Perfume bottles are like jewelry: They look just as lovely as they smell (or, as our photography director discovered, they look deceivingly lovely, and the scent itself is actually pretty nasty). I’ve always felt that looking at someone’s perfume display is a bit like looking at her underwear drawer: It’s super-personal, and it instantly tells you about a person. (Brazilian bikini briefs or granny panties? Essential oils or Chanel No. 5?) So I asked a few of the most stylish women I know to show me their perfume displays, and to dish on what they wear, why they love it, and what else they’ve got on their vanities. Keep reading for the scent stories of eight of Philly’s coolest women.
Nicole Paloux, owner of Red Balloon Public Relations: "Un Air de Molinard is my ‘signature scent.’ I first purchased it about five years ago at the Molinard shop in Cours Salaya in Nice. It’s one of my favorite little shops in the world. I never use this Gucci Envy perfume anymore but it's what I wore in high school and college. I keep it around and once in a while I take it out and I’m immediately transported into a fit of nostalgia. Yeah, I should probably stop doing that. The mini Balenciaga Paris and the Balenciaga Florabotanica were gifted to me by the man who designed the bottles himself. Then there are Balmain Ambre Gris and Hollow & Ridge’s CALM essential oil (Blend # 55)."
Dana Bank, owner of TownHome in Rittenhouse:
"For me, it’s all about vanilla—the sexy kind, not the sweet kind. My very favorite scent is Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t stop to ask me what perfume I’m wearing. If I want to change it up I wear L'Artisan Parfumeur Havana Vanille; it has a touch of rum in it. I have been wearing both for a long as I can remember, and I don’t see myself changing them anytime soon."
Jessica Vermeer H. Webster, Philly Mag's photography director: "Half the perfume I buy is for the bottle, and half is for the actual smell. Tom Ford tends to be what I always wear, but who doesn't want Chanel and Hermès bottles on their display case? The green bottle is by Ladurée. I bought it on my honeymoon because I loved the bottle—it looks like a macaron!—and the atomizer. But it actually smells disgusting."
Danuta Mieloch, owner of Rescue Spa in Center City: "I love the classic scent of white musk, and am drawn to Musc Bleu by Il Profumo and Clair Musc by Serge Lutens. I wear Keiko Mecheri's Peau de Peche and Loukhoum scents together. The combination is very feminine and unique."
Nicole Cashman, owner of Cashman & Associates Public Relations: "The photo is of my grandparents' wedding and the framed art was a gift from my husband, Nigel Richards, from the Woodmere Art Musuem in Chestnut Hill."
Charlotte Bonner, co-owner of Trove General Store in Paoli: "Diptyque Amber Body Oil just lays so clean and soft on the skin. I use it more like a lotion than a perfume. CB I Hate Perfume in Just Breathe is a water-based perfume, so it's really light and refreshing. Smells like green tea and cedarwood in a bottle! Geo F. Trumper, Spanish Leather cologne—even though it's actually a men's cologne, its probably my favorite scent. It evokes this Old World feeling, with notes of rose, patchouli, leather and musk slowly revealing themselves throughout the day. Juniper Ridge, Siskyou Cedar Backpackers Cologne is another favorite. It's literally like the bottled version of all things amazing about being outside. I've literally had every one of D.S. Durga's fragrances. They always balance masculine and feminine notes evenly, so you don't feel like you're overdoing it."
Carrie Denny, Philadelphia Wedding editor: "Confession: This isn’t even all of my perfumes. They’re more just the MVPs. I am never without a purse-sized version of Philosophy’s Amazing Grace, which is the most perfect light, clean scent to spritz on before heading to drinks or an event after work. I legit go through dozens of Illume’s boulangerie jar candles of Angel Food, so I use them around my apartment to hold things like cotton balls and Q-tips once it’s all burned, and I am in love with Hand in Hand soap, which is a Philly-based company that donates a bar of soap and one month of clean water for one person to areas in need for every bar purchased. And I pick these vintage green bottles up everywhere I see them."
Kathleen English, owner of Kathleen English Communications: "The tray was a gift from my sister Colleen from Home Grown in Haverford, one of my favorite stores. I never wear my Grandma's perfume, in the center, but I like to keep the bottle on my vanity to remember her. My favorite perfume is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, which is why the bottle is nearly empty!"