The power perfumes of 2024 don't scream, they whisper—these 7 scents know how to command a room

If a Calvin Klein skirt suit was a fragrance...

A white Chanel suit jacket that captures the simplicity of 2024 power perfumes
(Image credit: Future)

Power perfumes have historically been hard-hitters. Classic women's fragrances like Yves Saint Laurent's Opium, Dior's Poison and Guerlain's Shalimar might spring to mind. The most iconic power perfumes make a statement, offer an otherworldly level of sillage, and scream for attention. There is no such thing as 'polite on the nose'—the most iconic power scents barge their way into a room and scream 'heed'.

In 2024, however, such a brazen approach to style, beauty and perfumery has fallen out of favour. We want our perfumes to be quietly beautiful and easy to wear. We don't want our fragrances to wear us, but instead long for our chosen scent to become one with our skin—for the lines between perfume and person to blur entirely. With all of this said, in a world full of skin scents and comforting musks, it would be easy to assume that the concept of a power perfume has fallen by the wayside—but you'd be mistaken for thinking so.

Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington in Calvin Klein 1990 suits

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The premise of power perfumes in the eighties was intertwined with that of power dressing—they were a way for women to claim their space, portray their monetary success and show those around them they meant business. A single spritz of Calvin Klein Obsession was enough to make anyone feel their most fierce and powerful. But in 2024, the very definition of power has changed for a huge number of women—many are wanting to embrace the power of understated brilliance.

The power perfumes of 2024 aren't Armani power shoulders, they are beautifully cut Calvin Klein suits. They are clean-smelling, crisp and fresh, but they are also complex, commanding of attention and ooze expense. As a sign of the times, Christian Dior Parfums released its New Look fragrance at the start of the year, which saw a definitive shift in what the house's iconic 'New Look' means in 2024. The perfumer behind the scent, Francis Kurkdjian, said of it: "To be true to Christian Dior, who wanted his perfumes to provide an olfactory reflection of his couture, [we] aimed to create a perfume that echoes today’s New Look. I created a composition that honours the beauty of an amber fragrance reinvented through original and audacious fresh notes. A classic cut and bold choice of raw materials are reorchestrated, and seemingly deconstructed here, to express a new type of sensuality. I combined raw materials that have multiple fresh, effusive, supple and sensual facets."

This shift is also evident in the newly released and highly anticipated Acne Studios Par Frédéric Malle fragrance, which saw the Swedish fashion house (that has come to define understated luxury throughout the 2020s) collaborate with acclaimed fragrance editor, Frédéric Malle. An undeniably fresh scent that demands attention, it will come to define new power scents and the 'new look' of fragrance. The perfumer, Suzy Le Helley, explained upon launch: "I hope that this fragrance will appeal to a new generation who are less familiar with the great classics and who may be curious to discover a great floral aldehyde, seen through a new prism, a new look." While Creative Director of Acne Studios, Jonny Johansson, said that it resembles "immaculately clean jeans, straight out of the dryer".

In cannot be disputed: the fragrances that make us feel our most powerful in 2024 are ones that tap into our conscious without us even noticing. It is proving the year that power perfumes turn soft—and as a beauty editor who spends every day working with fragrance, I am so here for it. These are the 7 new-gen power scents that could come to define our time.

1. Acne Studios Par Frédéric Malle

Acne Studios par Frédéric Malle

(Image credit: Frédéric Malle)

Acne Studios par Frédéric Malle Eau de Parfum


Key notes: Aldehydes, rose, violet, orange blossom, peach, sandalwood, vanilla, musk
Size: 50ml

I was road testing this fragrance for three months before its launch last week, and the number of compliments I received on it were truly sky-high. For anyone who has asked after my perfume in recent months, know it was this. It is sharp and soapy, bubble-bath-like but not effervescent, and it has a sillage that kicks any other skin scent to the curb. It is void of any creamy warmth, instead providing a hard-hitting dose of pure cleaniness. When I DM'd a fellow beauty editor who had asked after it, I described it as such: "Like a lathered-up bar of Imperial Leather, complete with a nose-tickling zing that smells like money."

2. Christian Dior New Look

Christian Dior New Look

(Image credit: Parfums Christian Dior)

Christian Dior New Look Eau de Parfum


Key notes: Aldehyde, frankincense, amber
Size: 40ml

Through championing those same crystal-clear, clean-smelling aldehyde notes as the ones found in Acne Studios Par Frédéric Malle, Dior's New Look is equally as impactful and fresh. It is the sort of scent that smells crystalline and inviting but becomes one with the person wearing it straight away. For this reason, you'll find people double-taking on it but rarely asking after it—it would feel like an invasion of privacy to ask after something so personal and beautiful.

3. DedCool Xtra Milk

Dedcool Xtra Milk

(Image credit: DedCool)

DedCool Xtra Milk Eau de Parfum


Key notes: Bergamot, white musk, amber
Size: 50ml

In 100 years, I would expect to see this creamy musk in the skin scent section of the 2024 archives—but I'm not sure that gives it enough credit. Yes, it has that skin-like warmth that is very much du jour, but it also possesses a certain je ne sais quoi that makes you feel on top of the world when you're wearing it. It's like a crisp linen shirt that has been washed and pressed with the most luxurious soapy detergent out there.

4. Chanel 1957 Les Exclusifs de Chanel

Fresh perfumes: Chanel 1957

(Image credit: Chanel)

Les Exclusifs de Chanel 1957 Eau de Parfum


Key notes: White musk, bergamot, iris, neroli, cedar
Size: 75ml

Chanel 1957 is what I would consider to be my most leaned-on power scent. Championing musk and iris, it delivers a soft, powdered veil of beauty, but the addition of zingy bergamot and fresh neroli make it sparkle on the skin like a five-carat Harry Winston diamond. It is noticeable, for sure, but intimidatingly expensive-smelling and brimming with main character energy.

5. Escentric Molecules M+ Molecule 01 + Iris

Fresh perfumes: Escentric Molecule 01 Iris

(Image credit: Escentric Molecules)

Escentric Molecules M+ Molecule 01 + Iris Eau de Toilette


Key notes: Iso E Super, iris
Size: 100ml

If a white, clean-cut skirt suit was a fragrance it would be this from Escentric Molecules. It has the clean, linen-like accord that melts into the skin and becomes one with the wearer, but the addition of iris (a powdery soft floral with a potent soapiness) makes it unlike anything else out there. The power in this scent is in its ability to have everyone around you soften in their approach—it hypnotises anyone who crosses its path.

6. Maison Margiela Replica Bubble Bath

Maison Margiela Replica Bubble Bath

(Image credit: Maison Margiela Replica)

Maison Margiela Replica Bubble Bath Eau de Toilette


Key notes: Soap bubbles accord, pink pepper, bergamot, lavender flower, rose super essence, jasmine, coconut milk, white musks, patchouli
Size: 30ml

What is more powerful than a perfume that has the ability to keep you cool, calm and collected all day long? Bubble Bath by Maison Margiela Replica smells just as its name would suggest—like a freshly drawn bath brimming with abundant bubbles. It's not fizzy in the slightest, but is instead soft, soothing, and almost impossibly comforting.

7. Diptyque Orphéon

Diptyque Orpheon

(Image credit: Diptyque)

Diptyque Orphéon Eau de Parfum


Key notes: Tobacco smoke, tonka bean, cedar, juniper berries
Size: 75ml

I will not rest until my preachings of the masterpiece that is Diptyque Orphéon have been spread across the entire globe. Orphéon is a feat. It captures the punchy attitude of the power scents of yesteryear and combines it with the powdered palatability of modern-day favourites. To me, it smells like the powder room of the Moulin Rouge in the 1920s—like swirling cigarette smoke, powdered rouge and glasses of gin and tonic. Not only will one spritz make you feel like you can take on the world, but it will convince everyone else you can, too.

Shannon Lawlor
Executive Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.