A fragrance chat with Mary Young, lingerie designer

A fragrance chat with Mary Young, lingerie designer

Meet Mary Young, a lingerie and loungewear designer based in Toronto who is a champion of minimalism—in pretty much everything.

Mary Young’s namesake lingerie brand is the stuff that laid-back babes dream of. It’s simply designed with superior materials and is handmade right here in Toronto. So it’s no surprise that Young’s perfume love follows a similar, minimalist approach.

What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?

My favourite scent as child isn’t anything specific, it’s actually quite common. I spent a lot of my early childhood years at my cottage, outdoors more often than not, so the smell of nature, the mixture of fresh water, grass and woods.

What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?

I have to admit the first fragrance I bought myself was Britney Spears Toxic. I definitely did not buy it because of the smell but solely because I related to her Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman song. Needless to say this scent didn’t translate into me becoming a woman.

What maternal (or paternal) figure influenced your attitude towards perfume?

I honestly don’t think anyone specifically influenced my attitude towards perfume. My mother never wore any, at least that I knew of growing up and my father didn’t either. I have a few memories of realizing my friends had a scent, as we all do, some was just nice laundry detergent but other friends wore perfume and I associated that scent with it. When I finally took perfume seriously I was in my early 20’s and wanted to also have a distinct scent that I could be known for.

What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality? (And please let us know which fragrance it is!)

My favourite fragrance is Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche, and it’s the only fragrance I’ve worn in the past 4 years. It has both citrus and floral notes combined with woody notes, amber, patchouli and fresh vetiver. I could be reading into this too much but I think the blend of citrus and floral relate to my young look and petite stature while the wood notes relate to my more masculine energy, which I’ve been told I have.

chanel_chanceeaufraicheWhat makes you notice a fragrance?

I really like lighter, more airy fragrances and anything too floral automatically turns me off. I believe a perfect fragrance is one that doesn’t overwhelm you when you initially smell it but rather slowly makes it’s scent known and, most importantly, doesn’t linger once the wearer is gone.

How many fragrances you own?

I actually only own one, I’ve been working on living a more minimal life, scents included.

What do you smell like?

That’s a hard question, I can’t really pinpoint what I smell like. I’ve been told I have a fresh airy scent, nothing too sweet or floral based.

How do you scent your home?

I normally have candles, one area I don’t live minimally. So the scent of my home changes based on what candles I have and how long I’m able to keep them around. Now that it’s nearing the holidays I always like to have a winter fir candle burning.

Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?

One of my friends, Marta, has such a distinct scent and it always puts a smile on my face. I believe it’s a Tom Ford scent, it’s quite woodsy with a hint of tobacco. It’s actually quite common so whenever I smell it I think of her instantly and always find myself smiling. (Editor’s note: We’re guessing it’s Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille—a classic.)

If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be and please describe the smell.

If I could  bottle the smell of fresh rain in the country I would be forever at peace. I grew up in a small town and my favourite smell was the smell after a warm summer rain, you can almost smell the grass and trees growing, it makes me feel so alive.

What scents/smells are overrated?

I personally find eucalyptus to be overrated. I remember smelling it a lot growing up in Bath and Body Works products I would get for Christmas. It was great then but as I aged and received far too many of those gift boxes I couldn’t enjoy it anymore.

How do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?

I think it’s very personal, some people prefer consistency while others love trying new things. I’m all about the signature scent, I’d love to have others remember me distinctly by one scent rather than an ever changing scent.

What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/friends/the next generation?

I would definitely recommend that people experiment, even if that means buying a scent because a celebrity endorses it. This is how you’ll learn what you like but most importantly what you don’t like. Sampling scents is also very important, it can smell one way when sprayed in the air and a completely other way on your skin. Also, never wear a scent that a friend wears, stay true to yourself and build your own distinct scent.

How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?

As I mentioned I’m working on living a more minimal life and I think scent, specifically a signature scent, plays a role in that. To me feeling put together always include a spray of perfume before I leave my house, so it completes my style without adding anything visually.

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This article was written by

Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.