If You Want to Smell Like a Rich French Girl, This Perfume Will Do the Job


(Image credit: @JULIESFI)

Whenever I think of France, I think of perfume. And while many people might think this is a stereotypical association, as a beauty editor who has spent a lot of time in France with various perfume brands, I can assure you it's one founded in reason—everyone in France seems to smell great. They waft the distinctive aroma of richness wherever they walk. Even if they don't live a life of riches, they smell like they do. 

Throughout my career, I have made it my mission to hunt down fragrances that hit the French-girl-perfume nail on the head, and the truth is I'm still not entirely sure what makes the perfect blend. I wish I could tell you that every perfume that contains a specific note will guarantee French-girl chic, but I cannot. It is not merely down to aromas of subtle rose and clashing ambers—instead, the perfume must possess an air of laid-back coolness, be attention-grabbing but understated and, most importantly, leave you feeling like a million pounds. And truthfully, there is only one fragrance brand I deem to be a failsafe when it comes to these criteria, and it's Serge Lutens.


(Image credit: @SHANNONLAWLOR)

As a heritage luxury French brand, it makes sense that Serge Lutens creates perfumes fit for the coolest French women around. If you've never heard of Serge Lutens before, let me give you a quick recap, as I believe that knowing some background might help you to understand why the brand's perfumes are so special. Born in France, Lutens himself has lived a life filled with best of French beauty. He has, I suppose, helped define the French beauty standard. Having delved into the professional worlds of photography and makeup by the age of 14, Lutens essentially grew up with fashion and beauty royalty—think the likes of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. In the late '60s, he created Dior's first-ever makeup collection. In the '80s, he helped launch Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido into international markets and make it the global powerhouse it is now. 

In the early '90s, inspired by his time spent in Morocco, Lutens started to create perfumes, eventually launching them under his own brand in 2000. Made in France but inspired by the rich aromas of Morocco, the fragrances marry a blueprint of iconic French chicness and the luxurious notes associated with North Africa. And trust me when I say all Serge Lutens perfumes are wearable, beautiful and unique. Oh, and it's not just me who thinks it. In fact, Kate Moss once shared her love for the brand's cult Fleurs d'Oranger perfume in an interview with Evening Standard.

In short, Serge Lutens fragrances are the sort that make heads turn—the kind that have you sat on the Tube psyching yourself up to break London protocol and ask the stranger next to you what perfume they're wearing. They ooze expense and luxury in the best sort of way and work for everyday wear just as well as they do for evening soirées. True to their French roots, to me, they symbolise the beauty of minimalism. Are they expensive? Yes, but if you buy a Serge Lutens perfume, it will be the only one you ever need. In fact, despite being a beauty editor with nearly 100 perfumes, I often have to remind myself to reach for others—if I could have it my way, I'd wear a Serge scent every day. 

Shop the 9 Best Serge Lutens Perfumes

1. Fleurs d'Oranger Eau de Parfum

2. La Fille de Berlin Eau de Parfum

3. Un Bois Vanille Eau de Parfum

4. Nuit de Cellophane Eau de Parfum

5. Chergui Eau de Parfum

6. Feminite du Bois Eau de Parfum

7. L'Orpheline Eau de Parfum

8. Ambre Sultan Zellige Limited Edition Eau de Parfum

9. L'Eau Serge Lutens Eau de Parfum

Shop More Serge Lutens Hero Products

Up Next: The Chicest French Woman I Know Just Schooled Me on Makeup, And I’m Enlightened

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous.

Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics.

While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best.

When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.