Nasreen Rehmat’s tiny Parfumerie Nasreen in Seattle’s Alexis Hotel (“a jewel box,” her website calls it) is stacked floor to ceiling with perfume boxes and glittering display bottles. Nasreen’s specialty is being able to peg the perfect fragrance for a customer within minutes. For twenty years she has held court in her store, scenting the thousands of visitors who have sidled in and tucked their purses under their arms to avoid knocking a bottle off a nearby shelf.
I called Ms. Rehmat and told her that when I was in college she helped me pick a scent, Dolce & Gabanna, which I wore through my mid-20s. Her voice was animated, with a slight and elegant accent. “Ah!” she said, “You must be very naughty. You are like me. You can wear anything and pull it off.” I’m not sure that “naughty” is the first word people associate with me, but I like the idea.
She said that when she recommends a perfume, she looks at a person, at their clothes and “energy” and takes it from there. “A lawyer, for instance, who is very stuffy and subdued, I would pick something light to lift her up, something with peppermint or watermelon. Perhaps Spring Flowers by Creed, made for Audrey Hepburn, or 1872 for Women by Clive Christian. I wouldn’t choose anything heavy, like Shalimar or Amouage.” She added that someone who is “thin and quiet and mousy needs something soft and airy” to bring her out. Conversely, she said, someone like her, with a lot of energy and substance — she hinted that her size 6 days were behind her — can wear a rich scent, like Clive Christian’s X or Amouage Dia.
And age? “I would never wear something like Island Kiss by Escada — that’s for 16 or 17-year old girls. It is too fruity and juicy for a woman.” Occasions? Fleurissimo for weddings, she says firmly. How about hair color? “Well, of course, redheads are wild…” That would explain the Dolce & Gabanna, I think as I pat my auburn tresses. More information about Parfumerie Nasreen can be found on their website.
Note: image via CouleurParfum.