Last week I spent a few days in New York City on the way to a friend’s wedding. (By the way, this was the friend for whom I asked your help choosing a wedding fragrance. She ended up wearing Chergui.) What follows is grab bag of mostly perfume-related information I picked up:
Robert, one of only four people in the world trained to present JAR fragrances, can tell you how to make an 8-minute martini that is supposed to be terrific. He also knows where to score a good bottle of scotch.
The Guerlain counter at Bergdorf’s stocks Vega, Philtre d’Amour, Liu, Derby, Plus Que Jamais, Attrape Coeur, and the Arts ets Matières line. Plus, you can try the parfum versions of Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, Mitsouko, and Chamade, among others.
The guy selling Clive Christian fragrances will tell you that Christian designs kitchens and will even show you pictures. The photo I saw looked like Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors with a fridge.
A Clé de Peau lipstick at Bergdorf’s costs $55. That’s enough money to buy Wet ‘N Wild for the entire Osmond family.
They call all-night flights “red eyes” for a reason. Pack Visine.
Despite its Duane Reade-like exterior, the New London Pharmacy at W 23rd and 8th Avenue has a tremendous perfume collection. On my way in to buy Visine, a row of Parfums de Nicolaï testers stopped me in my tracks. They were lined up by the cashier in the place you’d usually find Tic Tacs and batteries. Nearby were testers for Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, The Different Company, Miller Harris, Calypso, and more.
Eddie from Le Labo says that fragrances shouldn’t be layered. They are designed to stand alone and will smell best that way. Eddie is very handsome and worth the trip just to have a look-see. He loved it that I wore Ormonde Woman.
When you buy perfume at Le Labo, they customize the bottle’s label so that it has your name on it. The box it comes in is sealed with a label in French and English. The English portion tells you if you get the perfume in your eyes you might want to watch Titanic and cry it out. The French section skips the Titanic recommendation and warns that smoking the perfume is bad for the bronchial tubes. The perfume also comes with a business card with a personal message scrawled on it. Mine says “Merci Jill”. My name is Angela, go figure.
Le Labo now has a small outpost at Barney’s.
Barney’s has a thoroughly manned perfume counter. Basically, an SA is posted every three feet or so. They will tell you that each of the Frederic Malles is "beautiful" on you even as they calculate their commission. They will also correct your pronunciation of Chergui, embarrassing you that you foolishly thought you were sophisticated enough to say it right the first time.
Having warm, dry feet makes all the difference on a blowing rain, soppy day.
The dogs at Aedes are the friendliest, sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. If you have sandaled, soaked feet from the rain, they will run up and lick your toes.
Don’t expect a big hug and smile when you visit Aedes. That’s what the dogs are for. If you say you like Ormonde Woman they look at you like you can’t even say Chergui properly. But if you are unfazed by your reception, you will get terrific recommendations and a purse full of samples to try at your leisure and order later online, if you want. Plus, they will tell you when a scent just plain doesn’t work on you. Plus plus, the store could easily double as Cher’s boudoir (see picture above).
Don’t try to smell everything, because you will end up with a headache and a dead nose. If you can get samples of what you want to try, follow the guy at Aedes’ advice and wear one a day. Let it develop and take notes.