Thierry Mugler Womanity

Clear out your sock drawer. Womanity's moving in.

A couple of years back, Allure Magazine ran a funny "Beauty and the Beat" column where Barneys creative director Simon Doonan did a blind sniff test of celebrity perfumes -- and attempted to guess the famous faces behind the juice. Struggling to match a star to what each scent was "saying", Simon attributed Derek Jeter's Driven Black to Rihanna: "very sensitive and girlie". And he was sure that Kanye West was the spokesmodel for Paris Hilton's Fairy Dust: "this is a very fashion-obsessed male with a certain flamboyance." Hardy har har -- except that I'm having the same difficulty with Thierry Mugler Womanity. Okay, it's called "Womanity", the bottle is filled with pink liquid, and it has a female face on the cap. But Holy Hilary Swank, Batman: dude looks like a lady! Except it is a lady. That smells like a dude. I'm talking sports cologne. For the most part, Womanity wears like a loud, thickly sweet sports spray. My favorite bit is the beginning: it starts off searingly fresh and fascinatingly vegetal, like sliced and salted bell peppers dressed in a squeeze of grapefruit. Pucker up, Missus! Then the fig lets rip, and there's an odd, yet not unappealing, tension between the salty freshness and the increasing sweetness. But just when you're starting to enjoy hanging with this hip new crowd, the door slams open and in trudge the same old kids from high school: Amber, Musk and Woods. Here's where Womanity loses its lilt and the whole composition sags. It becomes common. But like the country mouse who's relieved to see his old friends in a strange new environment, tenderfoot fume-lovers might relish Womanity's familiar drugstore sign-off. I will say that the pewter-look Dungeons & Dragons packaging, with its cuffed cap chained to the Yellow Submarine lady, is impressively elaborate and luxurious. Womanity's sure to be a hit with the bottle collectors.
Womanity is available from,, and Thierry, starting at $28 for 10 ml


  1. I wasn't able to order a sample. It said it wasn't available in the US??

  2. Katie! I had pretty much the same reaction -- great intro, interesting middle, disappointing finish.

    Since most people buy perfumes based on how they smell directly from a spray test at a department store counter, then I think Womanity's tart, fresh opening will move a lot of units. So maybe it's a good thing that the home-stretch is predictably familiar?

    I still haven't made up my mind about the bottle, but it's certainly attention getting.

  3. Hi Katie, loved your review, and I am pretty sure this one will be a scrubber for me (as all TM's). But I am curious about it, the same way I am curious for watching Titanic 2, just to be sure I won't like:)

  4. This is one that I want just for the bottle. The woman on the bottle looks like some sort of superhero or villain. She needs a sword. I'll make her one then she can go about terrorizing my Harajuku Lovers.

  5. Kitty, you're sadly correct - turns out the free samples are only available to select countries, including the UK. I guess they want to launch it before offering samples, so that enamored sniffers can rush right out and buy it. For now, it's available for sale in the US only through the Mugler website.

    Nathan! Yes, I saw that we were "in agreeance" on Womanity's development. Great post of yours, by the way - everyone check it out if you haven't yet:

    The bottle - and name, obviously - struck me as an extension of Mugler's work costuming Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity". It's pop-art mysticism: a little goth, a little Peter Max.

  6. Melissa W - those Harajuku Lovers will not know what hit them!

  7. I somehow managed to finagle a few samples out of the SA at Bloomingdale's the week they got them in, and all I could think after wearing it the first time was that for a pink tinted perfume called Womanity there was really nothing "feminine" about it. It's quite unisex, and while that fig and caviar stage lasts (which was quite a while for me) it was also quite appealing in an unusual way. Coloring the juice pink was just a big mistake. It couldn't smell less pink if it wanted to.

  8. Couldn't have put it better myself, Spike.

  9. Golly - sounds like a rollercoaster ride of a scent! I think I would want to pass on the "tonic sport" phase. At times like these I am not sorry I live in a retail backwater...
    : - )

  10. flitterniffer, I'm wondering if the real value of Womanity is the technology it took to recreate those fig and "caviar" notes? Kind of like how it took the moon launch to bring Teflon and powdered breakfast drink into our lives?

  11. Katie! Omg. About, first, Zumanity, because I hadn't realized that Mugler did the costumes for that show (which I actually went to see when in Vegas back in 2006, and that's two hours of my life I'll never get back, and of course that's why the darn fragrance is called Womanity, because Mugler/Manfred is a hair's breadth away from nutjobiness), and second, about the moon launch bringing us powdered breakfast drink and teflon.

    "Our top scientists developed a rocket to send our bravest pilots to the moon and all I got was Tang!"


  12. I think the bottle is the least womanly thing I've seen in a long while - unless the woman in question is a viking woman. In which case it should appeal to me, I guess.

    The whole concept around this new perfume seems off somehow. A slow day in the Innovatation Department at TM, perhaps?

  13. Junelady, yesssss, I know what you're getting at - which flavor of womankind is Womanity targeting?

  14. From the reviews and early buzz, this just sounds like "WTF" in a bottle. Salty, sweet, woody, fresh, fruity...make up your mind, Mugler! Still, I'm eager to sniff it myself - even if I don't love all of Mugler's concoctions, I admire their audacity and distinctiveness in a market of me-too monotony.

    If nothing else, that bottle is 10 pounds of cool in a 5-pound bag. F'ing hell. I WANT.

  15. Darryl, you had me at "'WTF' in a bottle". I was locked in at "me-too monotony", and then hopelessly ensnared at "10 pounds of cool in a 5 pound bag". "Who is this Darryl?", I wondered, as I clicked through to your fab blog, "Toilet Water and Whale Vomit". Babe, you are singing my song. Everyone, check it out here:

  16. Katie, you are too kind! I feel like I've just been complimented on my outfit during an impromptu run to the corner store. "Oh, this old thing? But...I don't even update it all that much, and I haven't made a proper template for it yet! I have much better blogs, really!" But thank you. It is you who's been singing my song since I first saw your YouTube vids and checked out the blog; nearly everything you say about a fragrance I've smelled makes me nod my head in agreement or recognition, and your vivid descriptors paint a picture of a scent's style and feel much more effectively than a million other reviewers out there relying on cribbed note lists and "Um, this smells pretty and...fresh?" vagueness. You come up with the words and expressions I grasp for when writing my own musings on scents, and you do it on a grand scale! Much kudos.

    All right, tongue bath over, back to work for us both. :)

  17. Thanks for the glow job, Darryl. Yes, back to work, young man! I need to see results!

  18. What kind of womanity Womanity is aimed at? That's such a difficult question that I have been pondering more than I should've. I would perhaps enter: "A Wagnerian type of woman" - you know - with long, yellow theatrical braids and very good lungs - and I am here referring to the loudness of her singing.

    This is the only type of woman (especially) the bottle and your description of the scent I can picture on the adds for the concoction. Equal parts Wagner and Norse mythology.

    Somehow you don't flatter me, Thierry. I want something less accurate, but more in keeping with my own fantasy image of my own womaninty.

    Eventhough the word is plain ol' ugly.

  19. Junelady, there is something of the warrior in the woman depicted on Womanity's chained bottle. "A warrior in chains?" Hmm, maybe that could be a description of many women...

  20. From Molly -

    Hey Katie,

    I tried to type a response to Womanity in the comment box, but since I don't have stuff like live journal, etc it wouldn't allow my comment.

    If you feel like posting it, here goes:

    I'm no novice perfume lover and have tastes that reach far and wide. I've got a nose that appreciates the art of scent blending and I have a passion for some pretty off-the-beaten-path scents.

    I have to disagree with some of your Womanity points......

    I do agree that it's top loaded, but I don't agree that the drydown is the "familiar drugstore sign-off". I think that Womanity, with its fig and caviar notes isn't typical at all. BTW, any reason you never mentioned caviar, since it's a main component?
    I got a sneak bottle of it about a month ago and have been wearing it 3-4 times a week and getting tons of compliments - and compliments from types who know their Frederick Malle from their Kurt Kj-whatshisname.

    Bottom Line: Womanity smells wonderful. It's soft and pretty, but as you say, also savory. However, it's not a simple drugstore concoction of "pretty". I think it's sophisticated, yet easy to wear.
    I will spritz the husband tonight when he gets home and see if I agree it works on men too. If so, we can change the name to Womanity and Menanity.

    Viva la Sniffa Baby!

    BTW, Sorry I didn't get to meet you at the Sniffapalooza event, but I was away that weekend. Hope to meet you sometime at a future event!

  21. Molly, I think the renaming idea to include all genders is a sound one. Someone in my YouTube video comments suggested "Manatee", which also includes the marine mammals and might be a helpful signpost towards the so-called "caviar" aspect of Womanity. Which I didn't bother commenting on, because I didn't pick up on it myself. I'm not a regular caviar eater, but I didn't smell that briny/inky/tart odor I associate with caviar.

    But I did get "salty", all right, and "fig", sure 'nuff, and those fresh, cold, wet bell peppers I keep banging on about. And the general dense, sweet woodiness at the drydown. And that's the bit I found generic, after the fascinating fresh/savory/rich sweetness at the opening.

    Glad Womanity hit the spot for you though. It's always great to expand your repertoire of perfumes into uncharted territory!

  22. Hi Katie,
    Thanks for your reviews! You inspired me explore the shelfs in the perfume store and... I just bought my first Thierry Mugler - "Womanity".. First time I smelled it on my skin made me feel a bit sick.. and still I got this odd feeling of wishing to check again and again how it develops.
    Contradictory yet harmoniously sweet; dull yet greenish; a bit spicy and acid. Natural and synthetic. Makes me travel between the opposites and enjoy the journey.
    Smells like me :)

  23. Agata,

    Love hearing how you've been caught up in the intrigue of perfume, and all the twists and turns it can take on your skin.

  24. Finally tried Womanity this week, expecting a big blast of strange and trippy based on the word of mouth...and what I got was disarmingly pleasant, crisp, and girly-delightful. Salty, drippingly juicy fig, peppered grapefruit, midday sea breeze, frozen margaritas, and smooth musk with a hint of that woolen, slightly leathery amber that's in Alien. Vivid, full-bodied, and beachy, in that Dior Dune way of suggesting the beach without smelling literally of coconuts and suntan lotion. Yes, the bottom is more standard-issue than the top, but I happen to enjoy that particular issue.

    What puzzles me re: Womanity is its love-it-or-hate-it rep. I can't imagine anyone loathing a scent so shamelessly aiming to please, and this one isn't nearly as paradigm-shatteringly offbeat as Angel, nor as spookily pervasive and office-ban-worthy as Alien. To each his/her own, of course, but some of the reviews I've read are a bit mind-boggling. (Sweaty socks and rotting fruit? The worst perfume you've EVER smelled? Am I missing something?)

  25. Darryl, the only thing you might be missing is a sense of wonder at mainstream weirdness - goodness knows your descriptive chops are present in abundance! I agree that Womanity is vivid, but disagree that it's shamelessly eager to please. In the context of its shelf-mates on the ladies' perfume counter, it is distinctive.

  26. Oh, in the context of its shelf-mates, it stands out like a satin bowler in a sea of baseball caps, I agree. But it's still a rather obviously APPEALING smell to me; nothing in it suggests that the Mugler people were trying to have one over on the consumer, the way they buried that hippie's-armpit patchouli in the midst of Angel, for example. "Chocolate and cotton candy, you say? Oh, sure! We'll serve up that chocolate and candy reeeeaaaal nice for ya..." Womanity doesn't hold any similar "gotcha!" quality - no laide to its jolie - and that's why I can't wrap my head around the negative feedback. What's not to like about this stuff? (Watch me spray it absentmindedly next week and totally smell the sweaty socks.)

  27. I loathe Womanity. It could be that I just don't like red fig that much, which has usually smelled like air-freshener to me, or maybe it's just the unholy alliance of that with caviar that is so unappealing.


  28. Darryl, I enjoyed your representation of the sinister Angel bartenders.

    Nora, probably any alliance with caviar in perfume verges on the unholy.

  29. Once upon a time (more than a year ago), I was with my friend at a Lady Gaga concert, we got standing tickets (he was a huge fan, but I wasn't really a big fan, I liked her a little though, and I was dragged along because he had a spare ticket). During the middle of the show, my friend threw his jacket on stage, she picked it up, and announced that she loved it, and she said that both of us were invited backstage! We were over the moon! Anyway, when the show finished, her security guards remembered who we were and whisked us away baskstage with a few other people. When I met her I was shaking and nervous, but something clearly stood out and even though I was SO nervous, I was still able to pick out a small detail - she smelled amazing. So I told her she smelled amazing and she said "Thank you! It's a fragrance called Womanity by my friend Thierry Mugler" she then turned around, walked away, came back, with a bottle AND HANDED IT TO ME! She said "here, take my bottle!" and I did, (and to this day I keep it hidden underneath my floorboards in my bedroom in a shoe box.
    Since then it has been my signature fragrance!

    1. That is an INCREDIBLE story!!!! You had your wits about you enough to recognize Gaga's perfume, and she was spontaneous and lovely enough to give it to you. That makes me like her. (And I hope she returned your friend's jacket!)