It’s safe to say that I adore perfume. It has the unique ability to transform your frame of mind with just one spritz—evoking nostalgic memories and lifting your mood like no other beauty product can. However, having such an emotional connection to fragrance means that I tend to play it pretty safe when it comes to the perfumes that I wear. Unlike my makeup bag which I switch up regularly to experiment with new colours and textures, my perfume wardrobe stays pretty much the same all year round. I know which types of scents I like—musky vanilla, heady patchouli and modern rose, FYI—and I gravitate towards them time and time again.
This year, however, something has changed. I’m not sure if it’s those first glimmers of spring sunshine or the promise of warmer weather to come, or maybe it’s the sheer monotony that 2021 has brought with it so far, but I’ve found myself wanting to step out of my fragrance comfort zone and reach for something fresh. But where to start? With so many perfumes launching all the time, choosing a new scent can feel overwhelming to say the least—so I thought it was the perfect time to consult some experts.
Florals for spring might not be groundbreaking but the warm, comforting bouquets that perfume houses are fashioning right now are a bold departure from the types of light, bright flowery scents that we’ve come to expect. “Velvety and powerful,” is how master perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui describes them. Yes, floral perfumes in 2021 will provide a dose of reassuring luxury—a welcome reprieve from the precarious times that we are living through.
Traditionally warm with amber and heady with spice, oriental fragrances look set to be reinvented for 2021 with conventional musky bases being married with refreshing twists of fruit and sweet hints of vanilla and ginger for more gourmand results.
Forget what you think you know about fruity perfumes—2021’s offering is all about the piquant, zesty notes of nature’s harvest. “There is a move towards the freshness of plants, embodying a quest for naturalism and a certain simplicity,” explains the Maison Margiela Fragrances olfactive team. Forget sugary-sweet scents, this is a decidedly more grown-up approach to fruit fragrances.
Move over freshly-laundered linen, the best new perfumes in the clean category have had a contemporary update. “There have been significant developments in the creation of clean notes, with various interpretations,” explains the Maison Margiela Fragrances olfactive team. “There is a move towards the freshness of plants…with multisensory textures of skin-like notes.” Think just-cut blossoms, lush greenery and organic cottons.