Ibegan the year in duty free, glum at the prospect of leaving family and friends once again just because I have a great job that I love in a city thousands of miles away (that I am slowly claiming as mine with every passing day).
What the brain knows is not necessarily what the body feels. And so, feeling very sorry for myself, I sought to plug the hollow feeling – one I haven’t felt with such intensity in 25 years, since Dad loaded my boarding school suitcase into the car – with “bougie parfumée”. Thank you, Jo Malone.
Seeking pleasure in carefully concocted scent was ingrained in me by my mother. For her, scent is glamour, and the heavier the scent, the more substantial she feels. My first perfume memory of my mother is Chloé; she has always believed in the classics. Catching a whiff of it – a much rarer occurrence as I get older – sends me back to being five or six, and rubbing my wrist on hers to transfer the scent before she walked out of the door. Sometimes, Mum would spray a little in the air and tell me to walk swiftly into the misty cloud. As it settled, every little droplet felt like a tiny anointing.
The thing about perfume, even the mass-produced stuff, is that it’s always perfectly unique; your own body chemistry reacts to and alters the scent as it chooses. If you can’t afford haute couture (and with its prohibitive price tags, who can?), perfume is the next best thing when it comes to exclusivity: the most customisable luxury.
This shopping trip I went fruity: something to fool my body into feeling summery for the dark few months ahead. And wow, I smell like a new peach.
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