Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Caretakers

Back in December we were holding a big 20% off sale at The Posh Peasant and one of our customers ordered Keiko Mecheri Hanae, which just ran out of stock that day. We contacted her (let’s call her Anne) asking if she wanted to wait for it while a new supply came from the manufacturer or whether she’d like something right away and wanted a different perfume. Anne replied that she had no problem waiting for KM Hanae, because this was the perfect fragrance for her. She told me she’s a pediatric nurse, and she wears Hanae because it’s beautifully soft and comforting and hands-down the most unobtrusive and lovely floral scent she’s ever found to wear at a hospital around infants and children.

This struck me as such a wonderful notion. So many of us talk about wearing perfume solely for “ourselves,” which usually means we still adore something like Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle even though during the first hour anyone around us might get little whiffs of menthol and gasoline! But all of us in an office environment or any sort of work environment where we’re in contact with others need to be mindful of the impact our scent has on others. Now, I’m not interested in getting into the whole debate about banning fragrance in the office (which I think is terrible) but instead looking at the way we smell and how this influences others in our day-to-day lives.

What Anne brought to my attention is that there are professions where one wants to smell nice, but nice in a way that takes those around you into consideration, just as much as your own preference. Anne had found the perfect scent with Keiko Mecheri Hanae. Since this communication with Anne, I think of Hanae as a softly soothing and “caring” smell.

Other fragrances that I’ve come to group into this caretaker category are: Lalique Le Parfum, Miller Harris Couer d’ete and Guerlain L’Instant.

Lalique Le Parfum is the only oriental fragrance from Lalique but it’s a very soft and non-challenging oriental. LLP is mostly a vanillic floral scent with gentle dashes of spices. The list of notes may make you think it’s a big powerful fragrance but it’s not, it’s so comforting and pretty. Sometimes finding a perfume that is just perfectly pretty is a real challenge. Lalique did it with Le Parfum – it’s luminous and I love it.

Miller Harris Coeur d’Ete is another lovely caretaker fragrance. The story goes that Lyn Harris created Coeur d’Ete while she was pregnant; she wanted something that would nurture her senses. Lyn Harris created Coeur d’Ete with some unusual notes, it includes white lilac, cassie & heliotrope, blended with things like chocolate bean, banana and liquorice. Coeur d’Ete is an especially soft and gentle floral and even though it contains chocolate, banana and liquore, the gourmand notes do not overtake the florals.

Guerlain’s L’Instant, perhaps the least loved by true Guerlain fanatics (Guerlainiacs?!), is another caretaker contender. The notes read as seemingly similar to Shalimar but it’s nowhere near as aggressive as Shalimar. L’Instant starts with a citrusy burst but mellows down to a soft honey-vanilla-amber floral, with the floral note bearing the most resemblance to magnolia flowers. L’Instant strikes me as creamy and most notably it’s a gentle, modest scent that I imagine anyone smelling on you would find lovely.

This is just a handful of fragrances that strike me as being soft, gentle and agreeable to the wearer as well as to those around you. Surely there are many others.


Anonymous said...

I love L'Instant. I don't think it gets half the attention it deserves.

Tania said...

Angel Innocence, surprisingly enough, is a scent which I feel has that effect. Also L'Air Du Temps, Coco Mademoiselle, and Sonoma Scent Studio Egyptian Musk and Sienna Musk.

I agree about Couer d'Ete - it's lovely.

Rocketqueen said...

This is a perfect post for me! As I work at MAC, I don't really want people to notice my perfume much. I tend to use scented body creams which just melts into a noticeable, but in no way overwhelming scent. I'll have a look into Hanae.


Dear Abgail,
I love fragrances that perfume us but not overwhelm others. I hate that egocentry way of doing things, including taking a bath of a very strong perfume and killing everyone around.
Thanks for putting a positive perspective on Lalique fragrances...I am finding it hard to love them.
I love Encre Noir as a concept but I would never let my husbbie wear it.
A friend of mine literally almost fainted smelling it. Too dark, too strong.
I will go to the shop again and try to give this brand another shot.
happy 2009