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Modern Fragrance – Who’s Who & How They Got There

Modern Fragrance – Who’s Who & How They Got There

People have been trying to make themselves smell sweeter for centuries. From Ancient Egyptians using things like milk and spices to people around the world using flowers, plants, and sweet-scented liquids to fragrance themselves, smelling nice seems to be a universal desire among people and with the association that many of us make between scent and cleanliness, that’s hardly surprising.

The market for fragrance is centuries old, but the last 60 years have seen perfumery blossom as an industry. Advances in technology have seen the longevity of many scents increase, as well as a huge increase in the varieties of scents available. This period has provided us with many of our contemporary favourites.

This is a brief look at some of today’s most popular brands, from their first foray into fragrance to their latest offerings and includes both long-standing industry giants and some newer entrants to the fragrance game.

Paco Rabanne

Iconic fashion house, Paco Rabanne, brought their first fragrance, a scent for women, named Calandre, to the market in 1969. This fragrance proved instantly popular, and it wasn’t long before several more, for both women and men, followed.

Paco Rabanne release their fragrances in families, so that every scent has others that will complement or contrast with them. there are now more than 20 of these family lines within the Paco Rabanne collection, from the demure scents of XS to the fresh and fabulous fragrances of Olympea, released in 2015, this brand truly encompasses 21st century fragrance.

Hugo Boss

The first contemporary fragrance from Hugo Boss came in 1985. Boss No.1, a fragrance for men, was released to huge success and was quickly followed by several more men’s fragrances through the late 80s and early 90s. In 1997, their first women’s fragrance, simply named Hugo Woman, hit the shelves and was another huge success for the Hugo Boss collection.

Today, the brand has over 100 scents to their name and those first efforts stand among them, now considered classic scents and still hugely popular.

Elizabeth Arden

One of the oldest of the contemporary perfume makers, Elizabeth Arden’s first fragrance was released almost 90 years ago, in 1934. In the intervening time, the brand has worked with perfume makers from around the world to produce an array of classic scents, including iconic scents like Green Tea and Sunflowers, and is still producing fragrances today.

Although the Elizabeth Arden brand is mostly aimed at women, they have also released a range of men’s fragrance and skincare products, including their first fragrance for men, Arden Men Sandalwood, which was released in 1956 and is still on sale today. Their latest fragrance is Green Tea Sakura for women, released in 2021.


Rihanna didn’t release her first fragrance until 2011, three quarters of a century after Elizabeth Arden began, but she has still had astounding success, with fantastic reviews almost across the board out upon release.

Working with master perfume makers from a team at Parlux Fragrances, who have also worked with Kanye West, Paris Hilton, Pierre Cardin and Sofia Vergara, that first scent is inspired by her own experiments in combining fragrances to her taste.

In the decade since, Rihanna has released several more scents, including RiRi Crush and the release of her latest scent, Fenty Beauty, is early August 2021.

Britney Spears

Working in conjunction with Elizabeth Arden, Britney Spears released her first fragrance, Curious, in 2004 to instant and consistent success. By the end of the year, it had outsold all of its competitors and was the top seller of 2004.

She released her second fragrance just a year later and although she may have partnered with different teams over time, with over a fragrance a year released since, Britney Spears is still very much in the game today.

The Britney Spears brand has created a further 27 fragrances since, with the latest, Fantasy Intense, released in March this year.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker released her first fragrance, Lovely, in 2005.

This light and floral scent was a massive success and she followed it with a second, Lovely Liquid Satin, just a year later.

Although Sarah Jessica Parker has released several lines of scents and has released around 18 in all, she added again to the Lovely family in 2020, with Lovely You. The lady herself is famous for her personal involvement in these projects, and Lovely is reported to be based on a scent she had made up for her own use.

The perfumes in this brand are recent compared to others but their success and their presence in the market and the media shows they are serious about the art of scent.

Calvin Klein

One of the most popular perfume makers of all time, as well as having some of the most iconic scents of their day to their name, Calvin Klein’s first fragrances, released in the late 70s and early 80s, were not widely successful.

In 1985, however, with the release of Obsession, a women’s fragrance, their name in the world of perfume was firmly made. Obsession sold exceptionally well, and the most expensive marketing campaign Calvin Klein had ever engaged in paid off.


This success was repeated a year later with the release of Obsession for men and since that time, many of the Calvin Klein fragrances have become synonymous with the year of their release.

Their latest fragrance, Defy, is a scent for men, and was released earlier in 2021 to impressive reviews.

Whatever the name on the bottle, there is a dedicated knowledgeable team behind every scent available, and the work that goes into honing and perfecting these fragrances is immense.  From extracting or synthesising scents to mixing and testing them in the right combinations to be palatable, those bottles on your shelf or dressing table are the end-product of a process that usually takes a team of people around 4-6 months.

So next time you spray that perfume on your wrist or neck, think a little thank you to the teams of experts that helped to bring them to you.


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