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Marie Claire Perfume Awards 2020

We know that fine fragrance is likely to take a hit this year. The global pandemic means that luxury sectors, like perfumes, are probably going to decline. Consumers won’t have the money or literally can’t get to the shops to try new launches (perhaps the perfect time to bring back magazine testers in a big way??). The NPD group are predicting double digit decline at around 58% for the luxury and prestige sectors. 

However, there is more awareness now than ever from consumers about the power of scent. The ability to provide comfort and familiarity, to enhance mood in a positive way and to promote self care. Without the ability to go out and smell fragrances themselves, consumers will be relying even more on articles from beauty magazines and industry awards than ever before so, as part of my trend tracking across the consumer market here’s what won recently at Marie Claire. 

According to the magazine; Each year, we award our prizes to the best perfume creations; from blending to the bottle. The twenty-eight international editions of Marie Claire deliver their winners to you.

Best female perfume:Gucci Memoire

It is a singular and non-gendered fragrance which wins this prize for the best female perfume. Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, tasked master perfumer Alberto Morillas to build a perfume around Roman chamomile

The scent is also infused with honeyed jasmine petals and coated with a cloud of musk, cedar and sandalwood. On the skin, it is soft, delightful and subtle. The bottle is inspired by a vintage model of the house, in fluted glass, tinted with green.

Prize for audacity: Idole by Lancôme

Designed by three female perfumers; Shyamala Maisondieu, Nadège Le Garlantezec and Adriana Medina, with a new ‘glow’ accord.

Idôle’s ultra-slim bottle appears to fuse with the hand so that the boundary between skin and fragrance vanishes. The 15 mm thick bottle – the thinnest on the market, designed by Chafik Gasmi – looks like a smartphone, but is elegantly dressed in a gold rim and cap. 

Fragrance notes:

Powerful and beautiful. With its alluring scent and sharp thorns, the rose symbolises the complexity of femininity. The perfect marriage of beauty and strength, a sustainably sourced Rose Accord can be found in the heart of Idôle.

Pure and sensual. Oil of Jasmine Absolutes acts as a gentle yet generous accompaniment to Idôle’s heart. Radiant and sensual, it is an invitation to draw closer.

Delicate and long-lasting. An abundance of radiant petals blended with musks forms a sophisticated Clean Chypre Accord, which recalls the airy freshness of just-washed linens. Despite its breezy subtlety, the note lingers on the skin to create a lasting enveloping sensation of reassurance.

Structured like a kaleidoscope, Idôle’s fragrant accords radiate from its heart. Simply by wearing Idôle a distinctive scent identity is created. Harnessing the essence of the woman wearing it, Idôle becomes a declaration of her intention to be herself. To become her own Idôle.

Prize for the best female bottle: Libre by Yves Saint Laurent

Everything in this object reflects elegance and tension between masculine and feminine. The graphic glass object interpreted by designer Suzanne Dalton is transcended by the house’s famous gold Cassandre, as if sealed and lying at right angles to the bottle. A golden chain wrapped around the neck contrasts with the massive black cap.

This bottle perfectly echoes the scent orchestrated by Anne Flipo and Carlos Benaïm: a virile but fresh lavender, reinvented and feminized with an absolute of sweet orange blossom then bewitched by vanilla and a hint of ambergris. 

Prize for the best male perfume: K by Dolce Gabbana

Inspired by the king’s playing card, this fragrance deliciously transports you to Tuscany. Imagined by Daphné Bugey and Nathalie Lorson, it soars on zest of blood orange and Sicilian lemon, glazed with juniper berry, warms gently thanks to an ultra-refined heart composed of geranium, lavender and clary sage and finally ignites thanks to the pepper, woods and base blend of vetiver, cedar and patchouli.

France Women’s Prize: Parisian Musc de Matière Première

Coming from a line of perfumers for seven generations, authors of remarkable fragrances – from Narciso Eau de Parfum Poudrée to Aurélien by Carine Roitfeld – and owner of his own field of centifolia roses, Aurélien Guichard launched his own fragrance line this year, soberly called Matière First.

His concept: always starting from an idea and a central ingredient, enhanced by magnifying certain facets and soothing others. Among his first six creations, we had a real crush on Parisian Musk, an ode to the seed of ambrette Peru, whose woody accents are sublimated by cedar essence Virginie and the musky facet, amplified by ambrettolide supreme and ambroxan linking the whole with subtlety and sensuality. 

Prix ​​France masculin: Rose & Cuir by Jean-Claude Ellena with Frédéric Malle perfume editions

Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. The perfume editor Frédéric Malle. This meeting at the top has already produced refined scents: Angéliques sous la Pluie, L’Eau d’Hiver, Cologne Bigarade and Bigarade Concentrée. In this ultimate fragrance “inspired by the mistral”, we find the art of refinement; the absolute requirement of the author.

A feat that evokes a crystalline rose, recomposed without a flower petal but thanks to the Bourbon geranium and Timut pepper – with accents of grapefruit and rose, precisely. The fragrance darkens thanks to vetiver, cedar and especially a leather accord of rare elegance built around Isobutyl Quinoline –  a vintage molecule by Robert Piguet’s Bandit. Half-flower, half-leather, between light and shade, “Rose & Leather has the irresistible elegance of a barely contained storm”, according to Frédéric Malle. Beautiful on a woman, even more enigmatic on a man.