Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Playground Perfume

I think I ought to start charging for perfume shopping consultancy services. The other day, another close relative - a young woman who recently left home to go to Uni - raided my collection in the hope of finding inspiration. "It's time I settled on a signature scent," she said. "But I don't want anything obviously feminine and flowery. And anyway, my friends have already taken all the good florals."

For someone who claims to have been faithful to cheap and cheerful vanilla fragrances for years, she was certainly more than willing to step outside her comfort zone, to the extent that she agreed to try several masculines. "It'd be quite cool to wear a man's perfume," she said, reaching for my bottle of Antaeus.

Less than a quarter of an hour later - clutching vials of the Chanel as well as Comme Des Garçons 2 Man, Timbuktu and Dior Homme Intense - she was quite happy to accept that there is no such thing as a gender-specific smell.

Forget charging for shopping services. Maybe I need to set myself up as a 'fragrance educator' instead. Just think about it: I could travel the length and breadth of the country, popping into primary schools, converting pupils into obsessive little fragrance fanatics. By the time they're 10, I'd have them enjoying oud, castoreum and civet, so that when they're older and ready to wield some buying power, they'll summarily reject every single measly fruity floral on the market and bring about a perfume revolution.

Hmm... I think this is what we call a plan...



  1. That is an excellent plan! We should coordinate our education efforts the world over! My 10-month-old is currently nuzzling my wrist, he seems to appreciate the Tauer he finds there. Power to the scent-savvy children! :)
    Great post, thanks!

  2. I love that feeling you get when you see someone's "ah-haaaa" moment when they realise perfume is not about gender, but pure and utter taste and love :)

  3. May I applaud that young lady's excellent taste! I think it's a great idea to educate your children - I've been brainwashing my own for years. And may I say it - as a fellow female devotee of Dior Homme Intense - the only difference between a 'pour femme' and 'pour homme- is - the label. Wear what you love - whatever it may be! Just beware the fruitchoulis...:)

  4. Now that's what I call a plan!
    Something needs to be done against the tide of pink 'perfumes', that's for sure. Education is the way to go! :-)

  5. Excellent idea Persolaise. If you need a roadie, give me a call! Who knows, next thing it could be perfume groupies ;-)

  6. ~ perfect plan!! ~ I think all of us in fragrance blogland ARE the perfume groupies! :-)

  7. Liam J, I totally agree... and it's also great to see the penny-dropping moment when they realise that something they've considered to be 'natural' is actually little more than marketing-led cultural conditioning.

  8. Olfactoriastravels, keep making that 10-month old smell the good stuff!!

    If kids can be trained to like vegetables, they can be trained to dislike insipid fruity florals.

  9. Tarleisio, I couldn't agree more. What's the French word for skin? Maybe all perfumes should be labelled 'Pour Peau'? Or would it be the plural, 'peaux'? Any French speakers out there?

  10. Tania, I quite agree! I mean, I'm all for an attitude of 'live and let spray pink', but we need more variety and a greater tolerance of smells that are a little out of the ordinary. At the moment, most new mainstream releases are pretty indistinguishable from each other, which is probably the main reason why the tastes of the general public are so unadventurous.

  11. Michael, you're on! We could make t-shirts and badges... We could hit the road in a massive, multi-coloured perfume tour bus, spreading love and oakmoss wherever we go.

  12. Linda, let's all give each other a virtual groupie hug :-)


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