When building a wardrobe, we make sure to stock up on dresses, blouses and shoes, but what about perfume? Many of us grew up with the idea that we must find a trademark scent. How else can you leave a lasting impression?
Shannon Drake of Avery Fine Perfumery in New Orleans encourages customers to break that tradition and incorporate fragrances as part of their wardrobe.
“Perfume is meant to be an accessory. You’re not meant to wear the same fragrance for 30 years. You’re meant to have a wardrobe, and that’s what we want to help you do here,” Drake said.
Building that wardrobe can start at Avery, located at 527 St. Joseph Street in the Warehouse District, where sales associates will help scent-seekers find the perfect perfume to match every taste and occasion.
Unlike department store counters and stores like Sephora, Avery only sells niche and artistic fragrances from around the world. The store avoids brand-name marketing ploys to focus on the fragrances themselves, so what you smell is what you get.
Many of the perfumes start with a particular artist who is the sole “Nose,” or perfumer, of the fragrance.
“Our goal is really to represent the artists who make these fragrances. Most fragrances that you find in a Sephora, Macy’s or Dillard’s are made by Noses at a huge company,” Drake said.
This means that celebrity and designer fragrances are made by a Nose, not the actual celebrity. The perfumes Avery carries are all from artists who wanted to create their own fragrance with their own brand. Such is the case with Icelandic visual artist Andrea Maack, who first started experimenting with scent by using it as a medium in her installations. Her fragrances are Smart, Craft, Sharp, Dark, and Silk. Dark, a floral-based scent, is the most popular, according to Drake.
Other popular fragrances are those belonging to Six Scents, part of a series featuring six different perfumes. In this collection, an artist and a Nose collaborate to develop a scent by exploring a particular theme. The artist writes about the theme, and the Nose then interprets it through a scent.
Drake notes that the smell of perfume differs from person to person. A scent can smell feminine to one person and masculine to another; it all depends on the types of smells you are drawn to. The majority of Avery’s fragrances are unisex, so there is something for everyone.
Aside from selling only niche perfumes, Avery also educates their customers on how to put on, layer and choose a perfume. Drake suggests that the best body parts on which to apply perfume are on the inside cradle of your elbows, behind the knees and around the neck. These locations allow a perfume to open up and breathe. She also advises perfume wearers not to apply perfume on the wrists and then rub them together. This causes friction, burning off the top notes of the perfume faster. One should also refrain from spraying the perfume on their clothes due to the high percentage of essential oils which can stain. Last, Drake recommends inquiring how much essential oil the perfume contains, and to apply it according to that percentage. This will prevent you from smelling as if you’ve bathed in your new perfume.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when searching for your next fragrance. The first is to know the name of the perfume you currently use. This can help the salesperson match you with a perfume that contains similar ingredients. You should also have a good idea of the scents you like. Drake recommends visiting the store while not wearing perfume, so you can try on four to five fragrances without overwhelming your nose.
When it comes to selecting your next perfume, remember that perfume is a piece just as essential as a fall coat. Perfume is an accessory, so change it up and don’t be afraid to explore new ones.
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