I offer you a new "Real Life Story" by Virginie Michelet. After taking us to the Guerlain Spa of the Trianon Palace and the thermal baths of Saint Malo, she now tells us of her disappointment at Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal in Paris. Luxury brands have a long way to go in terms of customer relations!
by Virginie Michelet
There was a time I used to love Serge Lutens perfumes, the aesthetic advocacy of its brand and boutique at the Palais Royal in Paris.
It was a musky and dusty summer day. We strolled along the gallery of the Palais Royal that was, fortunately, in the shade. As usual, I was drawn to the Serge Lutens show window with its perfumes. It has this 'je ne sais quoi' that is both historical and mysterious, an attractive display midway between the literary and revolutionary fantasy of the eighteenth century and a vision of an olfactory and visionary beyond. My friend and I entered this kingdom of the senses. The languor of summer gave way to curiosity. Discovering perfumes, smelling them, almost tasting them, we are caught up in a game of bemused seduction, the outcome of which - admittedly - was to buy a perfume. Led by my nose, encouraged by my friend, helped by the assistant accomplice, I walk through forests of Cedars, groves of Myrrh, alleys of Tuberose, lingering to smell the fragrance of Musks and notes of Ginger, losing myself in mazes sprinkled with Vetyver, Violet, Sandalwood, Honey, Rose and Leather.
Smelling so many fragrances eventually made me feel a bit dizzy, but the time caught up with us and it was time to choose.
However, I found it hard to decide. What exactly was I looking for? What smell buried deep in my childhood? 'Santal Blanc' wins by a nose over 'Encens et Lavande'. The ritual of purchase completed, pleasure dissipated and we shook ourselves out of this enchantment. Listless! After taking just a few steps, back in the harsh light of summer, I was seized by a horrible doubt. On my right wrist … I was hit by a sudden realization: I should have chosen 'Encens et Lavande'! That was it, the fragrance, magical and full of meaning, the perfume talisman, the one that would protect me from the aggressions of the day helping me to refocus on my intimacy. "Go and exchange it", said my friend.
I spun around gaily and walked back into the shadows of the Palais Royal and found myself at the door. I turned the handle. In vain. I rang. There was no answer. Suddenly, a figure emerged from the bowels of the earth. "Here she is", I said to myself. Error. Someone else, a stranger, stood in the door that was ajar. She barks, "It is closed". I try to remonstrate, gurgle a few words, profess my desire to exchange my purchase for the coveted one. "It's the special collection, we don't exchange!", in a surly voice. "But ..." "I'm telling you we're closed!". The slamming of the door plunged me into the hell of non-existence. But wait, did I imagine it - the slightly triumphant smile of the shrew? Frustration and anger get the better of me. Quick! A Tweet to signal my cruel disappointment to the world. A rather ridiculous gesture, considering the overwhelming betrayal of which I was a victim. Since then, the worm has worked its way into the apple. I regard even the perfumes that I loved such as Féminité des Bois with suspicion. I have not even opened the package purchased that day.
What was that little phrase from Serge Lutens about luxury? Ah, yes! "Wanting to make luxury is like wanting to be sexy, it's wasted ... or vulgar!"