August 7, 2012
The Best Men's—and Unisex—Fragrances for Women
The key to a unisex fragrance, says celebrated French perfumer Frederic Malle, is "cleanness." Malle, who was the go-to consultant for luxury brands like Christian Lacroix and HermÃ¨s before launching his own brand ten years ago, offers two unisex scents in his fragrance edit, but says he's "totally comfortable" with women wearing his men's cologne, and vice versa. Ben Gorham, the basketball-player-turned-founder of cult fragrance brand Byredo, made a pointed decision to produce an entirely unisex catalog. And Le Labo's Santal 33, a smoky scent meant to invoke the Marlboro man, has become a fashion industry favorite—for men and women.
Colette's Sarah Lerfel connected Jefferson Hack, the founder of AnOther Magazine, with Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi, the founders of Le Labo, and Another 13 was born. What was meant to be a limited-edition scent grew so popular that Le Labo added it to their permanent collection. The catch? It's only available through Colette. Ambrox, the velvety note at the base of Dolce's Light Blue, anchors this cologne, too. Not surprisingly, twelve other notes, including ambrette seed absolute, round it out.
Byredo's Gypsy Water starts out peppery before fading to vanilla. The scent is classified as a fougere, a term founded by the storied French house of Houbigant that technically means fern-like and applies to most woodsy, masculine scents. "Some women wear fougeres like they would wear a man's watch or men's shirt," Malle says. Kate Bosworth certainly fits the bill.