Divya Gugnani Wants to Reimagine the World of Luxury Fragrance

Divya Gugnani, founder of 5 SENS

Divya Gugnani

Fragrance Wardrobe

Your perfume isn’t just how you smell—it’s how you feel when you get dressed in the morning, for a night out, for a boardroom meeting. It's just as much of an accessory to how you present yourself to the world as your clothing (and let's not forget its close ties to memory and emotion). With that in mind, we’ve launched Fragrance Wardrobe, a scent series that highlights the rotating perfume “wardrobes” of our favorite tastemakers through key points in their life. Get to know them better via the scents they choose to wear.

Divya Gugnani is no stranger to the beauty industry. She co-founded the wildly popular makeup and skincare brand Wander Beauty. However, her latest venture in the industry is her most personal to date. This month, Gugnani launched 5 SENS, a brand seeking to reimagine the luxury fragrance experience. The serial entrepreneur's passion for scent is rooted in her childhood. "As a child of Indian immigrants, I grew up in a rich culture where scent was a big part of my life," Gugnani says. "Incense, aromatic spices, luxurious oils, and perfumes inspired me as a child."

As an adult, Gugnani's love for fragrance has remained strong. However, a medical diagnosis forced her to reevaluate the perfumes she was using. "I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and developed severe chemical allergies that made it impossible for me to wear many of the perfumes I loved," she shares. "I abandoned having signature scents and spent countless hours reading ingredient lists and searching for safe formulations."

This experience planted the seed for 5 SENS. With the brand, Gugnani aims to create luxury fragrances that are eco-conscious, accessible, and capture our ever-changing energy. "I have always wanted to own a 'clean' yet luxurious fragrance wardrobe that captures my ever-changing energy," she notes. "I knew [the brand] had to be accessible to everyone, even those with allergies and sensitivities. We created 5 SENS to ignite your senses, capture your moods, and inspire new moments."

Ahead, Gugnani highlights some of her favorite Eau de Parfums from the brand and her favorite scent memories. Keep scrolling to get to know the founder through her fragrance wardrobe.

How would you describe your fragrance style?  

My fragrance style started out soft, subtle, and floral with a touch of musk. It developed into bolder woody, earthy scents—with notes of Indian sandalwood, violet, cashmere musk, clove leaf, vetiver roots, and more. My fragrance choice is always a reflection of my mood and energy. 

How would you describe your Fragrance Wardrobe through the years? 

My first fragrance was Anais Anais by Cacharel. My dad bought it for me from Charles De Gaulle airport duty-free, and I savored it till the last spray. I have long loved soft florals with a bit of musk sensuality. I stuck with musky florals until I discovered Jean Paul Gautier for Women, which became my evening signature scent. 

Throughout the years, I rotated through Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Baccarat Rouge 540, Chanel No. 5 (borrowed from my mom), Tom Ford favorites, and Arabic fragrances picked up while traveling. Then, my fragrance obsession halted when I developed severe chemical sensitivities and allergies and got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Since then, I have searched for clean fragrances I'm not allergic to and haven't found anything that gave me the sophistication and longevity my tried and true favorites gave me.

What was the first fragrance you ever bought, and why? 

My first fine fragrance purchase was Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey. It's a fresh yet floral fragrance that is delicate and aquatic. The lotus, melon, and freesia notes are gorgeous in the woody white musk base.

What is your go-to WFH scent?

Culinary arts is my stress relief, so I am constantly cooking and baking at home. To make great food, I need to be able to smell it well. That said, I don't want to be distracted by smelling anything when I am focused on the flavor profiles of what I'm creating. However, I light a candle now and then during the day when I'm done cooking. I like Nightwork's Velvet Heart Candle. It has notes of ambrosia, pink pepper, cashmere, and black cardamom.  

What is the fragrance that brings you comfort?

I automatically associate comfort with vanilla. The one fragrance that does it for me is The 7 VirtuesVanilla Wood Eau de Parfum. It has the most beautiful vanilla notes that create warmth, coziness, and creaminess. It has a gourmand scent combined with pear and rose, so there is a freshness that feels like a very cozy warm vanilla hug. The warm amber adds an extra level of comfort as well.  

What scent makes you feel most powerful? 

Burn For You. It meets you with an initial smokiness and woodiness from the atlas cedarwood, cashmere musk, and amber notes. Then, it transforms into a cozy Madagascar vanilla, with a touch of clove leaf for some added spiciness. You feel empowered to ignite your deepest desires and own your sensuality with one spritz.

Is there a fragrance you spritz on to bring back good memories?

Now and again, I reach into my stash for Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey. I spray that to remember my days of working at Goldman Sachs and sleeping under a desk. Oddly enough, that was a very happy time, and I went through a lot of personal growth.

What do you smell when you want to unwind/destress?

When I want to unwind and destress, I like to smell pure eucalyptus. I find it very relaxing and refreshing. It helps stimulate my senses, refresh my body, and soothe my mind. 

What's your favorite candle right now?

My go-to candle is Otherland's Rattan. I'm very predictable and love sandalwood, amber, and warm musk, so this is the perfect one to burn at home and makes my space feel inviting.

What scent will you associate with this time in your life?

There could not be a better scent to describe where I am today than Catch Feelings. After being married and having children, then consciously uncoupling, I moved to Miami and met my soulmate. It was completely by happenstance, and there is nothing more special than meeting someone who completely understands you and is your biggest fan.

My boyfriend has been involved in developing this brand with me, and this scent describes our relationship. It's something he and I can wear. It's a woody floral with this beautiful damask rose (Turkish rose). It is wrapped in a touch of fruitiness, thanks to lychee and ruby grapefruit. It also has a vetiver and suede base. For us, this one was love at first sniff.

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