The first fragrance you ever wore — maybe even the one you wear today — could've been dictated more by your gender than your personal tastes. For too long a time, it feels like the marketing world has presented people with little but light florals for women and bold musks for men, to the point that we now associate sweet scents with femininity and spicy ones with masculinity. In reality, though, gender is both fluid and a social construct. And it has basically nothing to do with the odors that catch our attention and make us feel at home with ourselves. Brands are understanding that now more than ever, and it's brought on a wave of fragrances made for anyone and everyone.
Michelle Pfeiffer knows what we're talking about. "When I was growing up and wearing fragrance, I was always really attracted to men's fragrance, particularly my father's cologne, which I found very intoxicating," she tells Allure. That cologne largely inspired Queens & Monsters, the latest and sixth fragrance from the actress's clean fragrance brand, Henry Rose.
Though this fragrance has a strong vanilla smell that emanates straight from the bottle, it has even stronger notes of sandalwood and jasmine that are brought to life by its reaction with the skin. The longer you wear it, the more it reveals its deeper notes of lavender and musk, too.
"It's a very sensual fragrance, and it's kind of fresh and creamy at the same time," Pfieffer says.
Its bottle, unlike many traditional fragrances, thankfully comes without the bells and whistles that brands use to further assign gender to perfumes and colognes. That was the goal for all of the Henry Rose fragrances, none of which are positioned as men's or women's fragrances. Even the imagery on the brand's website and social media avoid targeting any specific gender, Pfieffer points out. That was her priority from day one.
She even recalls discussing genderless fragrances with a handful of industry experts before launching Henry Rose in 2019 — apparently, one of them outright discouraged her from creating any. "For a little short period of time, I kind of went off of it, because I thought they just knew more than me," Pfeiffer laughs. "Anyway, turns out they didn't."