How many times has a perfume sales associate said that to me in the past 8 years, I’ve lost count! It happened when I asked for Joy edp by Jean Patou, for Y by Yves Saint-Laurent and very recently when I asked for Coriandre by Jean Couturier. The conversation went something like this (albeit in french).
Me : I’m looking for Coriandre by Jean Couturier. A friend told me you might have it.
SA : Yes, I think so. Is it for a gift?
Me : No… it’s for me.
SA : Oh… that perfume is for old ladies! Are you sure?
Me : Madam, I’ve never been more sure about anything in my entire life!
Let me tell you something. Those so-called old ladies knew A LOT about perfume because they knew about seduction! If the perfume didn’t seduce… it probably got tossed to the back of the cupboard. And, if it wasn’t for those old ladies, we wouldn’t have the masterpieces that are still available today. I don’t care about how great the perfumers were… if nobody bought their magical potions, then they wouldn’t have existed for long.
Up until recently, I always wondered why it is that when I go to a perfume counter, I ALWAYS seek out the oldest woman or man at the counter. It’s because nine times out of ten, they know what they are talking about.
And most of them know about the greats because they WORE them! If I wasn’t so shy, I would ask them which perfume they used to seduce their husband… or their lover… or their wife or mistress. Of course today, most perfumes are about smelling clean or fruity… or like a vanilla parfait. You know, I love mangos but do I want to smell like one? I’ll pass. I want to smell like a man… but not just a man. I want to smell like possibilities… and dreams… and hope… and why not, ecstasy! And if an old lady’s perfume conveys that, then I’m not above wearing it, believe me. It’s not about the bottle on my bathroom vanity. It’s about adding luxury and mystery to the long day… everyday… that doesn’t cost a week’s pay.
Sorry for this rant but I’ve been rereading Denyse Beaulieu’s The Perfume Lover and it got me going. Beautiful book, beautiful Denyse!
Have a nice week everyone!
P.S. Buy the book whether you love perfume or not… you will by the end. (French version coming out shortly. I’ll keep you posted.)
Top image : Seduction by Jan Styka (1858-1925)