If You Love Y2K Fashion, This Cult-Favorite Perfume Is The Essence Of The ‘00s

It's raspberries all the way down!

by Sarah Barrientos
mugler angel nova

It’s time to shed your faux-fur coat and wave goodbye to the winter blues because spring is just around the corner, and with it comes longer days, shorter skirts, and the chance to revisit your signature seasonal scent. If you’re in dire need of a new perfume for spring, look no further than the newest addition to Mugler’s Angel fragrance family, Angel Nova. It’s a delicious, raspberry forward perfume that smells — and looks — just like a 2000s-era pop star. With top notes of raspberry and lychee, Angel Nova is meant to evoke an “overdose of raspberry,” according to the Mugler site, and as it dries, the middle notes of Damascena rose harmonize with the fruity tones in the best way, while the patchouli-adjacent Akigalawood base grounds the blend with just a hint of spice.

For all the nostalgia that Angel Nova elicits, it may be surprising to learn that the perfume is barely even two years old. Released in 2020, the perfume perfectly encapsulates our current obsession with Y2K-inspired fashion — another sign of the late Thierry Mugler’s avant-garde vision. Everything about this scent, from the hot pink jelly sandal color to the asymmetrical-star shape snatched right off the doodled margins of a Lisa Frank notebook, evokes a heavy sense of ‘00s nostalgia from a simpler (read: pre-smart phone) time.

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about any Mugler perfume without taking time to acknowledge the legacy of Angel. While Mugler’s Alien fragrance might be currently taking over your TikTok feed, Angel is the first born child and breakout star in Mugler’s family of perfumes.

“It was an incredible journey of development and bravery in coming up with something that had never been done before,” said Paul Austin, founder of Austin Advisory Group and co-founder of the new fragrance venture LilaNur Parfum, who worked as a trainee with Quest — the fragrance house Thierry Mugler collaborated with — when Angel was first being developed (although he didn’t know it at the time). “I just was aware that something magical was happening.”

It’s also important to remember that prior to 1992, gourmand scents (think: synthetically created scents made to smell edible) were practically unheard of. Angel’s ground-breaking sweet vanilla and cotton candy notes paved the way for fruity scents like Angel Nova (among many other iterations at various fragrance houses).

Mugler’s Ready-to-Wear Fall/Winter 1996 fashion show. Victor VIRGILE / Contributor/ Getty Images

For some, Nova’s fruity notes might bring to mind a certain type of early 2000s-era Disney Channel star. “Hilary Duff would wear Angel Nova. It’s very ‘good girl.’” says Tynan Sinks, one-half of the popular perfume podcast Smell Ya Later. “She would be wearing Angel Nova and saying the iconic line from A Cinderella Story, ‘waiting for you is like waiting for rain in this drought.’ That, to me, is who wears [this perfume].”

But lest you think the scent is too youthful to feel sophisticated, Sue Phillips — a globally recognized expert of fragrance and a woman so skilled at her craft that she's actually been credited with helping COVID-19 patients regain their sense of smell — draws comparisons to a different (yet equally beloved) blonde-haired heroine from the late ‘90s and early aughts: Carrie Bradshaw.

For Phillips, women who wear Angel Nova are young but assertive rule-breakers, much like Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in Sex and the City. It’s a scent that is both confident and carefree. With Angel Nova, “you don’t have to be so formal … you can let your hair down,” she says.

To the average nose, the ultra sweet notes might even remind you of a berry-centric Bath and Body Works spray or even Victoria Secret’s Love Spell (both quintessential Y2K scents). But that is not to say that the fragrance is by any means basic. Angela Nova is, at its core, an uncomplicated scent, one with mass appeal, not unlike a chick-flick. But it would be overly simplistic — and perhaps even a touch offensive, to a fragrance industry leader such as Mugler — to compare Angel Nova to glittery, sugary eau de toilettes that can be purchased at your local CVS. Angel Nova is raspberries all the way down, but let’s be clear: this is not the fruity body spray of your youth. What those scents lacked in sillage (the French term that describes the lingering scent of a perfume) and sophistication, Angel Nova has in spades.

So, if you’re looking to cap off your Y2K look for spring with the hope that the season ahead will capture some of that simpler, uncomplicated energy of the early aughts, don’t discount on the most intriguing scents in the Mugler collection of fragrances.

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