Itâ€™s not surprising that designer Thierry Mugler, the man who put BeyoncÃ© in a traffic-stopping "motorcycle corset," creates weird perfumes that bear absolutely no resemblance to the pleasant-but-forgettable florals of current mainstream taste.
In 1992, his first fragrance, Angel, a vanilla sugar, chocolate and patchouli powerhouse, was so startlingly singular that it garnered both legions of fans (Angel lovers are devoted and rarely wear anything else) and passionate haters. To this day, Angel can chase the vanilla-averse right out of a room. (Editor's note: That's me. Vanilla-averse, running right of a room.)
Womanity, his latest bid for olfactory immortality, launching this month, also elicits strong â€˜"love it or loathe it" reactions. Meant to evoke the diversity and duality of women, it is the first "sweet and savory" fragrance with a breezy fig overlay, undercut by salt, an odorless compound represented here by a briny caviar note. But donâ€™t be put off by the fish eggs. In no way does it smell like youâ€™ve mistakenly rubbed sturgeon roe on your pulse points.
In fact, the salt is a canny choice. Unlike other fragrances that blend salt with earthier notes (like The Different Companyâ€™s Sel de Vetiver or Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel, both culty smaller brands), Womanity deploys salt to curtail the sweetness of the fig, preventing it from hurtling into nose-aching candy territory. The result is juxtapositional genius: like eating chocolate-covered peanuts. Or if you prefer, wearing a floral dress with biker boots.
Which, like Womanity, is another perfect fit for fall.
Womanity eau de parfum, $66 to $110, is available exclusively at The Bay. For more info, visit womanity.com.