philippe starck made a fragrance for non-binary people

The 67-year-old French designer thinks the gender binary is très passé.

by Hannah Ongley
25 October 2016, 5:45pm

In 1994, Calvin Klein made "unisex" a buzzword with his game-changing one-gender scent CK1. While genderless fragrances had existed before that, none came with the iconic advertising that still feels fresh over 20 years later. French designer Philippe Starck — who has conceived of everything from glassware to the Asahi Beer Hall in Tokyo — wants to create something slightly different for his new venture into fragrances. He has designed a scent for women, a scent for men, and a scent for young people who identify as non-binary. Or as Starck himself put it, "a new generation — the future who are not a man or a woman." 

While announcing the trio of fragrances earlier this year, the designer described "Peau d'Ailleurs" as "strange, undefinable and elusive. An exploration into ourselves, through the elsewhere and the unconscious, its perfume is also an escape into the infinite territory of dematerialization, where the scent of the cosmic void comes into contact with that of a Terra Incognita." The scent is created by Annick Menardo, the woman behind Yves Saint Laurent Body Kouros and Dior Hypnotic Poison. According to Starck, the whole range is about boundary-blurring. His male Peau de Pierre frangrance is not for "the macho man sitting in front of a TV watching football — those men are obsolete — but for a real man in touch with his femininity." The female Peau de Soie is described as a "paradox" of "male/female duos that attract and respond to each other."

Fragrance has long been touted for its feminizing or masculinizing powers by the transgender community, but scents created specifically for non-binary people are definitely more a product of 2016. Then again, the idea of girls smells and boy smells is a modern Western contrivance anyway, so maybe we're just finally getting back to common sense. 


Text Hannah Ongley

Philippe Starck