We’re thick in an age where empowered womanhood is a must, and imposed gender norms are steadily becoming exposed for their irrelevance. It is not just society driving this change, but the commercial world, too, is embracing a feminist agenda. Even industries that have previously hindered female empowerment (think fashion and beauty) are realising the error of their ways in favour of the greater good, especially as brands become helmed by a new, determined generation of creatives.
Jérôme Di Marino, head perfumer of Kenzo Parfums, is one such creative. He is the nose behind Kenzo’s latest iteration in its World series, the Kenzo World Power, which refutes the dated assumption that floral notes create a feminine scent.
Housed in Kenzo World’s signature eye-shaped glass vial, the pale gold liquid kisses the skin with accords of sea salt and tonka bean, as well as touches of fresh cypress. While the perfume is marketed for women, it is neither overtly feminine nor masculine. Kenzo World Power seems to be a deliberately genderless perfume that toys with both spheres. It is soft and welcoming but undoubtedly smells like the power it is named after.
In light of the launch of this new perfume, we speak to Jérôme Di Marino about how he idealises perfume as a vessel for empowerment, and why florality should never be the default for feminine.
I built it around the idea of breaking codes. I wanted to express a different form of femininity, one that did not focus on flowers. I worked on [this new form] through the sweet-salty note of tonka bean and crystal salt. I thought about the Kenzo World woman [during the creative process] — she who is daring, who is bold and who doesn’t care about being different.
I loved the idea of this perfume helping women all over the world to be confident about themselves and to encourage them to live by their own rules.
To translate the idea of empowerment, I wanted to be sure that the notes were able to deliver an effective and impactful message to the women discovering the scent. The aromatic notes of cypress were borrowed from the masculine olfactive wardrobe to convey strength, contrasted with the [tonka bean and salt that offered a] bold sensuality.
I thought about all the women who didn’t recognize themselves in a floral bouquet. Without a doubt, the Kenzo woman is unconventional and anti-conformist, and she needed the fragrance to express it.
Of course, everybody can! It’s all about choices. It’s the same way one chooses to wear a glitter shirt or to paint a striking colour on their car. Fragrances offer infinite possibilities to make a statement of how you want to be perceived by everybody else.