On the beauty scene, no-gender collections are challenging the simple classification of “for men” versus “for women” and confirming that consumers want to return to essentials and buy products without reference to the fashion cycles that guide many brands, especially those in fast fashion. The values of activism, engagement and openness are key to this approach, whose codes – genderless creams, unisex fragrances, minimalist bottles and neutral packaging – have fully emerged.
By way of an example, the make-up brand Make caters to women and men alike with its pragmatic, gender-free offering of anti-stress care, anti-pollution care and make-up basics.
Brands are helping desacralize the role of pink and blue in the collective unconscious and on shop shelves by introducing gender-neutral packaging, graphic standards marked by simplicity and explicit language, including on the label.
As for The Origin, its collection is all about integrity and anti-opacity, not to mention affordable prices. These products, presented in bottles of understated design, contain powerful antioxidants, botanical oils and vitamins. The French brand Absolution takes a similar approach. It markets premium unisex skincare products that focus on balancing the skin and consumer lifestyle, rather than gender classification.
Juliette Levy, founder of the Oh My Cream concept store, now has her own namesake skincare brand. Her approach to skincare involves basic gestures that anyone can use.
While many make-up brands (e.g. Beauty Pie) are only starting to capitalize on a fashion trend calling for a wardrobe of essentials, this is something that fragrance brands have been doing for years, ever since Calvin Klein’s 1994 launch of CK One, still a best-seller. The idea is to offer a range of essential scents that don’t refer to a particular gender or period.
Le Bon Parfumeur is on board with this trend, inviting customers to select, combine and superimpose scents from its exclusive range, customizing them to fit their personal style.
In the fragrance business, the blurring of gender boundaries has shaken up the status quo. Ingredients traditionally used in men’s fragrances – cinnamon, tobacco, pepper and vetiver –now feature in fragrances targeting women as well as men, such as Boy Chanel, Chergui by Serge Lutens as well as Diptyque’s colognes Byredo and Vetyverio. All the same, fragrance houses do tend to be conservative when it comes to reinventing their archetypes of femininity. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!