For the friendly girl-next-door type:
Although we take it for granted, there's something to be said about the best things hiding under our noses. And nowhere is this more evident than in choosing a partner for a little casual relationship that can blossom to so much more. Men have been known to have a sweet spot for girls they can be friends with and the male mind seems to be wired so that they enjoy having a little erotic tension with them. The kind of woman for this is often funny, self-depreciating, smarter than you know and she can cuddle up in the couch watching a good round of basketball and those are qualities not to be ridiculed! The fragrances that exude that good-sport vibe are contemporary, well-crafted and with a light-hearted character that does not diminish their loveliness. In that arena the soapy clean ambience of the original Pleasures by Lauder with its spicy pepperiness later on has the touch of familiar, yet cozy. Men appreciate light, clean scents with a subtle hint of woody musk and in such a vein Cruel Gardénia by Guerlain accomplishes the coup with one swept feat if you disregard the completely misleading name. Another one in that abstract style with an indeterminate haze which has an almost universal appeal is Prada's Infusion d'Iris. A little almost edible quality can also be put to good use in the game of effortless seduction, especially when not too foody. The almondy trippy touch of Hypnotic Poison by Dior is popular for a reason and although the advertisements want to present it as a man-eater it is supremely friendly in its eau de toilette incarnation in which it asks to be taken to the back of a car and be nibbled on for hours on end. If you want to combine a little masculine touch along with the nutty edible edge, you can look no further than Vetiver Tonka available at Hermès boutiques. A spicy formula that acts as a kick for further communication could be Sienna Musk by Sonoma Scent Studio. And the familiar touch of usual masculine-fix lavender laced with an unexpected caramelic interlay that will have his taste buds wondering can be found in the very wearable and sexy Kiki by Vero Profumo.
For the mysterious vamp type:
If this type is mostly retained for the silver screen, there is nothing wrong with a little make-believe and a dusting of mysterious fairy-dust on everyday life. Every woman deserves to be able to get out of a pair of gloves Gilda-style once in her life or to dance the flamenco the way Ava Garner did and if this is your fantasy, fragrance offers a special touch to get in the mood ~you yourself, above all, which is the ultimate secret of seduction. For calculating schemes of grandes horizontales you will need a rich, slightly retro fragrance which won't remind him of his grandmother; not because she is old, mind you, but because the intentions behind those numbers are well beyond her capabilities right now I'd guess. Unless she is a vamp herself! (In which case, lucky you, to have a real life parable to watch and learn from!). There is something to be said about the insidious allure of Jean Desprez's Bal a Versailles and the regal air of Narcisse Noir by Caron. A mysterious film noir heroine might wear a couple of strategically placed drops of vintage Cabochard, a leathery chypre with headstrong tendencies. Or Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum , fit for fiery and less sang froid seductresses, who could be swept off their feet themselves by their passions, yet wreck havoc wherever they go. The warm, inviting Tolu by Ormonde Jayne is less outwardly bombastic, but none the less impressive for its animalic tonality which hints at an unbridled sexuality that will surely end up hurting someone.
For the girl-can't-help-it type:
Some women are bursting at the seams and it seems like they exude a naturally endowed charm that encompasses the childlike playfulness with the sensuous appreciation of life that attracts not only men but practically everyone: women, children and animals follow as well. The type is rarer than it seems at first, of course. Prime examples included Marilyn Monroe and it's a delicate balance between appearing exuberant and risking ridicule, so proceed carefully. Lush, carnal fragrances with potent white flowers are by nature generous and in that realm the wonderfully modern, natural smelling tuberose of Carnal Flower by F.Malle is heavy artillery for serious affairs of the heart. The generosity of edible violets flambées on an amber bed hiding inside Guerlain's Attrape Coeur is unsurpassable. If your scheming is envisioned in a tropical surrounding amidst the lush foliage of jasmine vines, then the Venus-flytrap of jasmine fragrances is your best bet: Jasmin Full by Montale is full to the brim! If you're more taken with the jaminess of rich roses, then Liaisons Dangereuses from the By Kilian brand is your surest bet.
Although more restrained and with no discernable big flowers, Rykiel Woman, not for men! sets out to consign its goals from the get-go. A composition that is playful, as warm as a mohair sweater, smart as a whip and giving like a tender mother all at the same time can't but win you over easily. Only to be sought for in the excellent Eau de Parfum concentration; the completely different in smell Eau de Toilette version is nothing to write home about.
For the professional woman eager to let her hair down type:
If it's not bad enough that fragrance is kept to a minimum at the workplace for reasons of courtesy to others, there is also a certain image attached to professional women ~especially very successful ones or ones who hold a position of power. They are deemed detached, a little "cold" and aloof possibly, a little unapproachable. But ever so often, this is just a façade when inside there is a sensuous human being who wants to loosen up and be seen in another way, even if she doesn't have the time to resort to a whole transformation at home before hitting the posh bar for drinks with an eligible bachelor. Her fragrance should have a veneer of polish, while underneath there is a naughtiness that hints at antique rose lace underwear under the strict pantsuit. The pristine good taste of Calèche by Hermès is ladylike on the outset only to hint at an articulate sensuality underneath. The original Armani pour Femme is a chypre so densely rich and opulent it makes you swoon. Iris Poudre by F.Malle has the right touch of airy transparency to make it unobtrusive and the correct dosage of discreet earthiness in the form of luxuriant iris at the background suggesting more intimate ideas. The equivalent of the softest pashmina over bare shoulders, it is a fragrance to transport you above all and make you feel utterly feminine and vulnerable. The bittersweet, discreet vibrato of Douce Amère by Serge Lutens is the perfect accompaniment to an appearence that hides more than it reveals.
For the incurable romantic type:
Perfume is a traditional romantic gift and as such it is laden with lots of associations, memories and reminiscences about relationships past and present and sometimes even subtle innuendo (Remember how Scarlett O'Hara was advised not to accept scented gifts from her many beaux?). There are women who always smile watching Jimmy Steward in "A Wonderful Life" and shed a tear at the final scenes of "An Affair to Remember". Women who like their night gowns trimmed with a little broderie anglaise, their literature peppered with Jane Austen and their fragrances with a touch of floral. Although they're certainly not spoilt for choice, as there are plenty of romantic fragrances around, there are some which are achingly beautiful to match. Chamade by Guerlain is one such composition ~from the name evoking the French phrase "battre la chamade" (inspired by the homonymous drumroll signifying retreat during the Napoleonic Wars) to the lush hyacinth heart with a touch of blackcurrant buds, it is a romantic to end all romantics. The exquisite loveliness of a simple, yet ethereal lily and vanilla mélange is found in Un Lys by Serge Lutens: the last dying breath of an angel in paradise... The embullient rose that is Paris by Yves Saint Laurent has a nostalgic tinge of violets and is so tremendously feminine that it sets the mood by itself.
For the brainy or bohemian type:
If you belong to this subcategory, you're probably reading this article with a healthy dose of scepticism and nodding your head "yeah, yeah, wonder how I would ever fit!". The simple answer is you would not. And most people detest being typecast, so you would never admit to even if you would. But that's perfectly all right, because this is the type of woman that would have to first seduce herself through her choice of perfume and then everyone else. And this is part of the wonderful path of self-discovery, of identity mapping, of evolving of one's sensibilities, tastes and preferences that we call "life". There is no specific fingerprint and the following suggestions are as diverse as the tastes of women belonging in this category. The decadently luxurious iris cloud atop a nappa couch that is Cuir de Russie by Chanel, especially in parfum form, is a natural fit for when you want to exude your most intelligent without foregoing your most beautiful side. The carnal nature of tropical white florals paired with the raw savagery of vetiver as incarnated in Manoumalia by Les Nez is beautifully intriguing. The narcissus and leather mixed with dirt of L'artisan's Fleur de Narcisse as well as the more intimate, naughtier come-hither of L'air de Rien by Miller Harris can be weapons of quirky seduction. And of course if the edgily different and exotic story behind Aziyade by Parfum d'Empire casts a spell on your soul, then the fragrance with its sexy spice interlay atop immortelle might have you feeling like the sexiest harem girl who's reciting Rilke while dancing this side of the Golden Horn.
Pics from top: When Harry met Sally, Body Heat, The Seven Year Itch, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Pride and Prejudice, Mullholland Drive courtesy of community.livejournal/ohnotheydidn't, news.bbc.co.uk, en-easyart.com