It was comforting to learn that the Official you can’t get put on the naughty list if you’re already on it shirt in addition I really love this connection between perfumes and periods of time wasn’t just a quirk I’d developed. The signature scent of a particular decade is linked directly to developments within the fragrance industry. “There are two essential scents created at the beginning of the nineties, and they launched significant olfactive trends,” says Kilian fragrances founder and creative director Killian Hennessy. On the phone from Paris, Hennessy talked me through the art of perfumery and its intersection with science. “The first advance was Angel from Thierry Mugler, where they used a raw material called ethyl maltol, and that’s the sweet note,” he said. “It’s in Angel, Flowerbomb, and every sweet perfume on the market. It was revolutionary then, and if you look at the market today, you’ll see that [category] is alive and well.” A quick peek at the current best-selling perfumes at Sephora revealed a number of fragrances featuring notes straight out of a cookbook. (Hennessy’s own line specializes in EDPs that range from the coconut milk sweetness of Moonlight in Love to the boozy Black Phantom.)The lightweight transparency of Acqua di Gio and Pleasures also stemmed from technological advancements. “The other note that is symbolic of the 90s is calone; it’s the marine note used in Escape from Calvin Klein and Issey Miyake, which were created in 1990 and ’91. That aquatic element led to the entire 90s perfume style, which was very serene.” Of course, all that serenity through chemistry came with a downside: hundreds of releases that smelled nearly identical. “After a while, it became so easy to create a transparent fragrance because you had access to all these notes. You add a little bit of peach or pineapple, a little bit of rose, and basically you get every other perfume that came after,” he explained. “For 15 years, the market was oversaturated with transparent florals. Big brands had a hard time breaking from those olfactive structures. The reason why smaller perfumers were able to make an impact so quickly [in the early 2000s] was that consumers were tired of smelling either a sweet copy of Angel or a transparent perfume that was a copy of Pleasures.”
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Learning more about the Official you can’t get put on the naughty list if you’re already on it shirt in addition I really love this scientific achievements that led to both categories’ ubiquity was eye-opening, but perfume can mean so much more than what’s in the bottle. For Hennessy, the connection between scent and memory runs deep—especially now. “When the future is uncertain, you turn to the past,” he says. “You want to relive those beautiful moments—we’ve all had them—and when you reminisce you know it’s going to be good.” At present, Hennessy is channeling his need for nostalgia into the creation of cologne made using techniques from the 1800s. The concept satisfies his inner history buff, but thoughts of his 90s childhood have played a role in his work. When creating Love Don’t Be Shy, his confection-inspired gourmand, he and perfumer Calice Becker looked to the ultimate sweet treat. “I wanted to create something so delicious and yummy it would make someone want to bite your neck, but I also wanted to move away from the Angel archetype,” he says. “One day [Calice] was making marshmallows for her kids using her grandmother’s recipe. She sent me the note and I just loved it, it was exactly what I was looking for. We all had marshmallows when we were kids and it just brings back so many beautiful memories.” No wonder it’s rumored to be Rihanna’s favorite perfume.