I told my Dallas listserv about the traveling Guerlain Trunk show. Guerlain’s National Director of Fragrance and Beauty, Marie Line Patry (pronounced Marie Lynn pa-TREE), is making stops around the country with a specially designed trunk of Guerlain perfume, and she was in Dallas on December 17 and 18.
I expected the experience to be something like the movie French Kiss, where Kevin Klein teaches Meg Ryan about life, love, and good wine. “Smell this… now taste the wine again.” —And I was interested in going for the education. I know not-enough about fragrance, and very little about Guerlain fragrance, and I was curious to learn.
The experience, however, was nothing like what I expected. (Well, Marie Line IS French, so the accent is there.)
It was like seeing a fragrance psychic. We sat down. She said “may I?” and brushed my cheek (to feel my skin). She sniffed my (unfragranced) wrist. And with no further preamble, she pulled three fragrances for me to try.
“Your skin is sweet,” she said. “It will be complimented by spice.”
Marie Line worries when people choose fragrances based on the static smell — the way they smell on a card. She says to experience perfume, you have to try it on your skin. She explained that everything about your skin changes the way the perfume behaves (like whether you’re oily or dry).
“The perfume doesn’t perfume you; you perfume the perfume,” she said.
Like me, Marie Line loves fragrances that change, that tell a story. She called these “vertical” fragrances (because they have a top, heart, and a base) — and Guerlain’s definitely are.
She handed me a square of dark chocolate (“to cleanse your palette,” she said. Okay, twist my arm). She started with Angelique Noire on one wrist. “This is perhaps something you would wear while reading a book, curled up by the fire,” she said. I liked it. She followed with La Petite Robe Noir (“little black dress”) on the other wrist, then Chypre Fatale on the back of one hand (“for when you’re feeling flirtatious,” she said).
I was surprised to really love all three. I consider myself a “difficult” scent person. I’ve sniffed random Guerlain fragrances before (Neiman Marcus Northpark has an especially well stocked counter, and after the launch of Rouge Automatique, I wanted to like the fragrances that shared names with my favorite lipsticks… that didn’t work out so well). I thought maybe Guerlain just wasn’t a brand for me — now I think the few I picked up just happened to be wrong for me.
Not only did I like each of the three scents, but they were harmonious with one another. Wearing them in proximity to one another wasn’t overwhelming or headache-inducing at all. It was an incredible experience, and I will definitely be returning to the counter for Marie Line’s next visit.
Unfortunately, Marie Line’s trunk show is almost at its end.
- On Friday, November 25th, she’ll be at Neiman Marcus Troy (248-643-3300).
- On Tuesday, December 6th, and Wednesday, December 7th, she’ll be back at Neiman Marcus Northpark (214-363-8311).
- On Thursday, December 8th, and Friday, December 9th, she’ll be at Neiman Marcus Houston (713-621-7100).
- On Wednesday, December 14th, and Thursday, December 15th, she’ll be at Saks Boston (617-262-8500).
- And on Friday, December 16th, and Saturday, December 17th, she’ll be at Neiman Marcus King of Prussia (610-962-6200).
While Marie Line doesn’t always travel with her trunk, her skills are inate, and she does tour the country pretty extensively making appearances. If you get the opportunity, I would definitely get a “fragrance reading” from the master.