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A Visit to the Guerlain Trunk Show at Neiman Marcus

If you missed the first day of the Guerlain trunk show at Neiman Marcus yesterday, you still have time to zip over to the Galleria for a consultation with National Fragrance and Beauty Director Marie Line Patry. The trunk show continues today, December 9 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

I could not possibly resist the siren call of the event, and was there in the first hour of yesterday's show to sit with Marie, learn more about perfume, and have her "read" my skin and suggest fragrances for me.

You see, Marie has "the gift." If you have ever had trouble picking out perfume, Marie can't relate. She understands skin and scent, and her mission is to match your skin with the perfect scent.

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Marie and her trunk are set up right next to the Guerlain counter on the first floor of Neiman Marcus, so you can't miss her. Her accent and style are impeccably, impossibly French and she is quite darling. She welcomed me into a seat, and gave me a short history of Guerlain. When I told her perfume had become quite a hobby for me over the last year or so, she explained seriously, "Perfume does not perfume you--you perfume the perfume. Understand?" She went on to describe how perfume works as an accord, with base, middle, and top notes and liked the experience of wearing perfume to playing music. When perfume and skin interact, the result is different on everyone, and our skin "plays" the notes of perfume the way a pianist plays musical notes on a piano. Marie explains these fragrances as being "vertical" rather than horizontal, and that the skin lends a depth to each note that allows the perfume to change throughout the day.

I suggest you forgo fragrance if you decide to visit, because Marie will sniff your wrists to get a sense of where your natural scent lies on a scale of sweet to musky; she'll also feel your skin along the inside of your wrist, and then pull a few fragrances she thinks would work for you.

Marie declared me "in between" but tending toward gourmand ("foody") fragrances. On one wrist she dabbed Angelique Noir, and told me this is something that would work well for me as a signature fragrance and then suggested the La petite Robe Noir (little black dress) as a "curl up and read a book" fragrance. She dabbed a little Double Vanilla on my finger to prove to me--a vanilla doubter--that deeper, woodsy vanillas can work on those who don't like super sweet scents. The Angelique Noir was a tiny bit sweet for me, but I could see myself wearing La Petite Robe Noir on a daily basis, at least in fall and winter. The perfumes stayed with me all day, changing as Marie said they would, and in spite of there being three I never felt overwhelmed--not even during or after my afternoon run, when my warm skin intensified the fragrance.

If you can make it to the Galleria this afternoon before 5 p.m. you won't be sorry. Marie is lovely, and this is a special not-to-be-missed Guerlain experience.

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