30 Days of Scent, Day 17: Womanity by Thierry Mugler

The most controversial and polarizing scent in my collection, by far, is Thierry Mugler’s Womanity ($58-98, Nordstrom). Thierry Mugler has a history of coming out with love-or-hate fragrances, including Angel (1992) and Alien (2005), but despite the vast number of flankers both have inspired, neither one is quite as controversial as Womanity.

The thing with fragrances by Thierry Mugler is that they react dramatically to the wearer’s skin chemistry. Some of the flankers less so (notable ones that smell much the same on skin as on paper are Alien Eau Extraordinaire and Taste of Fragrance Angel), but for the most part, it’s not enough for the wearer to like a Mugler fragrance. The fragrance has to like the wearer, too, because on some people’s chemistry, they can go all kinds of wrong. On me, Angel smells like I piled on a dozen candy and fruit body sprays to cover up the smell of week-old sweat, Innocent smells like bug spray, and it’s the strangest thing, but the jasmine-amber-wood combination of Alien smells on me like grape Dimetapp.

Womanity is definitely an unusual fragrance, combining fig (both leaf/stem and fruit) with caviar to create a sweet-and-savory balance. For people like me, on whom the scent does well, it’s a bright, fruity scent with a bit of saltiness and a slight tinge of green freshness, and it lasts a good 6 hours or more without reapplying or layering. On those for whom it doesn’t work, the caviar note can turn fishy or metallic, or remind people of dirty underwear. So this is NOT a fragrance to buy blindly. Test it on your skin first!

I received it in a swap, with a matching lotion. I’ve found that the lotion over-emphasizes the caviar and unbalances the fragrance, cutting down the bright sweetness of the fig that I find so lovely. So I wear the perfume fairly regularly, but I don’t touch the lotion at all.

For me, because I have the skin chemistry to rock it, Womanity is a gorgeous scent, and one of my top 10. However, it’s just about impossible to give it an objective number rating, because it’s one of the most skin-chemistry-dependent scents I’ve ever tried. It’s also temperature-sensitive, so if it doesn’t work for you the first time you try it, it’s worth testing again in different weather before writing it off entirely. On some people, it’s perfect every time, reminiscent of eating fresh figs on the beach. On others, all they ever get is unwashed panties. For many people, they get one impression in hot weather and a completely different one in cold. It’s a very temperamental formula, but the great thing about a house as prolific as Thierry Mugler is that if this particular one doesn’t work for you (and it’s been suggested that each wearer of women’s scents is either an Angel wearer, an Alien wearer, an Innocent wearer, or a Womanity wearer) there are always new ones coming out; for Angel and Alien, there’s usually a new flanker available each year, with the old ones readily available online. If you do well with fig notes, or if you liked the saltiness of Heeley Sel Marin, this one is definitely worth checking out.


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