Perfume is such a personal thing, your signature scent should be a fragrance you love but also something that reflects your personality. And because we're all different, it makes sense to find a scent that isn't being worn by everyone else. Don't get us wrong, we love the classics as much as the next person, but there is a whole world of unusual, unique fragrances for women out there to explore. And because our sense of smell is so closely linked in the brain to the place where our memories are stored, shopping for a new perfume can be a powerful experience.
But where to start? There are hundreds of thousands of fragrances out there, and unearthing something a little different that you really, truly love can be a challenge. This is why we called on some of the most stylish women in the fashion world to find out which unique perfumes stole their hearts. Being in such a creative industry, most fashion insiders relish the chance to envelop themselves in a signature scent that's a little outside the norm. Essentially, a perfume is an accessory; just like a standout pair of shoes or a stellar handbag, it helps complete your look.
Keep scrolling as eight fashion insiders reveal the unusual, unique perfumes that have become their signature scent.
"I love fragrances and cannot choose a favourite, but the one I wear often is Frédéric Malle's Portrait of a Lady. I get chased down the street by strangers asking me what it is, so I keep wearing it because if it can affect people that much," says Caroline Issa, CEO and publisher of Tank.
"Roads' Harmattan perfume is one that I haven't bought yet, but I can't stop thinking about buying it and regret that I didn't snap it up on the spot. It's a really unusual, spicy, fresh fragrance from a niche Irish brand that I'm sure almost no one else has discovered yet—which is surely the best thing about finding a signature scent, right," says Hannah Almassi, editor in chief at Who What Wear UK.
"I don't have a favorite perfume; I have many favorites, and I change every day depending on my mood. But one I definitely go back to often is the classic Comme des Garçons, a perfume I first bought when I was a teenager, and that I think was a real game-changer. It was deep, interesting, and for women and men. It has a sort of healing magic to me. I don't know if it's the spices that have been used to make it or just the fact that the perfume is a life companion." [Ed. note: This item is no longer in stock—we suggest Comme des Garçons 2 Eau de Toilette as a similar replacement]
"Le Labo opened up a store at The Grove in L.A. and I went determined to find my new scent. After an hour and a half of deliberation (I take scent-finding very seriously), I landed on the perfect perfume: Le Labo Patchouli 24. It's delicate, smoky, and leathery, and you can barely smell the notes of patchouli. As the salesperson confirmed, it's definitely an unusual choice, but one that makes me very happy. As a sucker for anything personalized, I'm also tickled by the way they customize the label with your name on it," says Kat Collings, editor in chief at Who What Wear.
"Perfumes to me are what create memories and are responsible for starting and ending chapters, but my signature scent is what I call my seduction scent. It's Cuir Noir by Armani Prive. It's a strong and unisex scent, where masculine and feminine tones are perfectly balanced—think oud and vanilla. I was originally attracted to the beautiful black-and-gold bottle in Harrods. I remember how I felt like a new chapter started in my life when I started wearing it. It adds mystery and makes me feel like a powerful Scorpio that can do anything," says Sandra Hagelstam, founder of 5 Inch and Up.
"My current obsession, apart from Le Labo's Thé Noir ($83), which is my go-to, is Maison Louis Marie Nr.11 Thémis. If you can imagine, it smells like a dentist's office. Well, not exactly, but it does contain these minty notes infused with basil that really make it a different olfactory experience," says Irina Lakicevic, founder and co-editor of MINT Journal.
"My favorite perfume at the moment is Le Labo Santal 33; my boyfriend wears it religiously, and he made me fall in love with the scent. It literally just lingers in the air when passing by someone and is amazingly infectious. He bought me the scented body oil, and I put it everywhere, including my hair as it makes me feel slightly sexy, fresh, and well put-together. I like to smell nice, even when going to bed," says Jan-Michael Quammie, fashion director for InStyle Germany.
"My favorite fragrance, which I almost have stopped thinking about as a separate thing to myself, is Le Labo Santal 33, which my fiancée gave to me when we first started going out. The scent was so naturally appealing to me. It's one of those things I remember to wear every day, the way one wears underwear. It's unisex but has quite masculine notes, which I'm super attracted to. It makes me feel incredibly empowered and ready to conquer the world and, of course, most of all, it reminds me of love, of our first romance together," says Alexandra Carl, fashion director of Rika Magazine.