Remember the excitement of going back to school? Summer — days of climbing trees, building forts, and coming to the table with clean hands but dirty everything else — was over and now a new year of possibilities lay ahead. Armed with a few carefully selected outfits from the Montgomery Ward catalog and a fresh notebook, I dreamed of the coming year: this year I'd be in the school play, or I'd be a smash in band with my flute, or that cute boy in 8th grade would finally notice me.
Fall is on the doorstep now. I still have dreams about what might happen as the leaves turn color, and my imaginings have become more outlandish. I'll lay out a few choice scenarios here, along with their accompanying perfumes.
Week at an English manor: Let's jump right in with a big one. What could be better than riding horses and sleeping in antique beds in the English countryside? Stella McCartney, Sting, or minor British aristocracy might drop in for dinner, and we'll spend evenings in a room with worn oriental carpets, elaborate moldings, and vases crammed with dahlias. Amazingly, the heating will be good. I'll give Stella a few new ideas for her perfume line between rounds of charades. Fragrance: Annick Goutal Duel and Hermès Bel Ami for day; Guerlain Nahéma and Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chyprée for night.
Fancy weekend in Manhattan: This fantasy is all about fabulous restaurants and the magical replenishing wallet. The wind may be bitter, but dinner at Per Se — or maybe an equally delicious but less showy evening at Prune — will be sweet. I'll scamper around in towering heels without blisters and may even break out some Cyd Charisse moves in Central Park. There will be no tourists except me at the Oak Room, and the martinis will only give a friendly buzz no matter how many you drink. Fragrance: vintage Christian Dior Miss Dior and Lalique Encre Noir for day; Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmin et Cigarette for night.
Après Ski in the French Alps: Actual skiing is exhausting and dangerous. Lounging by a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace swaddled in cashmere with a snifter of brandy while it's snowing outside? Now we're talking. I'm envisioning a sort of early 1960s lodge with a cathedral ceiling and low, mod but comfortable furniture with fake fur pillows tossed everywhere and a massive set of antlers on one wall. Icicles hang outside windows framing magnificent mountain views. Board games optional. Fragrance: Serge Lutens Chêne (for the fire), Hermès Calèche (sassy aldehydic floral with a 1960s vibe, nice for a casual lunch while others are breaking their legs on the slopes), Fabergé Tigress, and Weil Zibeline.
Beach house on the Oregon coast: In this dream, it's just me and my laptop, piles of delicious reading, plenty of firewood, lasagna, and the crashing surf. And my dog. I don't care how hard it rains or how fiercely the wind blows. Fragrance: L'Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses, Tom Ford Oud Wood (these two for moodiness and self indulgence), L'Artisan Parfumeur Havana Vanille, and Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu (these two for comfort).
What happens in your imaginary autumn? What perfume will you wear?