Friday, October 26, 2012

My Two Scents

"A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting." - Christian Dior 

Since I was a little girl sitting at my mom's dressing table, I've loved perfume. I love the bottles, the scents and the glamorous, glossy ads. Perfume makes everyday life seem more exotic.

1983 Givenchy III perfume french ad 
Image Source: ADmazing on Photobucket
I feel perfume is one of the few things worth a personal splurge. It may be costly, but it lasts for years and can be enjoyed every single day. I've felt guilty about buying a pair of $15 shoes or even a $4 cup of coffee, but I haven't wasted even one second of guilt over a $180 bottle of perfume.

I've always wanted to be one of those exciting women who wears a different scent for every mood, outfit or occasion. I've tried. I had a small collection of five carefully chosen perfumes, but as much as I dream of varying my perfume choice from day-to-day, I reach for the same one over and over again. Maybe I'm not as daring as I like to think I am, but I prefer to think it's because I know what I like.

My unfailing, go-to favorite is Quelques Fleurs L'Original. All of the qualities I've ever loved in other perfumes come together in this fragrance. It's a complex multi-floral, but it has a powdery softness and an earthy, spicy edge to it. It's sweet, but not too much so.

Quelques Fleurs has a great story behind it too. It was a groundbreaking fragrance when the historic perfume house Houbigant introduced it 1912. As one of the first multi-floral scents with 310 different flowers and 1500 petals per ounce, it paved the way for many other long-lived classics such as Chanel No. 5. The art crowd  of the time wore it, both women and men, including Dadaist artist Hannah Hoch, poet philosopher Rainer Maria Rilke and french actress Sarah Bernhardt.

 Sarah Bernhardt, french actress who wore Quelques Fleurs Houbigant perfume. c. 1844 - 1923. Photograph by Felix Nadar 1865. Image source: Wikipedia

This was not the first time an Houbigant fragrance inspired a following of famous admirers. Going back to its beginnings in 1775, Houbigant's legendary clientele is a Who's Who list of extravagant royalty: Marie Antionette; Napoleon; Josephine; Queen Victoria, and Russian Tsars, to name a few.

And since the relaunch of Quelques Fleurs in 2010, the Houbigant brand continues to attract celebrity fans today. Ivanka Trump, Guiliana Rancic and Dita Von Teese wear Quelques Fleurs. The full story is a lot for one post, but I highly recommend this excellent article by Jo Fairly at MailOnline about the relaunch of Quelques Fleurs and Houbigant's history if you want to learn more.

I've finally come to terms with the fact that I am biased against all other fragrances. I will never be an exciting fragrance-for-every-whim girl so to honor this reality, I've edited my perfume tray to two bottles: Quelques Fleurs, and my husband's favorite on me, Michael Kors.

While I believe perfume is quintessentially personal, I also think that wearing a perfume from time-to-time that your special someone prefers is good relationship manners. I wear Michael Kors for my husband on date nights, but for me, it's Quelques Fleurs every day. 

I'd love to hear from you. What are your favorite fragrances? Are you a match-your-scent-to-your-mood person or a signature-scent gal? Do you wear scents to please someone special in your life or just yourself? Please share!

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