The New Femininity: sheer perfumes

The New Femininity: sheer perfumes

Consider today’s sheer perfumes a lovely and modern evolution of yesterday’s fruity-floral blockbusters.

Blush, naked, bare: A host of beauty brands are currently obsessed with sheer feminine scents and gorgeous blush-tinted packaging. At a quick glance, it all has a bit of 50s-pinup-girl retro vibe, but make no mistake, this is not an old-fashioned perfume trend.

Call it the New Femininity.

We’re talking sheer fragrances decanted in barely beige or sheer rosy bottles—from Issey Miyake, Philosophy, Kenzo and Gucci—that are both super-feminine and sultry.

And they’re enticing scents. Understated but definitely not wallflowers.

Sheerness is a commonality with this new type of perfume, with floral and fruit notes playing alongside dewy, watery and skin-like accords. And then warm woods waft through. One might even interpret these new offerings as next-gen fruity-florals. Those strawberry-praline-peony type fragrances that dominated the mainstream for so long are now evolving to something more sophisticated. The girls are growing up, after all.

Fitting that Issey Miyake’s contribution to the trend, L’Eau d’Issey Pure, is dubbed a Nectar de Parfum since there is something unctuous and rich about this scent—but in a good way. It’s honey. That note swirls with pear and rose, ambergris, Cashmeran and sandalwood.

Kenzo World has that telltale fruity-floral combo—pear, peony and almond blossom—but then smooth, powdery orris takes it up a notch.

Then there’s Philosophy’s Pure Grace Nude Rose. Not surprising, it’s light, feminine, and clean-smelling (this brand does clean like no other!) and a scent you want to snuggle right in next to.

And then Gucci Bloom. Its take on the New Femininity is forthright with tuberose and jasmine. But there’s also a sheerness to this spritz to balance those heady flowers.

Thus is the New Femininity: sheer perfumes that are light, nuanced and powerful. How’s that for a next-gen mantra?

Philosophy Pure Grace Nude Rose Eau de Toilette, $60 (60 mL),

Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum, $154 (100 mL),

Issey Miyake, L’eau d’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum, $131 (90 mL),

Kenzo World Eau de Toilette, $91 (50 mL),


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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.