DK Woman edp: “Mom, you smell like a man…!”

Zaha-Hadid-Designs-Donna-Karan-Perfume-Bottleimage from

A fragrance created for women, by women, to celebrate the inspirational, multifaceted women among us: sensual and nurturing mothers, wives, lovers, and friends. A woman is not one thing or another, but everything all at once. Whatever age or race, women are beautiful, embracing their femininity with conviction. The creamy, key notes of orange blossom, sandalwood, and Haitian vetiver express the softness and strength of a woman, exemplifying heart, soul, and beauty—discover the fragrance inspired by all that a woman is.

Source Sephora via EauMG


A few months earlier, behind closed doors of a PR agency:

Marketing rep 1: Guys, this is the new DK Woman fragrance we have to sell and I think we have our hands full…

Marketing rep 2: (smelling with disbelief)… This smells like aftershave….

Marketing rep 1: I know… Actually the next DK Man will be based on this, with the addition of some caramel and strawberry notes… To give it a more modern feel.

Marketing rep 2: How are we going to sell this to women?

Marketing rep 3: Come on… we managed to sell Prada Candy aka “The Scent of a Brothel” to women of the non-professional persuasion… We can sell anything!

Marketing rep 1: You have a point there and I like your attitude. However this is a bit more difficult… Look at the bottle… It even looks different depending on the angle you look at it… I mean what am I going to have to do? Nail the customer’s feet on the floor of Sephora? Who is the idiot who came up with this bottle?

Marketing rep 2: Zaha Hadid

Marketing rep 3: Gesundheit!

Marketing rep 2: No, this is the name of the person who designed the bottle. She is one of the world’s leading architects.

Marketing rep 3: Don’t you just hate it when Creative gets creative?

(all laughing)

Marketing rep 1: If she is really a good architect she could have gone for something more rectangular, like the lovely DKNY skyscraper bottle

Marketing rep 3: I am afraid this is not an option after 911. Oblong, rectangular shapes do not test very well with our focus groups.

Marketing rep 2: I don’t think it has to do with 911. Functional MRI focus groups have shown it’s plain boredom

Marketing rep 1: Nonsense… Studies have shown that 76.5% of customers feel a lot more comfortable with shapes they are very familiar with.

Marketing rep 3: And smells! After all this the principle behind flankers! Look how well the DK Delicious family is selling! Why couldn’t they give us another apple to sell?

Marketing rep 1: The DK Delicious flanker family has reached a number of 30 flankers and studies show that after this number customers get very confused. We also had an issue with colour permutations… We started to run out of.

Marketing rep 2: I think Donna Karan perfume bottles have a long tradition of having architectural and sculptural references. Starting from the original DK perfume for women with the flame/swan shape and its masculine counterpart with the gear lever/dolphin shape. Chaos and Black  Cashmere also had unconventional bottles that have become collector’s items. Maybe we can build our campaign on this: the return of the house to its legendary heritage in perfumery and esthetics. In fact most of the older Donna Karan feminine scents are now considered totally unisex. Maybe we can use this as a selling point…

Marketing rep 3: Gays! Great idea! Even in the 45+ age group they spend more than 18 to 45 straights!

Marketing rep 2:…. No….. I didn’t mean it that way….. I meant that the house has a very serious history in perfume and with this release it seems like they are getting back to their roots.

Marketing rep 1: No no no… We don’t want to talk about history… History is boring, nobody really gets it and besides, history is only written to be edited later. Everything new is beautiful as the Italian proverb goes. Back to our problem… How do we make a woman buy a perfume that smells so… unfeminine…?

Marketing rep 2: (with irony shining in the eyes) Perhaps we can build a more diverse audience for it, men, children, the elderly…

Marketing rep 3: I think I have a great idea! Mothers! The ultimate guilt trip!

Marketing rep 1: Go on… I think I like the way you think…

Marketing rep 2: (worried) Uh uh…

Marketing rep 3: OK, admittedly it doesn’t smell of candy, fruit, popcorn, caramel or anything you can stuff your face with, so it won’t sell well with 18 to 45 bulimic females and this is a great group because most bulimics are also compulsive shoppers. But we have the rest of the market. What if we target their children and husbands… Mother’s Day! Husbands will like the way it smells! And even if the recipient of the gift won’t like it, they wouldn’t dare say so! Who ever heard of an unthankful  mother?!

Marketing rep 2: (mumbling)… for goodness sake…

Marketing rep 1: Great idea! Man! I like the way you think!

Marketing rep 3: Thanks man!

Marketing rep 1: But I am a woman!

Marketing rep 3: (with awe in his eyes) Yes you are! You are so unconventional I sometimes forget….

Marketing rep 1: (staring passionately in his eyes) Coming from someone as creative as you, I take it as a compliment…

Marketing rep 3: (returning the passionate look) It certainly was meant as such….

Seriously, Woman eau de parfum is a good scent and totally unpredictable. Unpredictable does not mean original of course. Its unpredictability lies in the absence of any notes that are typically found in current feminine perfumes. Straight from the opening it is a mixture of sandalwood and vetiver. The balance of those two elements is so perfectly calibrated that the creaminess of sandalwood neutralises the earthiness of vetiver and vice versa. The end result is a flat, matt grey surface. A scent that is the olfactory equivalent of zen. Absolutely dry and bitter, without topnotes. Just when you are about to classify it as totally linear something starts moving in the distance. The cited orange blossom note adds a smoother, slightly sweeter dimension. It is one of those rare scents that hit the market as feminine but actually lean more masculine. It isn’t just unisex. I would recommend it to any man and not just the ones that are comfortable with wearing feminine scents. The idea that this is a scent created for “nurturing mothers, wives, lovers, and friends” is a little absurd though. All these attributes require a man (or a significant other at best) to define the woman in question. I think this negates the idea of a woman’s fragrance in itself and shows the awkward approach of marketing to the unpredictable decision of Donna Karan to turn back to the origins of their existence in the perfume world. Everything about this release screams “We apologise for dropping the ball. We want to produce interesting, surprising scents in beautiful bottles like we used to do”. Let’s hope that I am not reading too much into this and that it’s not just wishful thinking.

Notes from Parfumo: orange blossom, sandalwood, vetiver

Notes from my nose: orange blossom, sandalwood, vetiver, zen


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. I love this review so much.

  2. He’s back. Fantastic, you are unpredictable yourself!

  3. Πολύ καλό review. Δεν θα μπορούσες να γίνεις πιο σαφής. Θέλω να το μυρίσω! Το μπουκάλι είναι πολύ όμορφο, ιδιαίτερα μέσα στην απόλυτη μονοτονία των υπόλοιπων και αξίζει ακόμα και άδειο.

  4. 😀

    So funny! And yet, thankfully, not snarky thanks to the marvelous description and thoughts you put in at the end.

    Are there really 30 flankers to DK Delicious??!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: