The Nose of Coty

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Published July 16, 2010

Dawn Goldworm has an unusual nose–in the best possible way. As the in-house evaluator for the venerable Coty Beauty Paris, she has been responsible for designing global fragrances for clients including David and Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, Adidas, and Playboy. Of course, not just anybody can be trusted to capture such essences. As Goldworm explains, her position is the product of a “very acute olfactive memory” and an eight-year career that began with exceptionally high marks on a perfumery school test and a stint at Avon (she started work at Coty six years ago). Her most recent project is designing a scent for Kate Moss, Vintage Muse, which she describes as “feminine yet sensual, light yet enveloping, soft yet deep all at the same time.” But what could that mean, exactly? A lot of things. When asked about her personal favorite smells, Goldworm responded with a diverse list that includes “wet grass, freshly cut lemon, garden basil, country tuberose, right after it rains, the top of a baby’s head, salty seaside, the scent of my lover’s neck, animal notes (textural and raw), musk molecules, ambergris, and vegetable green notes.”

When she’s not creating for Coty, Goldworm is focused on her own bespoke fragrance company, the New York and Paris-based 12.29. Maybe you don’t know it by name, but it’s likely that you’ve smelled their work. According to Goldworm, 12.29 creates “custom scents for retail and corporate environments, public spaces, special events, and private homes. We create a unique ‘scent-identity’ for a brand which is then diffused in the brand environment or as a scented product. It is essentially a scent logo.” Clients have included the Rodarte Spring/Summer 2010 show, the Jason Wu Autumn/Winter 2010 show, Design Miami for Art Basel, and Corto Moltedo flagship in Palais Royal, just to name a few. The process  involves “identifying your brand as a color, as a texture, as a sound, et cetera. We then translate this brand vision into an olfactive structure.” Basically, there’s much more to the world than meets the eye.

Sarah Howard is the editor of Beauty Banter.