Perfume, like fashion, is cyclical. What was in fashion, goes out of fashion and ultimately comes back in again. We can map a decade by the perfumes worn in the same way we can by the clothes that were most popular. Think about it, the ’80s is as synonymous with stinky, syrupy white florals as it is shoulder pads, and the ‘90s were as clean and aquatic when it came to fragrance, as they were grungy in their fashions. The trends are there; it’s exciting to see what comes next and what will maybe return from the past.
At the beginning of 2019, I dug out my crystal ball and donned my best Mystic Meg wig to bring you my fragrance trend predictions. Some of them came true (label-free perfumery, savoury gourmands and sandalwoods), others didn’t, but I wanted to revisit the idea to see whether the latest launches could perhaps predict the fragrances we will see in 2020. So here we are, throwing back on that wig and gazing into the fragrant crystal ball. What’s that I see…
#1 More Intensity
In 2019 we saw a number of fragrances get the ‘intense’ treatment. This is where original compositions such as GUERLAIN’s Mon Guerlain and DIOR’s JOY get remixed into something a little bit deeper, richer and, well, more intense! Intense versions are great because they give you more of the fragrances you love, so if you loved the enveloping, gourmand silkiness of Mon Guerlain, you’re gonna go nuts when you try the delicious marzipan-amber of Intense. In 2020 I think we’re going to see more of our favourites get a little bit intense and I for one, am totally here for it.
Love intense fragrances? Discover 4 more of our all-time favourites for men and women.
Do roses ever really go out of fashion? I don’t think so, but it would be fair to say that the note is having somewhat of a moment right now. In 2019, Lancome launched Idole, a beautifully transparent and luminous take on rose, and Issey Miyake gave us L’Eau d’Issey Rose and Rose, which was essentially rose jam in a bottle (yes, it’s as good as it sounds). Because of these big, trend-setting scents, I think we’re going to see more roses in 2020 and I think those roses are going to be on the luminous, sheer and modern side. As a rose lover, this is one prediction I am really hoping comes true.
Want to know more about rose fragrances? We’ve whittled down our 5 favourites here.
#3 Retro Masculines
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of masculine fragrances that follow the ultra-modern, mineral fougere theme. Scents like Aventus by CREED, Sauvage by DIOR and Explorer by Montblanc all possess an airy, mineral ease thanks to the note of ambroxan, and each has modernised the fougere into something crystalline and almost sporty. But I’m going to put my finger in the air and take a guess that in 2020 we will see some really classic style masculines – perhaps some big old, hairy-chested fougeres that channel the likes of Rive Gauche Pour Homme and Kouros, and maybe smoother chested, barbershop classics like Le Male – scents that will counterbalance all of the masculine cleanliness. Let’s see if I’m right!
Another popular note this year was almond – delicious, tasty almond. Almond notes are great because they bring a complex odour profile to a scent that has facets of cherry, nuts and woods. These notes have been put to good use in scents like Elie Saab’s Girl of Now, which boasts a delicious overload of almond, and Gaultier’s La Belle, which turns the note into something rich, powdery and opulent. In 2020 this trend will continue and I think we will see much more almond deliciousness to come.
#5 Simpler Bottles
We are used to many weird and wacky bottles in the world of fragrances, and honestly, I think they will never go away, especially while Moschino are around with their wonderful penchant for kitsch! But over the last year or so, a number of fragrance bottles have opted for simplicity and elegance. Take Idole from Lancome, which has a structural bottle designed by an Architect that is reported to be the thinnest perfume bottle in the world. There was also Gabrielle from CHANEL, which opted for thinner glass rather than thicker to provide a luxury feel. So in 2020, I predict that there will be more simplicity and elegance, and perhaps a few challenges to that thinnest bottle in the world title.