Gypsy Water, by Byredo
My first signature scent was Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel. It was actually the first perfume I ever wore, a gift from my French foreign exchange student when I was fifteen. I felt an immediate connection with the scent, probably because it was from France. I can’t explain it, though. It was as if the perfume understood me. Anaïs Anaïs became my aura, following me around, preceding me—explaining me to the world. At a time when I struggled to be myself, my signature scent empowered me to be me.
I’ve had a few signature fragrances since then. The floral scent of Romance by Ralph Lauren captured a period in my life full of passion and possibility. I wore Amber by Prada when I worked on Wall Street—a musky, audacious perfume that reflected the need to assert myself in an environment ruled by men. I experimented with a few scents after that, but I didn’t connect to anything the way I had connected to Anaïs Anaïs. Looking back, it was a time of deep questioning and self-excavation; it’s no wonder I couldn’t find a fragrance that spoke to me. Then I started teaching yoga. I stopped wearing perfume altogether because scent can be distracting, even nauseating, in a yoga class. I haven’t worn perfume since.
It wasn’t until my trip to Paris last fall that I realized how much I miss the intimate connection with a signature scent. Paris invites me to indulge in the ritual of getting dressed in the morning. At home, it becomes a practice. No matter how I feel, a great lipstick, a stylish outfit, and the intoxicating smell of my favorite perfume always makes me feel better—it completely changes my state of mind.
When I found Gypsy Water by Byredo on my trip, I just knew I had found it. I wasn’t even looking for a new perfume, so really it found me. Isn’t that how it happens? I fell head over heels in love. Gypsy Water is fresh and clean but with masculine notes of pine and earth. It’s light, but grounded. It feels like me. Even the bottle seems to align with my mood: clean, modern, clear. I look forward to my days off so I can wear it. The smell instantly transports me back to Paris; even just a whiff of Gypsy Water and poof! I’m sitting at Café de Flore, sipping a café crème, tellement contente.
While spraying a little perfume on my wrist might not sound like a practice, it has grounded me in the ritual of self-expression. It has become an unsuspecting tool, connecting me to the person I’ve become. I hope it inspires you to contemplate the seemingly mysterious connection you feel with a particular fragrance. Understanding the relationship with your signature scent might offer insight into a deeper relationship: the one with yourself.