Uni-scents | fragrances for all

The unisex, gender-bending or androgyny trend — one that we explored in menswear recently* — has steamed ahead over several years, and even in the face of a global resurgence in rabid conservatism, it is one that will not wane. The trend is as alive in fashion, as it is in the fragrance world, writes MS. MATHAHLE STOFILE.

Unisex fragrances are nothing new. Just over 10 years ago, Mr Tom Ford launched Black Orchid, a now iconic unisex fragrance. But even this cult fragrance was not the first one, various fragrance houses had long been making unisex scents. Today, brands like Elie Saab, YSL and even Carolina Herrera have non-gender conforming scents. The idea of combining traditionally masculine ingredients like tobacco with traditionally feminine ones such vanilla is clearly one that appeals to many as Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanile, from his Private Blend Collection, remains a firm favourite. In fact, many of the fragrance rules we were always told have gone straight out the window. Irrespective of whether it is day or night, hot or cold, whether you are young or old, male, female or gender non-conforming — the way we choose fragrance today is mainly based on how we feel.

Our go-to unisex fragrance brands:




Some of Le Labo’s classic fragrances.

Le Labo

Founded in New York City, the fragrance house specialises in personalised scents. Their belief is that there are far too many bottles of perfume and not enough soulful fragrances. We agree and this brand has plenty of those.









A selection from Santa Maria Novella.

Santa Maria Novella

One of the oldest perfume houses in the world, Santa Maria Novella, which opened as a pharmacy in Florence, created their first fragrance in 1533 and the latest in 2015. From the lightest to the most intense scents, there is something for everyone.








Serge Lutens

The brainchild of french artist, photographer, designer, hairstylist and filmmaker who gave his name to the brand, Serge Lutens’ unusual notes has in under 20 years gained the brand cult status. Available at Metropolitain Cosmetics stores in South Africa.


Serge Lutens, from the multidisciplinary creative that gave the brand its name.




The The Yves Saint Laurent Le Vestiaire des Perfumes unisex collection.




The eponymous french brand created 5 iconic unisex scents (Tuxedo, Caban, Sharienne, Trench and Caftan) based on five iconic fashion statements. The Yves Saint Laurent Le Vestiaire des Perfumes unisex collection is only available at the standalone store at Sandton City, Johannesburg.









Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille.

Tom Ford

Launched 10 years ago, the rich, luxurious and substantial collection of fragrances mirrors its creator’s legend. Available exclusively at selected Stuttafords stores in South Africa.













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