Thierry Mugler is one of the few ‘mainstream’ houses that consistently pushes the boundaries of perfumery with its feminine pillar fragrances. Angel spawned an entire fragrance family of its own, and a few hundred inferior clones (at the very least). Alien also took no prisoners, a space-age Jasmine fragrance with an incredible solar potency.
Womanity, launched in 2010, is the most recent ‘pillar’ in the Mugler universe and is probably one of the most divisive designer perfumes to have launched in recent years. Created by a team of perfumers at Mane – including Ralph Schweiger and Fabrice Pellegrin – Womanity utilises a special extract of figs (you can learn more about Mane’s “Jungle Essence” in this video by Mane).
Womanity opens with a tangy and fleeting citrus effect, giving way almost immediately to the milky, creamy and fleshy fig, with the tiniest hint of ammonia. The fig stays front and centre throughout most of the development, flanked by a salty, woody effect that is somewhere between iodine, driftwood and a gustatory, savoury salinity, as well as an aspect of freshly baked shortbread. Hints of strawberry and a faint floralcy and greenness maintain lightness and translucency, whilst a quietly resinous accord hums along beneath the entire composition. It is a disconcerting yet easy fragrance.
Womanity avoids straying completely into the fig tree concept, which has been explored extensively since Olivia Giacobetti’s Premier Figuer for L’Artisan Parfumeur, but does nod to this perfumery archetype. Womanity creates two mental images for me: one is of a fig preserve on a savoury shortbread which has been topped in sea-salt instead of sugar, the other is of a Mediterranean Mermaid peeling figs. The longevity and projection of Womanity is up there with Alien. This savoury gourmand will no doubt result in more savoury fragrances launching in the designer and mainstream world. Womanity, like the predecessor Angel, is years ahead of its time.
Womanity has, since its launch, received several flankers. It was perfected in 2011’s Taste of Fragrance version, where a ‘fig chutney’ accord was added. Also available have been: Eau pour Elles, which plays up the Strawberry, Liquers de Parfum, adding a vodka note, Aqua Chic, which added berries and enhanced floralcy, and my personal favourite, the Parfums de Cuir, adding a leather and amping up the amber/resin facet.
Comparable fragrances: Premier Figuier by L’Artisan Parfumeur, Bois Naufrage by Parfumerie Generale, Pulp by Byredo, Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens, Bois Farine by L’Artisan Parfumeur.
(Further reviews of most of the Womanity flankers can be found here on The Candy Perfume Boy’s blog)