A little while ago I was approached by the manager of a group of young Australia Sportswomen to work on a project based around designing 3 perfumes to represent each of these awesome women! At first I was a bit doubtful, as I wasn’t sure I could see a direct connection between perfume and sport. But then I got to hear these women's stories, and it all changed for me. You see up until now, perfume has been the realm the famous and beautiful. Cleopatra had her own perfumer, as did Louis the 15th. And modern mass produced perfumery uses actresses and pop stars to sell there little bottles of “Wear this and you can feel like you're Beyonce!”. Whereas I was being offered the amazing opportunity to design perfumes for Real Women, who were achieving awesome things through sheer hard work and dedication that few people got to hear about, because they were sportswomen. You see being a sports Woman, as averse to being a male Sports star, means that you don't get lucrative advertising deals. (And you don't have fawning young men hanging off your arm at tv events for that matter either.) Being great at sport is not something women are rewarded for much. It's not seen as cool, or sexy, or very feminine for that matter unless we're talking about dance or gymnastics. Which is pretty pathetic if you think about it. We want young women to grow up to be strong healthy and to aim at achieving great things...but really, publicly, the only image we feed them is that to be a successful woman, you have to be a pop star, or an actress. Or at least marry an NRL player. And I now had the wonderful opportunity to give these women something back. To give them one of the most feminine of gifts, their very own perfume. And in the process, tell their story publicly. Which gives the whole thing a kinda cool feminist twist: I get to showcase another side of femininity: Real, strong, happy, healthy, driven, achieving in their own right women. And it lent itself to a really cool slogan too. I make perfume out of real, natural ingredients instead of artificial chemical concoctions, and I'm designing perfume for real awesome amazing women who aren't some kind of corporate sales pitch photo shopped plastic pop barbie ideal of womanhood. And of course its also a chance for me to showcase Botanical Perfumery. You see the main reason they chose me to design their perfumes (apart from the fact that I'm one of the few professional perfumers who still does custom design), is that the ingredients I use are all natural. You see, as all three of the women told me, their bodies are their fortune. So they have to be very careful about what they eat, and what they put on them. So the chance to actually have a natural, botanical perfume instead of one full of artifical aromachemicals was an absolute no brainer. And so our slogan was born. #realperfumeforrealwomen The process itself has been really interesting. When I first posted about the project online, I got a lot of feedback, mainly very excited and supportive, but also some quite negative: “Perfume for a female boxer. Does it smell like sweat and leather then?” was the kind of cynical comment I got on a few perfume forums. And the hash tag we'd come up with seemed to be triggering a lot of controversy too: “What do you mean “real women”, just because I wear lipstick, does that mean I'm not real? Personally, that’s exactly what I wanted us all to start thinking about. I love lipstick! But I also like hiking boots and flannelette shirts. And I combine them. And sometimes I wear miniskirts with combat boots and striped stockings too. Or sparkly evening wear in bare feet. I want to challenge this image we have of sacharin coated artificial sexiness that is the only one the media shows us of so called “successful” womanhood. There's a growing movement online to show women's real naked bodies in all their beautiful differences...and I love the idea of being able to extend this into other art forms, including perfume!
So this is my offering to the world of womanhood!