Goest Perfumes’ unisex fragrances are designed to work in harmony with the human body
- Who is it? LA-based fragrance house Goest Perfumes, founded by perfumer Jacqueline Steele
- Why do I want it? Mind-bending unisex fragrances created to work in harmony with the human body
- Where can I find it? Online at Goest Perfumes and at selected stores across the US
Who is it? Perfumer Jacqueline Steele made her foray into the world of fragrance somewhat unintentionally. “It still doesn’t make sense to me, I never thought I would do this,” she says. “I come from a family that’s mostly doctors!” Her olfactory journey began when she made a snap decision to swap the neuroscience programme she was admitted onto with a stint studying fragrance in France following the completion of her English Literature college degree. “I’d just discovered that year that there was a fragrance industry, via the world of niche fragrances,” she explains. “Essentially I was an enthusiast and fell really hard and really fast, it all happened at once. I had no awareness of the complexity of the art that was happening in the fragrance industry, all the things that were available, how intellectual they were. It was poetic and really tied to reality.”
Upon her arrival in France, Steele knew her decision had been the right one. “I was interviewing perfumers, visiting labs and it was like someone was speaking to me in a language that I could already speak,” she says. Her continual fascination for the craft and its endless possibilities is what ultimately inspired Goest Perfumes’ unique approach. “I discovered that there were things that could be done in fragrance that aren’t being done. Instead of creating something ‘fruity floral’ or very commercial compositions which use heavy chemicals, I avoid these, and all my compositions are different in structure. I still know that stuff, but I don’t use it. For certain companies, there’s a way a fragrance has to be to sell, like how a hit song has to be to sell, but I don’t have to do that at all, which is liberating.”
The fragrances are created to provide their wearer with much more than just a beautifully scented experience. Steele’s approach taps into mood, instinct and memory to achieve something that smells of a tangible experience, place, time or living thing – one that works in complete harmony with the natural scent of the human body.
Why do I want it? The Goest Perfumes approach is dedicated to the wearer and offers a comprehensive guide on how to select the best fragrance for you and your lifestyle. For example, it takes into consideration your deodorant, laundry detergent and even whether you are a smoker or not.
At present there are six scents to peruse, ranging from the gentle sweetness of Dauphine – inspired by the “pure pleasure” Steele felt when watching Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and which fuses elements of almond, roses and cream with the lightest of musks – to the wholly fascinating Smokers’ Perfume; a ‘half’ fragrance that becomes a complete, pleasantly scented, composition when combined with the smell of cigarette smoke on one’s skin, hair or clothes. “There’s no recipe for coming up with a new concept, it’s a thirst for something to exist that doesn’t, a sense of ideal beauty in some way,” Steele explains. “There are times, places and sensibilities that are part of everybody’s imagination that I’m trying to tap into... There’s no formula, it’s just wanting to capture something and doing it in a way that feels right.”
Although incredibly varied, Steele’s fragrances bear one unwavering similarity – they hold the ability to tap into the sense of smell at its most primal, instinctive level. “We live in such a technological culture. Everything is very visual, everything is read. We think of ourselves as being involved in the world on that level, when we’re using our brains in a way that we know we are,” she says. “Scent is drawing on all the other parts of us and using that mode. There are things that I want to include in fragrances because of that. For example, when you break stems, or cut wood, they give off certain molecules, and a tiny amount of that will enhance the sense of literally being in a forest, because your evolutionary brain knows that smell. That’s the good thing about scent, it’s so democratic. If you have human DNA you know these things, even if you don’t know that you know them. There are ways to put life and joy into a fragrance that’s for everybody. It doesn’t matter what your background is.”