8 Fashion Forward Perfumes

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The most iconic fashion houses create jaw-dropping looks and crave-worthy scents, each with a unique story that unwraps through layers of distinct and sometimes complex notes. the fragrances on these pages evoke the essence of the world’s most desired looks purely through scent.


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The Fashion House: Christian Dior

The Scent: Gris Montaigne, $230, dior.com

The Backstory: The newest member of Dior’s La Collection Privée Christian Dior fragrance series, Gris Montaigne brings the shade of gray to life through scent. With a long-standing role as a symbolic shade for the brand—it has appeared everywhere from the façade of the infamous boutique on Paris’ Avenue Montaigne to the haute couture collections dating back to the ‘40s—the house of Dior believes gray to be “one of the most convenient, useful and elegant neutral colors.” This scent serves as a contemporary interpretation of the classic color.

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The Fashion House: Van Cleef & Arpels

The Scent: Rose Velours, $185, neimanmarcus.com

The Backstory: Revered for its feminine designs, ultraluxe jewelry giant Van Cleef & Arpels parlayed the distinctive rose in their Collection Extraordinaire, which celebrates the essence of the garden. For more than 100 years, flora and fauna have inspired the brand’s designs. Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu developed this sure-to-be classic as an initiatory perfume that unfolds its layers throughout the day. “I composed this perfume like an imaginary voyage with several stages that reveal an increasingly complex scent, from dawn to dusk,” says Maisondieu.

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The Fashion House: Chanel

The Scent: Coco Noir, $98, chanel.com

The Backstory: Coco Noir, the most recent fragrance release from Chanel, pays homage to the iconic shade of black, which is ever present in the brand. Master perfumer Jacques Polge marks the brand’s return to Oriental fragrance with this scent, which is rich with notes of grapefruit, bergamot, florals, Indonesian patchouli and sandalwood for a warm and seductive scent.

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The Fashion House: Gucci

The Scent: Gucci Guilty Black, $56, macys.com

The Backstory: Designed to be a thrill-seeking scent of sorts, the sophomore release in the Gucci Guilty collection tells the story of two lovers who bring out the mysterious and dangerous sides of each other. Different than its precursor, Gucci Guilty, the glossy black bottle glows with an enigmatic red hue (the male counterpart scent is green) representing the brand’s notorious red- and green-colored stripes.

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The Fashion House: Jimmy Choo

The Scent: Exotic, $88, bloomingdales.com

The Backstory: Inspired by some of the most exquisite materials available, especially rare python skins and bright, supple leathers, Exotic is the follow-up to Jimmy Choo Flash, the brand’s first foray into scent. The biggest point of distinction is that the sophomore perfume exudes more of a fruity, floral twist. “When we were creating it, we imagined a fragrance with an exuberant character with touches of lively, iridescent color like a refreshing black currant sorbet accented with pink grapefruit,” says Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo creative director.

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The Fashion House: Yves Saint Laurent

The Scent: Manifesto, $102, yslbeautyus.com

The Backstory: The 12th fragrance from the haute couture house of Yves Saint Laurent, Manifesto is a multidimensional scent that plays with feminine notes of jasmine, lily of the valley, tonka beans, cedar and sandalwood. Perfumers Anne Flipo and Loc Dong drew inspiration from Loulou de la Falaise, the legendary YSL fashion muse, when creating this scent. “Manifesto is a tribute to femininity as Yves Saint Laurent portrayed the same attributes in couture: radiant and full of life. This statement fragrance is for the woman who has self-assurance and a true aura and knows how to use them,” say Flipo and Dong.

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The Fashion House: Hermès

The Scent: Eau de Mandarine Ambrée, $125, neimanmarcus.com

The Backstory: A cologne not a perfume (the difference is that Hermès colognes are mostly citrus notes; eau de parfums are fuller, richer scents with diffusion), Hermès master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena says, “Colognes are a source of instant well-being and pleasure. They are as intimate as perfumes with a classic yet surprising element.” Ellena created Eau de Mandarine Ambrée to parlay the theme of a whole-hearted life and “envelope the familiarity and brightness of a sun-drenched orchard.”

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The Fashion House: Donna Karan

The Scent: Cashmere Mist Gold Essence Eau de Parfum Spray, $82, ulta.com

The Backstory: Lighter than Donna Karan’s first scent, Cashmere Mist, this limited-edition version features more warmth and sensual flavor yet echoes the comfort found in Karan’s sumptuous cashmere pieces. “Gold Essence is different in that it is lush and green while highlighting the floral bouquet of Cashmere Mist and maintaining the soft woodiness of the original scent,” says Trudi Loren, vice president, corporate fragrance development for Estée Lauder Companies Worldwide.

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