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Fragrances That Distil the Varying Scents of a Woman

By Renée Batchelor

Photograph by Katherine Ang, styled by Michelle KokClockwise from top: Gabrielle Chanel Eau de Parfum, S$266; Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Dominique Ropion Portrait of a Lady Eau de Parfum, S$360; Burberry Her London Dream Eau de Parfum, S$218; Good Girl Gone Bad By Kilian Eau de Parfum, S$450.

As gender-neutral fashion and even makeup gain prominence, fragrances are also being re-evaluated in that same light. With women no longer defined by stereotypes of what they can and cannot wear, many perfumery houses have started focussing instead on the art of creation without boundaries.

That said, the idea of a feminine-leaning scent is not one that is likely to vanish completely from the market. It seems like everyone, from niche perfumery houses to big brands, has always sought to bottle the essence of a woman. Whether as an expression of blushing femininity or unbridled confidence, perfume has always been a powerful tool for women, as well as the ultimate, invisible signature.

Frédéric Malle’s Portrait of a Lady

For Frédéric Malle his namesake Editions de Parfums has always functioned as a channel through which he collaborates with talented perfumers to produce their own signed fragrances. One of the bestsellers of the line is Portrait of a Lady, created by fellow French perfumer Dominique Ropion. Portrait of a Lady (named after the Henry James novel) is a heady, rose scent with a top note of rose, a heart of raspberry, blackberry and clove, and base notes of patchouli, sandalwood and frankincense. A bold and elegant scent, this is an intoxicating balance between a chypre and Oriental, that settles into a warm drydown.

Chanel’s Gabrielle Chanel

For the house of Chanel, its founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel remains its ultimate muse. The fragrance Gabrielle Chanel is a tribute to her. A luminous scent, it is built around four flowers — intense jasmine, fruity ylang-ylang, sparkling orange blossom and creamy tuberose. The result is fresh and uplifting, while the elegant bottle design, which seems to illuminate the liquid within, is refreshingly modern.

Kilian’s Good Girl Gone Bad

The luxury perfumer Kilian traditionally creates scents under four olfactive families: the fresh, the narcotics, the cellars and the smokes. Good Girl Gone Bad is a delicious, fruity floral that falls under the narcotics category. Orange blossom, tuberose and an apricot-tinged osmanthus give a voluptuous facet to this feminine scent, capturing the tension between girlishness and sex appeal.

Burberry’s Her London Dream

Burberry Her fragrances are meant to capture the spirit of a Londoner. The newest version, Her London Dream, was developed by perfumers Jérôme di Marino and Maïa Lernout to round off the previous two versions. A radiant scent with top notes of lemon and fresh ginger and a heart note of rose and peony, this bright, youthful fragrance is easy to wear and has the unfussy elegance of Burberry’s trademark trench coats.