The women behind the scents

Published March 9, 2021

What does it mean to smell like a woman? This week we’re shining some well-deserved light on the women in the perfume industry, to celebrate their achievements. We asked the female noses behind some of our best-selling perfume houses to reflect on how their womanhood empowers and inspires them. Read about it below!

Chiara Ronzani, Extrait d’Atelier

Chiara Ronzani is the founder and owner of Italian perfume brand Extrait d’Atelier, a harmonious unisex collection of perfumes inspired by traditional craftsmanship in five parts. She believes that sophistication and class do not have genders, and that we as women have the power and freedom to explore anything we dream of.

“To me being a woman means having the chance to live life in open dreams and infinite creativity. We, as women, have the power to extend our vision into undefined boundaries with a strong behavior, though very human and kind. Women are such an unknown world, womanhood to me is an untouchable perception expressing endless beauty, elegance, care, love.”

“If one day I decide to do gendered perfumes, I see female perfumes as flowery, soft, gentle, but never sweet and arrogant; strong and invading. For men, I would use stronger notes however always rounded and gentle as the hug on a man embracing his love.”

Frances Shoemack, Abel Odor

Former winemaker Frances Shoemack founded her chic perfume brand Abel Odor with one goal in sight – to create the world’s best natural perfume. Together with her nose Isaac Sinclair, they use the best (natural) ingredients in the world to create gender neutral scents that combine power with beauty. Frances believes the world needs feminine energy more than ever.

“It’s all about energy for me. I find in my day to day life, I actually have a lot of traditionally masculine energy – quick decision making, unafraid of risk, being pragmatic. Embracing my womanhood, means embracing my feminine energy both at work and in life. Empathy, vulnerability, kindness and a willingness to compromise for the greater good. I think we all need to cultivate our feminine energy.”

“I’m inspired by women the world over. These days we hear a lot about ‘putting yourself first’ and I think it’s extremely important, but equally important is appreciating and rewarding our incredible capacity for caring. It shouldn’t be something we are ashamed of. I remember lying awake, exhausted, feeding my eldest son comforted by the fact that all over the world, at that very moment, is a womanhood of strong, caring women doing this exact humble act. Caring doesn’t make us weak, it makes us strong.”

Romy Kowalewski, 27 87

Romy Kowalewski has redefined luxury with her progressive line of perfumes under the brand 27 87, led by a team of women. The scents are divided into four lines: Calm, Now, Go and Wild, representing four different states of mind that the wearer might be in. Romy believes in creating unisex scents and letting the wearer decide which scent they feel attracted to, regardless of gender.

“I feel very proud and empowered being a woman. Especially in the modern society I live in, I feel like there are no limits and we have the opportunities to fulfill our dreams without sacrificing what entitles a family life. We are multitasking, hard-working and hence all my team is led solely by women. I would not have it any other way. I am inspired by powerful, independent and self-determined women who fight for their dreams and goals.”

“For me, a scent is a very individual and intimate part of who we are. I generally do not like to label a scent to a specific gender. It all depends on the personality, the character and the mood of the person who wears the scents.”

Anna Torrents, Genyum

Anna Torrents’ passion for the olfactory world stems from her curiosity about the world of art, and its many forms. Her brand Genyum paints scented portraits of different artists and their safe havens, ranging from tattoo parlours to ballet studios. Anna lets her creativity be fed by any and all scents, paying no attention to old stereotypes around gender.

“How can someone who is proud of her gender feel? Happy! We are lucky to live in a time and place where if you work hard and consistently you can achieve your objectives. Being a woman is being courageous and able to always drive forward without hurting anyone. It is listening and understanding other women, respect to be respected. We are creative, empathic, tough, passionate, imaginative; we are loving.”

“Many of us are guided by old fashioned archetypes, that under my perspective have limited us in many senses. This for me is history, not the present. Of course men and women are anatomically different, but, do you think any of the genders have an exclusivity on colors or ingredients? My creativity is fed by my admiration to artists, their ingenuity, I capture their bohemian way of living, the experience when entering the studio of a painter, or the subtlety of a violin, the smell of a library…this is translated into woods, mate, flowers, leather, lavender.”

Dorothée Duret, Pentalogies

Dorothée Duret invites us to explore our five senses by way of her perfume house Pentalogies, using the scents like prism to deconstruct and recreate. Her first collection L’Etude is created in partnership with nose Clémentine Humeau, and the two women have found a poetic way of telling their scented stories. Dorothée sees her womanhood as something that is inherently part of her, and feels lucky to be a woman.

“My femininity is inseparable from my body. I feel like an explorer in front of this body in perpetual motion that talks to anyone who wants to hear it. Motherhood woke me up and made me look at myself from the inside. I feel very lucky to be born a woman. Personally, I prefer the idea of imagining a perfume inspired by someone rather than created for that person. I believe creation is a matter of freedom and personal perception, not of category.”

“I am fascinated by the forces and failures of the Greek deities, the intelligence of Athena and the unpredictable Dionysus who is a man but resonates with my femininity. In the real world, I admire the writer Fatou Diome and the philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, both who touch me with their words full of common sense and wisdom.”

Discover the scents

Find a new favourite among these perfumes, created by women

27 87

Cedarwood, Violet leaf, Clean laundry