didn’t want to make perfume as a child; I wanted to be a witch,’ says Sarah McCartney, founder and perfumer of the gloriously unconventional 4160 Tuesdays. ‘I started to blend my own essential oil combinations after I joined Lush as a writer in 1996; I’d been dabbling from 1999 and started seriously making fragrances when I left in 2009.’ The ‘dabbling’ as a hobby combined with her marketing experience, bag loads of energy (and bravery!) led to Sarah becoming an entirely self-taught perfumer with boundless imagination. Having written a novel about perfumes, readers asked if she could create the scents she’d invented, ‘This turned out to be impossible – and pretty expensive – because no one was making exactly what I wanted, so I started another quest to see of I could make them instead.’ And so she rolled up her sleeves and did just that. Her guilty pleasures include ‘playing on the swings at the park [in fact, she’s installed a swing at 4160 Tuesdays HQ, and invites visitors to have a go – did we mention unconventional?], red lipstick, watching Nashville, and drinking champagne…’ Now winning acclaim the world over, Sarah still delights in having fun with fragrance, and in making scents that work the way she wants them to. Bravo.

From the first time she met a ‘nose’, that’s what Christine Nagel knew she wanted to be. So she trained as a research chemist and market analyst, and in Paris, in 1997, was launched on a seriously distinguished career that’s included creations like the blockbuster Narciso Rodriguez for Her (with Francis Kurkdjian), Jimmy Choo Flash and Guerlain’s Les Elixirs Charnels collection. After several years at Jo Malone London, Christine joined Hermès, to work alongside the incredible perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena. Strongly believing that fragrance should be genderless, she asserts that ‘In reality, anyone can wear whatever he or she likes – even if the fragrance is supposedly “masculine” or “feminine”. There’s no right or wrong…’ Her desire to ‘pare down’ fragrances chimes perfectly with Jean-Claude’s, and she describes her scent style as ‘characterised by simplicity, which mirrors their philosophy’. ‘Favourite’ notes go in cycles: ‘I’ve phases when I’m deeply into a single type: woody, oriental, green facets. It can turn almost into an obsession, until I have the feeling I’ve found what I’m looking for, and then I move on.’ And move on she certainly did, for in 2016 it was announced that Nagel would now succeed the much-beloved Ellena. With enviable shoes to fill, she began not at a trot but full gallop – Galop (a stunning blend of leather and rose) proving a huge hit and ensuring the perfume world is on tenterhooks, and our noses are primed, for whatever she next creates…

For more female pioneers of perfume, read a selection of our exclusive ‘working nose‘ interviews by searching for that term, above, or browse our perfumer interview archive – that just happens to be bursting with talented women, and which we’re constantly adding others to.

And how shall we give thanks? Seek out some of the perfumes created by these women, or treat yourself to a new one by an up-and-coming star. Now there’s an on-going reason to celebrate. Yaaas, sister! *fist-bump*

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Are you ready for Jean Paul Gaultier's Scandal…?

Jean Paul Gaultier has never been a designer to shy away from the risqué, the clothing and fragrances both reflecting his cheeky *wink wink* personality, and everything – from Madonna’s infamous ‘cone bra’ to ground-breaking perfume ads showing same-sex couples kissing – show his exuberant attitude to life and utter delight in creating provocative statement pieces.
The corset-clad bottles of his first female fragrance, Classique, have become true icons in the flacon Hall of Fame, with the scent itself more than standing the test of time by reinventing the curvaceous torso bottle with seasonal changes of wardrobe, so to speak, as highly collectible limited edition bottles and ramped-up versions of the original juice.
Now, Jean Paul Gaultier are launching a brand new fragrance with legs of its own – literally. We think the high-kicking limbs atop the Scandal bottle are rather reminiscent of the once banned cancan dancers at the Folies Bergère, don’t you?

Jean Paul Gaultier knew how to disrupt, only he could create… Scandal! The fragrance of a woman who is free and strong. First Gaultier gave us the corset dressed torso bottles; now here are the legs! ‘

Perfumer Daphné Bugey worked with Fabrice Pellegrin and Christophe Raynaud to create ‘…a perfume that could entirely embody day and night,’ fusing blood orange, honey, patchouli and gardenia to a musky base reflecting the light and shade found in ‘the endless fun of Paris.’ At first the gardenia shines through, diffusing the honey as though backlit by golden sunshine and punctuated with the darkly glimmering juice of a fleshy blood orange. As the sun dips lower, the patchouli comes out to play, weaving a honeyed, chypre trail that still billows with the gardenia’s flirtatiousness.

The heart of this fragrance is about life. In the daytime, it is a gourmand, fresh honey with a floral heart of Gardenia and the sparkling hook of Blood Orange. At night it is a sensual and seductive honey blended with the woody base of patchouli.’

The advertising campaign is suitably saucy, mixing sex and politics (how very French!) featuring model Vanessa Axente playing a character who apparently leads a rather scandalous double life…

By day, our Madam Minister is consumed in serious matters, head buried in her highly confidential files. By night, she creates her own classified, private files. Two worlds that should have remained separate… until the day the paparazzi snapped the picture that flooded the social networks … Scandal!

Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal from £44.50 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at The Perfume Shop
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Damn Rebel Bitches and Witches unite as REEK founder Molly reveals her five favourite smells…

With an attention-grabbing name like Damn Rebel Bitches – a scented homage of blood orange, hazelnut, pink peppercorn, clary sage and malt, to the fearsome females of the Jacobite uprisings who were given this nickname – it’s obvious that REEK Perfume are bursting with passion to portray inspiring women in fragrant form. A new niche house, proudly Scottish Molly Sheridan describes starting the brand so she could ‘…memorialise heroic, unapologetic women through scent. We want to celebrate our heroines.’ Damn right, and here at The Perfume Society, so do we!
Molly says wearing REEK scents should be ‘…an everyday rebellion, a reminder of female achievement, much of which has been forgotten.’ And when launching REEK, Molly knew what she wanted, but not how to make it (she doesn’t pretend to be perfumer), and so collaborated with with award-winning perfumer and fellow fragrance house founder, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. Following the success of their first fragrance, Damn Rebel Witches is soon to follow – handmixed and hand poured, the eau de parfums are ‘…inspired by the lives of the women who inspire us.’

Using unconventionally honest images (completely un-photoshopped images of women that celebrate beauty in all forms, including some of Molly herself) and deliberately provocative names to make people think a little more deeply about how women have been classified  – often by their scent and the things a ‘virtuous women’ is supposed to smell of – throughout the centuries, we were already intrigued by their Instagram account, and so were thrilled to meet up with Molly and get to know her by asking for her five favourite smells…
1 – Chanel No 5: ‘The reason I’m picking this is because at every stage of my life, a lady of significance to me has worn it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have an older relative, or teacher, for example, who hasn’t worn it! It’s one of those absolute staples, a smell that everyone knows. It’s a classic – I wouldn’t wear it myself, but I love the smell of it on other people. Especially when they wear too much – I love that!’
2 – Elnett Hairspray: ‘It always reminds you of somebody or a particular time in your life when you used it. One whiff and you’re straight back there! And it’s just got this really distinctive smell – something that I can’t quite put my finger on or even describe – but it’s so evocative…’
3 – Petrol: ‘I love the smell of petrol, and I find that a lot of perfumes I like to wear has something like that in the scent for a split second – I’m not sure what it is, exactly, but something that reminds me of it and draws me to it. I want to keep smelling it to get more, more to get the petrol smell back. Weirdly I find that with both fragrances and food – the things I like most have something that reminds me of petrol.’
4 – 4160 Tuesdays Maxed Out: ‘Ohhh… it smells like chocolate limes to me. For ages this was the only perfume I wore, and I wouldn’t wear it during the day, but for some reason I like wearing it at night. Even if I’m just staying in.
5 – Bread: ‘It’s one of those smells that’s the same everywhere in the world. You can be in India or Paris and it all smells the same. Bread is one of those habitual smells that’s so comforting, and makes you hungry to smell it, even if you’re weren’t beforehand. I really like the fact that bread has such a social history, too – it’s a staple of life, we talking about “breaking bread” with people or say something’s “the best thing since sliced bread”. I went to Italy with my little sister and asked her what her favourite thing about the holiday and she said ‘The bread and butter!’ which just about sums it up for me.
Can I just say, I think these are absolutely brilliant questions to throw at someone! It’s so psychological… and I really like not having time to ruminate on the answers, otherwise you’d come up with some perfectly balanced list of things you’re supposed to say. Not like me – petrol and Elnett, haha!’

Now REEK are adding a second scent to their celebratory fragrance line – this time, paying respect to the many women who were considered witches just for making their own herbal remedies, speaking their mind or simply not playing by the rules.

Damn Rebel Witches is a concoction of woody and fresh scents with hazelnuts, blood oranges and tobacco at its heart, as a sister scent to Damn Rebel Bitches, but with a undeniably darker twist.
While REEK’s first scent is mixed in memory of the firey Jacobite women, Damn Rebel Witches commemorates witches burnt at the stake, those prosecuted today for witchcraft and people who identify as witches. Placards at this year’s women’s march declared ‘we are the granddaughters of the witches you didn’t burn’. At REEK we look to the past to inspire our present. There is no better way to evoke memory than through scent – these women and their struggle must not be forgotten…’

Damn Rebel Bitches, £75 for 50ml eau de parfum (or £25 for 7.5ml) – Damn Rebel Witches 7.5ml available later this month, prior to the Halloween release of the full-size.
Buy them at reekperfume.com
Molly interviewed by Suzy Nightingale

My Burberry Black will be steaming up SnapChat – TONIGHT (Tuesday 23rd) at 6pm! (And see the sultry video right here…)

Burberry’s ground-breaking campaign for their brand new female fragrance, My Burberry Black, is exclusively launching today at 6pm, and by all accounts things are set to get rather steamy…
Burberry say: ‘A first for the brand, Lily James will takeover Burberry’s Snapchat account today, culminating with the reveal of the TV and print campaign across multiple platforms. Furthermore, marking the brand’s first sponsored Snapchat lens, a My Burberry Black lens – created to immerse users into the aesthetic of the campaign – will run for 24 hours from (Tuesday) 23rd August. The lens opens with an interactive scene of the user under an umbrella, sheltered from a rainstorm. The user is then prompted to ‘blow a kiss’, triggering a beauty filter which adds a beautifying golden light to the images.’
Legendary photographer Mario Testino shot the campaign, under the creative direction of Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey – and featuring British actress Lily James in her first ever global advertising campaign.
Lily James follows hot on the fashionable heels of more seasoned Brit super-stars Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne as the current faces of My Burberry. With a soundtrack by British singer-songwriter Duffy, performing ‘I Put A Spell On You’ – you’re absolutely bound to be bewitched. Watch the just-released video right here…

And as for the fragrance?

My Burberry Black – an intense and sensual interpretation of the iconic fragrance My Burberry. Created by Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Bailey, in collaboration with renowned perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, the fragrance is inspired by the black Burberry Heritage trench coat.
Capturing the essence of a London garden at dusk, My Burberry Black fuses the scent of sun-drenched jasmine flower and peach nectar with the sensual touch of candied rose. The fragrance settles with notes of amber patchouli for an intense and memorable base.’
With such heritage and contemporary appeal hand-in-hand, it’s got us actively looking forward to Summer showers and perhaps some steamy windows…

Written by Suzy Nightingale
[©Copyright Burberry/Mario Testino for campaign image and ©Copyright Burberry for all other images]