Savoir-faire: Week 20

What’s the scent of success? As a matchmaker, I hear things that other people don’t; very honest things, such as an otherwise lovely match being rejected for wearing too much perfume or aftershave. This may seem like a minor issue, but it can be so off-putting and unnecessary when meeting people for the first time.

My biology teacher at school was an eccentric lady to say the least. She used to tell us: “Don’t wear perfume, girls! Nature has provided you with your own unique smell to attract the opposite sex. They are hormones called pheromones.” Animals smell each other straight away; it’s their first greeting. It does seem crazy that we need a chemical smell in a bottle to attract mates!

I worked as a photographic assistant on a Fortnum & Mason catalogue shoot one summer. A very elegant and attractive lady glided in to oversee the perfume shoot. I asked if she had any good advice about perfume, and she replied: ‘A perfume is meant to be just a hint of a smell; you need very little. I can’t bear oil-based perfumes that are still in the room once the wearer has left. I would advise French perfumes, which tend to be lighter and more discreet.”