I am a born again perfume wearer. Before Monday morning I was one of those girls who would change their scent every season. I’d visit the big brands to choose a fragrance for Summer and a fragrance for Winter. I never put much thought into it. I just sprayed and dashed out of the house. But the more time I spend in London (and I think eight years now is enough to make this statement) the more I notice that scent is extremely important and should be as well planned as the outfit you walk out of the house in every morning.
After spending several years closer to people on the Tube than to most of my best friends I can tell you, most definitely, what I like and dislike for fragrances. I made mental notes as I went about my day on what I thought was a beautiful fragrance and what was hideous. I didn’t really ever consider that it might be useful one day. Not until this week, at least.
A few weeks ago I received an email from Ormonde Jayne announcing their new “Perfume Portrait” service launching at Harrods (and also available in the their shop in the Royal Arcade). Of course I had heard of Ormonde Jayne before. The name is legendary…and that is saying quite a lot since it isn’t even that old! The founder doesn’t even look like she is out of her thirties and she already counts Yasmin Le Bon, Elton John, Will Smith, Bryan Ferry, Goldie Hawn and Ashley Jensen as loyal clients.
As I approached the shop, in The Royal Arcade just off Old Bond Street, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was entering a parallel universe. I was taken out of my own world and thrust into one which centred around one’s sense of smell. Nothing could be wrong with the world when you are in the Ormonde Jayne shop. How could there be anything wrong in a world that smells this amazing?
I was greeted by the Queen of the Kingdom, Linda Pilkington. This gorgeous petite woman would change so much for me in a matter of moments. Linda sat me down and asked me all sorts of questions about myself. She wrote notes and checked boxes. The great scent master was working her magic and breaking into my very soul to find the perfume that would match me perfectly. Then came the drawer! Linda had me smell around thirty raw ingredients that were kept in little gold and ceramic jars to get an idea of what would make up my signature scent.
Linda says, “The perception of smell consists not only of the sensation of the aromas themselves, but of the the experiences and emotions associated with them.” As I took in each smell I could feel myself smiling or frowning and Linda was certainly paying attention. There was no hiding my likes and dislikes from the expert.
After we had been through all of the jars of ingredients Linda stepped away and returned with two beautiful bottles of perfume. I’ve always thought you could tell a good perfume from a bad one just from the presentation. I know you can’t judge a scent by its container…call me crazy but I had a good feeling here. I wasn’t disappointed. Linda sprayed one scent on my right arm and the other on my left. We chatted as the scents settled. I was then asked to smell each arm after a minute or two to see what I thought. I loved them both!!! This is a woman that knows exactly what she is doing. She made my scent dreams come true…at the risk of sounding totally cheesy!
I walked away with a scent I could call my own and I found myself walking a little taller and more confidently as I stepped out of the shop. I was even pleased at being made to squeeze into the tube as I could tell several individuals around me were taking deep breaths in from their nostrils.
Oh, and I didn’t mention one of the best parts about the whole process. You have a file started on you in store. So, if you have a birthday or anniversary coming up your loved ones can just step into the store and Linda can help them pick something perfect out for you. She’ll know if your a bath or shower girl. She’ll know if you enjoy your nights with scented candles (as I do and absolutely adore their candles). She’ll even be able to tell your gift giver whether or not your prefer travel sized items or full sized. Is that customer service or what?
I’m a covert. I have a signature scent and I’m not turning back. It’s gorgeous, fresh and all mine! And the greatest part was coming home and having my boyfriend declare, “You smell absolutely amazing.”
(Note: thanks to Nina Saville for the gorgeous pic of Linda!)