“Smelling like a man” used to mean drowning yourself in cologne that smelled like a burning tree trunk. These days, though, guys are becoming as informed and selective with their scents as they are with their fantasy football lineups. We’re opening our minds—and nostrils—to new possibilities and fragrance notes, learning to consider a variety of options depending on the occasion.
SHARP caught up with Carl D. Morisset, L’Oreal’s general manager of international designer brands—meaning he handles fragrances for the likes of Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, and more—about everything you need to know before selecting your next signature scent (or three).
First of all, how should a man go about building his fragrance “wardrobe”?
It’s important for a man to have several fragrances because we experience several different moods in a week. Fragrance is a way to feel each and every moment in a very intense way. A man should have a fragrance that’s suitable for each and every one of these moments.
For instance, Giorgio Armani Aqua di Gio fits perfectly with holiday moods, while Ralph Lauren’s Polo Sport is a perfect sent for those active and busy days. Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit de l’Homme, Armani Privé Cuir Noir or Maison Margiela’s Jazz Club are three great choices for your evening moods.
What’s a change in the industry that you’ve noticed lately?
We are now enjoying the explosion of niche. These days, an increasing portion of the masculine population does not rely on TV adverts to guide them to their new fragrance. Those men are looking for a scent that actually speaks to their tastes, rather than something they think they should do. For those style-conscious male, curating a distinct fragrance collection is just as important as developing an individual personal style. These scents have the power to become a trademark of their ‘look’.
Maison Martin Margiela has perfectly understood this trend and is initiating it on the Canadian market. The French house is one of the most modern and avant-garde labels today, it has expanded its product line with the introduction of their men’s fragrances, Replica Jazz Club and At the Barber’s. Those two niche fragrances are part of the Replica series, defined by the design house itself as a “reproduction of familiar scents and moments of varying locations and periods.”
Is there really such a thing as a “unisex” scent?
Another major trend is the apparition of gentlemen who are not alone in their love for moody, traditionally “feminine” florals. An increasing number of men’s fragrances are developed with feminine notes then roughed up by more virile touches of patchouli, sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, and amber, but there’s also a growing market for guys who yearn to smell more precisely like a bouquet.
Maison Martin Margiela’s unisex fragrances By The Fireplace and Untitled are perfect illustrations of this trend. YSL will present next year a new fragrance totally in line with this trend introducing notes of masculine rose. Stay tuned!
What’s the hottest new scent of the year?
Oud wood scents are flooding the men’s fragrance market and the trend is just at its beginning. Oud, which is native to Arabia, continues to inspire European and North American designers while seducing Canadian consumers. This so mystical, noble and precious material invites men consumers to discover a captivating elixir of oriental fragrances and they love it.
Yves Saint Laurent’s Oriental Collection, with 3 powerful fragrances inspired by the Middle East, is a beautiful fragrance using Oud notes. As a very high-end fragrance, Armani Privé’s Oud Royal showcases the distinguished and unique Oud Wood.
What genre of fragrance do you see moving to the forefront this season?
There’s a swathe of “intense” and “extreme” fragrances popping up on the men’s market right now. Men want their fragrances to be dark and to last. That’s lucky, because more and more, houses are proposing intense fragrances.
YSL is introducing this year L’Homme in an intense version supported by amber-y, woody notes, while Aqua di Gio launched its intense version Profumo totally in line with this current enthusiasm for intense and extreme notes. Looking for something even more niche? Spicebomb Extreme from Viktor & Rolf might be just what you are looking for.