My Interview with LaurynX, Femme Perfume Goddess (Part 2)

In between massages and mani-pedis at the spa, the lovely LaurynX and I managed to squeeze in time for the second part of our interview. I pulled out my tape recorder while we relaxed over a leisurely lunch of tomato-basil bisque, grilled salmon, and arugala salad. Did I mention the wine? We had a few glasses, but who’s counting? Since this was a day of indulgence, we ended our meal with decadent chocolate desserts. (Sure, sorbet is “refreshing” but chocolate is almost always better.) Glowing and relaxed from her hot stone massage, LaurynX was eager to get back to our discussion of perfumery. And so, you’ll see, was I.

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SF: What do you wear when you want to seduce a lover? And what fragrances make you weak in the knees?

LX: Shalimar! Masterpiece! I really, really love it, especially in the highest parfum concentration. It just oozes sexy jazz bar and evening candlelight. It’s lemon confection, creamy vanilla, and sultry smoke all wrapped up into one! I also like the dark leather and myrrh-incense of Madame X from Ava Luxe. Fragrances that would make me go weak…well, it’s definitely not Old Spice or Axe. (shudders) I like Davidoff’s Cool Water; I dream to smell Bvlgari Black on a lover. (double swoon!)

SF: I’m glad you mentioned Bvlgari Black since it’s designed “for men and women.” Personally, I have a gender inclusive approach to perfume and cologne. Do you think fragrances have genders?

LX: No, especially since I wear Bvlgari Black. That’s how I know I like it! Perfumistas don’t restrict themselves. They may say one scent is more masculine or feminine due to personal perception, but gender in perfume is purely a marketing thing.

SF: Good to know! By the way, I recently ordered samples of a few perfumes to try—Bvlgari Black because I think it’s sooo sexy on you, and also Gucci Eau de Parfum II and Dior Midnight Poison. I admit it, I’m addicted to florals but I’m trying to expand my horizons a little. So, how did I do with my choices?

LX: Black is a chypre, Gucci II is a fruity-floral (that’s been a very popular category in designer fragrances since the 90s), and the Dior is a floral-oriental …Well, at least you’re trying that chypre! (laughs) I’m just kidding. Being more drawn to one fragrance family or another isn’t bad. I have zero faves from the citrus category. The people who really need to expand their horizons? Those folks who own that one “signature scent.” (You know who you are!) Why? There’s too much out there. Besides, do you want to smell the same on the job and going to a funeral and making love? It may be comforting, but Obsession does not transfer to all environments.

SF: So true! (laughs) What are the basics you think a fragrance newbie should know before going shopping?

LX: Hmm…*do* know that the perfume counter salespersons don’t know anymore about fragrance than you do. They are only there to sell you what came out last week. There is no pressure to buy! You must sit with a fragrance for at least a day. It may be calling your name in the first hour, but after that you could realize it turns sour on you. Don’t wear anything scented (soap, lotion, etc.) when going to test, and don’t test more than about five in a day. You’re nose can’t tell the difference accurately after that. Next, don’t plan to look in just one place, shop around! There are different types of perfumes such as designer, niche, vintage, and exclusive. So some older Diors are found exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue only. Other designer perfumes like Prada and Armani can easily be found at most stores selling perfume. Vintage perfumes are old and/or discontinued loves. Niche means small scale production, with prices ranging from very affordable to outrageous.

SF: Are perfumes connected to emotional or sexual experiences for you? Do they remind you of how you felt during a certain period in your life, for instance? And if so, what’s your favorite scent memory?

LX: I can’t say that I have a favorite scent memory…yet.(winks) My perfume hobby is relatively new. I will say though that Avon fragrances I will always associate with my childhood—I liked Sweet Honesty. Pleasures, White Linen, Beautiful, all by Estee Lauder, remind me of my mother.

SF: Funny, Estee Lauder perfumes remind me of my grandmother! Do you feel more femme wearing certain perfumes?

LX: I do actually have a “Femme Anthem” perfume. That is Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle. It’s reminiscent of old school makeup—you know violet scented face powder and the sweet waxy smell of lipstick. Fracas by Piguet is a potent tuberose floral. It slaps you in the face being feminine and perfumey to the extreme!

SF: Hmm…so I guess you’re saying that you personally have high femme experience of this fragrance, which isn’t the same thing as saying that the perfume itself has one unchanging gender, right?

LX: Correct. Fragrance is all about personal experience. It’s funny ’cause many times in fragrance discussions, a woman will say she’s “butching it up” when she’s wearing say, Bandit (marketed towards women, and considered “dykey”, yes that exact word), and femme-ing it up to wear Insolence. In formal industry speak there is feminine, masculine, and unisex. So do you feel like being an uber-feminine femme or a dandy butch today?

SF: OK, last question. Can fragrance make someone more beautiful?

LX: I think fragrance enhances who you already are or especially how you already feel. It can convey a vibe you want to give off. So if you’ve got on a cologne/perfume that you think smells sexy on you, then you’re more apt to act how you feel—and people pick up on that.

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The Interview’s Over, Now It’s Your Turn!

We want to know: What are your favorite fragrances? Do you have a “Femme Anthem” (or “Butch Anthem”) fragrance? Where do you like to buy your fragrances: department stores, Bath and Body Works, online? Do you swap on MakeupAlley.com? What scents are sexy to you?

You can visit LaurynX at A_Femme_Fluff_Blog

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With Thanks, from Sublimefemme

To LaurynX: Interviewing you was a sublime experience! You’ll always be my favorite Perfumista! xoxo Sf

My Interview with LaurynX, Femme Perfume Goddess (Part 1)

Perfume, in my opinion, isn’t just a beauty essential; it’s therapy in a bottle. My favorites have an incredibly uplifting effect on me—just a spritz does wonders to get my day (or night) started right! I recently put on my beauty reporter hat (a very cute, vintage find) to interview the brilliant and lovely LaurynX, femme perfume goddess and all-around fragrance connoisseur. The interview began in the morning when I picked her up in a town car I hired for the occasion, and continued at my favorite day spa where we experienced that little slice of femme heaven called the day of beauty. (Sigh) What a perfect day!

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Walking towards the Lincoln as the driver pulls up to the curb, LaurynX looks like a girl who has mastered the art of the tease. She’s wearing dark wash skinny jeans, big gold hoop earrings and a gorgeous satin halter that has cascading ruffles at the bust and ties in a bow around her neck. With just a hint of lip gloss and her fierce and curly Afro, she manages to look stylish without seeming like she’s trying too hard. Her effortlessly cool vibe and confident, drag femme attitude is an irresistible combination. After I compliment her style, Lauryn confides to me that she sees herself as the unlikely lovechild of Erykah Badu and Ru Paul. No wonder I adore her!

Sipping our lattes, we start the interview right away, and you—lucky readers—get to come along for the ride!

SF: First, I have to say, you smell A-mazing! (She swoons) What are you wearing?

LX: (Blushes) Thank you! Lately I’ve been craving my spicy-rose-tobacco, so Fifi Chachnil it is! It’s an amazing pin-up fragrance from a French lingerie designer. It’s a modern take on a previous generation.

SF: Oh my God! You must have admirers throwing themselves at your feet because you’re beyond sexy! Seriously, I’m utterly charmed.

LX: Haha, you’re the first to say so! Most folks don’t say anything about my perfumes, unless I ask. Then it’s like I’m fishing for compliments. Completely pointless! But if someone I like admires my scent, then I am beyond flattered.

SF: One of my most vivid and happiest memories as a child is going shopping with my grandmother, who loved perfume. She adored beauty and glamour but had very little money to spend on herself, so perfume was a luxury she couldn’t afford. When we were in a department store, she always stopped at counters to try fragrances and get free samples, and she encouraged me to try perfumes with her. After that, I was hooked. How did you come to love and appreciate perfume?

LX: Ooo, I’m so glad you asked! I was walking in the mall with some friends and spied a tester of Chanel No.5. I remembered it being the famed perfume Marilyn Monroe wore, and since I’d just discovered my Femme ID and heavily associated it with retro glamour…I spritzed some on. …(humph) Well let’s just say I was disappointed. Looking back I see I didn’t know anything about letting it sit on my skin for a while because later that evening I couldn’t stop sniffing my myself, haha! It was love. (smiles)

SF: I love Chanel’s fragrances, too, including the newer ones like Chance. And I find Allure Homme totally irresistible (fanning herself). I think lots of us love fragrance but are overwhelmed by the bizillion perfumes and colognes on the market, with more coming out every day. What’s the best way to choose a perfume or cologne?

LX: Oh gosh (rolls eyes) don’t get me started about the 800 fragrances that came out last year. It’s ridiculous! No one can test that many. The best way to choose a perfume/cologne is to have a strategy. You can try to look for one that captures a “mood”, you can seek out “classics”, you can start with a certain “family” that has descriptions that sounds good to you. Be familiar with scent families. Fifi Chachnil for example is an Oriental. Orientals are known for having amber, resins(myrrh, opoponax, benzoin), and vanilla as bases, very warm, rich, sensual. Many say they are best for evening, though it’s not a rule. Look online for perfume communities and blogs and search for posts about “classics”…and classics can be from today or yesteryear. It simply means well-loved and of good quality. Oh, and don’t take the flowery descriptions in perfume ads at face value.

Tune in tomorrow for the second part of my delicious interview with LaurynX!