Of all the things in life that seem to be heavily gendered, fragrance definitely sits high on the list. It’s been a commonly held (and marketed) belief that perfumes are for women and colognes are for men. That said, more and more perfumers are looking to create scents that speak to an identity and experience that goes far beyond gender. French fashion house Celine’s new fragrance Rimbaud is among the new school of scents that transcend the stereotypes of what is considered a feminine or masculine scent.
Rimbaud eau de parfum is the 10th scent in the Celine Haute Parfumerie project, created by renowned photographer and Celine Creative Director Hedi Slimane. In his nearly 30-year fashion career, Slimane has continuously challenged the societal notion of gender through his imagery and collections — so this new fragrance is, for lack of better words, very on brand.
“For this scent the couturier reconnected with his favorite themes: the notion of identity beyond gender, the essence of youth, and the fragility of a state suspended somewhere between childhood and adulthood. But also the French spirit,” the brand says in a press release.
The perfume itself has a warm yet herbal scent that dissipates in a soft, powdery finish — it’s housed in a beautiful glass bottle that is reflective of the chic simplicity that Celine is heralded for.
You’re probably thinking “this all sounds great and vague but what are the notes?” At first whiff, the nose catches a strong lavender note combined with a slight mint-like freshness.
“With its vivacious and subtle camphor-like scent, lavender is an archetype for masculine fragrances,” says the brand. “The essence as well as the lavender absolute selected by the Maison Celine come from the drôme in Haute Provence where the plant has been cultivated since antiquity.” The house harvests lavender between the months of July and August when they first begin to bloom to catch the height of their scent.
Another prominent note in the fragrance is Iris, known for its gentle, subtly sweet, and muted tone. This note gives the fragrance an elegant feel — and though it would smell lovely in the daytime, it seems like it would pair perfectly with a floor-length evening gown or dashing tuxedo.
The fragrance overall has a powdery scent (think: baby powder but elevated) which is a signature of Celine Haute Parfumerie. It is rounded out by additional notes of neroli, orris butter, wheat accord, musk, and vanilla for a warm, slightly sweet and soft finish.
In its complexity, it’s clear that this fragrance is brimming with versatility, softness, and depth — the markers of a truly genderless treasure.
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