How to create a capsule fragrance wardrobe

Nasomatto Pardon and Aesop Marrakech Intense

I frickin love talking to fragrance people. They’re so passionate, poetic and downright knowledgeable about perfume and the senses. One who is more passionate than most is the effusive Michael Donovan, founder of Profile PR and perfume e-tailer When I saw Michael last (at the Frederic Malle boutique where he schooled me on everything there is to know about Mr. Malle and his magical juices), we talked about our fragrance journeys and about the evolution from having one signature scent to having a wardrobe of different ones.

I like the idea of having a capsule fragrance wardrobe that represents a concise edit of perfumes for particular moods and occasions. Michael agrees that it’s good to have a choice so you can dress for your emotions. “The idea that one fragrance will work for every occasion and across the seasons is the same as imagining that you could wear the same outfit every day,” he says. “A ‘wardrobe’ of scents lets you choose according to occasion, season and mood.”

A true fragrance enthusiast, he also believes in dressing perfume first. “Fragrance can affect our mood, so it’s sensible to apply your perfume before anything else. So you may have been about to wear jeans and a T-shirt, however a spritz of something sensual can put you in the mood for something altogether more sophisticated and alluring.” Yep, sold.

So what should go in this capsule fragrance wardrobe? I asked Michael for his recommendations and added a few of my own. Feel free to add yours in the comments…


How to choose a fragrance wardrobe. Day fragrance - Chanel Jersey and Perfumer H Orange Leaf

Michael recommends Eau d’Ipanema by A Lab On Fire. Freshness, a twist of berries and mango, jasmine and freesia. This represents summer in a bottle. £90/60ml. Buy it here.

Mediterraneo by Carthusia. This is the oldest recipe in the world (from 1390); a fresh yet sophisticated combination of crushed lemon leaves and green tea. It is a very well behaved fragrance – you can take it anywhere. £80/100ml Buy it here.

DRG recommends Jersey by Chanel Les Exclusifs. This is my go-to if I have a day of back-to-back meetings and need to feel energised and focused. It’s clean and cologne-like with a sharp zing of lavender countered by a subtle musk. Buy it here. I also love Orange Leaf by Perfumer H, a gentle uplifting citrus.


How to build a fragrance wardrobe - Weekend fragrance Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay and Urban Outfitters Macaron Rose

Michael recommends Oh Denim by Uermi. This is perky pink pepper, sumptuous florals, amber and vanilla – eminently wearable. £105/75ml Buy it here.

Fleurs de Rocaille by Caron – An aldehydic classic with notes of violet, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine and ylang-ylang creating an infinitely wearable and elegant scent. Invoked by Al Pacino in ‘ Scent Of A Woman’! £89/100ml Buy it here.

DRG recommends Blackberry & Bay by Jo Malone. A year-round favourite, this is a juicy green scent that’s fresh, fruity but comforting. Buy it here. I also love Macaron Rose by Urban Outfitters. It lasts all day and blends non-cloying rose water with the gourmand warmth of sugarcane. Buy it here.

How to build a fragrance wardrobe. For holidays and travel, include Hermes D'orange Vert and Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Shimmering Body Oil Spray
Michael recommends Debaser by D.S & Durga. Think figs and coconuts, the happiest scent on the planet – utterly delicious! [Yes, it’s actually named after the Pixies song!] £139/50ml Buy it here.

Peacock Throne Hair Fragrance by Thameen. Hair fragrance is genius for travelling in the summer. Hair is porous so holds the scent better than skin. Peacock Throne is an exotic light bouquet of summer flowers – jasmine, taif rose, iris – over a spice vanilla base. £85/50ml Buy it here.

DRG recommends Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermes, a sophisticated, versatile green citrus. Get the mini 15ml size so you can carry it with you for respritzing throughout the day. Buy it here. Bronze Goddess Shimmering Body Oil Spray (not technically a fragrance, but that’s how I wear it) by Estee Lauder, so delicious and beachy, it’s intoxicating. Buy it here. I also can’t not mention Shay & Blue Sicilian Limes – a punchy feel-good citrus. Buy it here.


Nasomatto Pardon or Aesop Marrakech Intense

Michael recommends Black Afgano by Nasomatto. A work of genius, this exudes confidence and personality. £118/30ml Buy it here.

Beat Cafe by JUSBOX. Warm, honeyed cognac over golden tobacco and a warm leather base. This brooks no argument. £130/78ml. Buy it here.

DRG recommends Pardon by Nasomatto. Seriously punchy, this opens with magnolia and tonka bean then dries to a warm but distinctive woody base. Buy it here. Aesop Marrakech Intense – cooling and spicy at the same time. Amazing for summer. Buy it here.


Dries van Noten by Frederic Malle

Michael recommends Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle. Tuberose is the Little Black Dress of flowers and this is velvet perfection. £245/100ml. Buy it here.

Flamenco by Ramon Monegal. This is exuberant and extravert, a glorious hymn to the theatrical dance using Turkish Rose at its heart. £180/50ml.

DRG recommends Dries van Noten by Frederic Malle, my staple ‘gentlewoman’ fragrance that delivers instant confidence and elegance. Buy it here.


For a feminine but sexy fragrance i love In the Garden of Good and Evil by By Kilian. And also Tangier Vanille by Aerin

Michael recommends A Weekend in Fontainebleau by IDEO Parfumeurs (for women) – this refers to the trysts between Diane de Poitiers and King Henri II in the woods and moves from fresh forest to unadulterated desire! This is all about seduction. £140/100ml buy it here.

Grey Labdanum by Abel is 100% natural and a dark, smouldering combination of patchouli, clary sage and labdanum with highlights of grapefruit and violet. Irresistible – £45/15ml But it here.

DRG recommends In the Garden of Good and Evil by By Kilian. I won’t lie, the name itself adds to the seduction. It’s a jasmine and apricot-drenched concoction that’s perfect for humid summer evenings. Buy it here. A bit less obvious, I love the sensual muskiness of Tangier Vanille by Aerin. Yes, you can be sexy without being vampy. Buy it here.


WORDS AND IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
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