Archive for May 19th, 2008

My Perfume Identity

You know, how you spend most of your life trying to figure out what your identity is? All the emotional turmoil and whatnot it causes you? One thing I’ve realized as I hit my 30s is that I don’t really try to fit in any more. I am who I am – take it or leave it, world. There’s always potential for growth, of course, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’ve been doing quite a bit of rediscovering myself lately, now that I’m living in my home country as a grown-up, and part of this process has had to do with perfume or smells in general. It has led me to think on where I stand with perfume now or what my perfume identity is.

First of all, quite literally, where does perfume stand with me? In Latvia, it stands on shelves of but a few chain stores along the lines of Sephora, with a fairly impressive selection of what we call department store fragrances. However, in addition to certain scents launched in Europe first/only, there are also lines you will never see in typical department stores in the U.S., those that are no longer distributed and are forced to spend the rest of their shelf life at various discounters. Such would include Trussardi (Skin, Jeans, the newly launched Inside), Laura Biagiotti (Roma, Laura, the newly launched Donna), Sonia Rykiel (Le Parfum, Woman), pretty much everything by Salvador Dali, Paco Rabanne, S.T. Dupont… Then there’s Chanel No 19, Shiseido Feminite du Bois, Dior Jules – all with no takers, it seems. As for the niche lines, you can pretty much forget it. There’re a couple boutiques featuring the ever so dear to my heart (ha!) L’Artisan Parfumeur, Parfums de Rosine, Etro, Aqua di Parma, Comme des Garcons. I should also mention L’Occitane. That’s about it!

But I do not despair. After 8 years of easily available vibrant assortments and abundant selections of all kinds, I enjoy the sufficiency I find here. I had to part with my perfume collection before the move but did ship a box of samples and decants, hoping they’d come in handy once the craziness is over. I’ve barely touched them in 3 months. Instead, I’ve given my perfume soul to the chosen few: Chanel parfums (as in pure parfum) – Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance, Allure; the newly found love in Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Prada Infusion d’Iris, Calvin Klein Euphoria, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir; the mad love at first sniff in Comme des Garcons 888 (review to follow).

In other words, my perfume identity never stops evolving: from a Guerlain girl I’ve turned into a Chanel girl; formerly shying from mass market releases – to their new appreciation. This identity also is very easily influenced. During my recent visit with a school friend, she raved about her favorite perfume so much that it became my favorite before we even parted our ways (Narciso Rodriguez For Her in EDT). One short elevator ride with an impeccably dressed, stylish, middle-aged woman exuding a most sensuous aroma produced the sheepish, ever-so-annoying question, “Excuse me, what perfume are you wearing?” and a bottle on my dresser that same day (Calvin Klein Euphoria). What can I say? When it comes to perfume, I’m often someone else or that something else I don’t have.

What is your perfume identity like, and how has it changed recently, if at all? Please share.

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27 comments May 19th, 2008




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