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eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Perfume Palate: A Matter of Taste [Mary Ellen Lapsansky]

I've been happy to work with Mary Ellen Lapsansky for the past year or so on The Fragrance Foundation's Indie Fragrance Committee, and have learned some basic (but increasingly rare in people) truths about her during that time. She is very down-to-earth, she's the picture of grace under fire (though she's too humble to accept that, I think), extremely reasonable and she really listens. She extends kindness and consideration where one may never even expect it. As committee co-chair, perfumer, author and my friend Mandy Aftel once put it to me, "she's a good egg".

I had to smile a little bit as I read Mary Ellen's answers to my questionnaire, because she responded  much in the same way I would. Perhaps she simply expresses herself from the perspective of someone whose life is largely focused on fragrance, as is mine. So without further ado, read on for a glimpse into the preferences of a pro (and a very cool lady).

First of all, please state your name and occupation:

Mary Ellen Lapsansky, Vice President, The Fragrance Foundation

What is your favorite perfume at the moment?

L'Artisan's Mure et Musc- I've rediscovered it!

What is your favorite fragrance house or brand of perfume?

There are so many that I am partial to that I cannot list them all.  Many of them are niche brands but some big houses as well. 

How often do you wear perfume, and under what circumstances do you wear it?

I wear fragrance every day and reapply throughout the day. If I am going out in the evening, I reapply the fragrance worn during the day or switch to another favorite.

Is it important to you to know who the perfumer or creator is behind the perfumes you wear?

Since I am in the fragrance business, I do like to know the perfumer/creator behind the fragrances I wear. But even if I weren't, I'd like to know the creator/artist of the perfumes that capture my attention. It is the same as knowing who wrote my favorite song(s) and painted favorite pieces of art. With fragrance I find that if I like a particular perfumer's creation, I usually like all of his/her other creations.

Do you follow the work of certain perfumers, and if so, who?

I do. Right now I am following the work of Ralf Schweiger of Mane since we just interviewed him for The Fragrance Foundation's website: www.fragrance.org

Think of an iconic perfume bottle design from the past. What is it?

Schiaparelli's Shocking.

How many times a day do you estimate that you think about perfume?

Quite often-- it's hard to give a number. 

Think of the last time you complimented someone on the fragrance they were wearing. Did you ask them what it was, and if so, did they tell you?

I am always curious about what other people are wearing. So when I smell something delicious on someone else I always ask them what they are wearing if I don't recognize it already. They usually do tell me because they are thrilled that someone noticed and appreciates the scent. 

In just three words, describe your ideal fragrance:

An "olfactive love affair".

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