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Monday, February 12, 2007

Sniffapalooza hits Los Angeles...

...Los Angeles does not hit back

Report by Tom

As some of you might have heard, The Karens brought their perfume-scented show on the road to the city of the Angels (and me). Of course, the chance of letting this event occur without me were non-existent, and I will attempt to decipher my notes and with the help of the hand-outs I will try to cover the event for you. Looking at my notes I have to say there's a reason I am not a reporter: I didn't, even with my HORRIBLE memory for names, jot down people, I jotted down stuff. Yes, sadly greed will trump good manners for your dear Pansy every time. If you're reading this, and I met you, please keep this in mind.

The morning started off well, with the threatened rain not coming. Being cheap (but telling people that I was trying to save the environment) I didn't drive to the event, since it was about a mile from my house, I relied on the MTA and shanks mare. I arrived at Fred Segal/ Apothia at about 8:45 and checked in. Into a very stylish group of people indeed. I actually felt a little out of place in my jeans and Pumas amongst the sea of black suits and perfect coifs, but that was just me being me. I grabbed a coffee and some of the excellent fruit salad and listened to the speakers:


First up was Rob Robinson from Apothia, welcoming us, introducing the Karens and introducing us to the manager of Apothia who would be introducing the speakers- he also had a funny bit about how if the speakers rang long, he'd ring a bell, and if they kept going, he'd use one of those airhorns.

Next was Kio Kamoche of Nyakio who quite charmingly told us that she would keep it brief, since she's afraid of horns. She is a first generation American who has a beauty line based on ingredients from her native Kenya. Exfoliation is one of my favorite things to do, and I plan on testing her samples a.s.a.p.

Next was Sarah Horowitz-Thran of Creative Scentualization, giving us the history of her line and passing them around. She mentioned that at the later lunch, we'd be smelling her new scent.

Then came Topper Schroeder of Gendarme (one that I have to revisit soon) giving the history behind his fragrance and the news that there would be a new one as well, and we were going to get a sample of it (I'll review it later).

Following him was the lovely Jan Moran, writer of one of my favorite books Fabulous Fragrances, telling us about her latest project, an interactive database that will be in stores that will allow shoppers to select perfumes they want to
try by notes. Sounds interesting, yes?

Then came Francois Duquesne of l'Artisan who told an extended story of his youth in Grasse and how it led him through marketing and into the world of niche perfume. He also told us of the new Narcisse perfume and the future body line. He seemed a bit nervous and a little rambly, but he was so cute and his accent was so Fwench that quite frankly he could have stood up there reciting the instructions on a jell-o box and I would have just listened, nodding encouragement.

Garry Natton of Through Smoke Creative was next, telling us about his start founding Moturra, its sale to Gap, his time at Gap and Banana Republic, and his new venture

Following him was Silke Steinberg of Tocca who gave us an overview of the company as well as a sniff of their newest: Cleopatra.

Neal Harris was up next with a curious device put out by his company Scent Events. This suitcase-sized doo-hickey can perfume an are in 2 minutes with any scent desired: the outside of the event smelled like Velvet Rope and for the opening of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" they made Hollywood Boulevard smell like chocolate!

Finally Ron Robinson returned to tell us about how Apothia grew out of his love for the finer things and invited us to browse the impressive collection his shop holds.

Needless to say, browse I did, then made a fast pit-stop to drop the swag at home and run back for the lunch at Chocolat, where Sarah Horowitz-Thran gave a very interesting breakdown of one of her fragrances and the promised sniff of her newest ones, Perfect Kiss and Beauty Comes from Within. Having sniffed, I can safely write that Beauty also comes from Ms. Horowitz-Thran.

The charming Victoria of Victoria's Own was kind enough to supply us with a lovely gift bag at the lunch, a sample of the ever-delightful Anne Pliska scent, and a cunning little jar of coffee beans! Clever! Cute!

After lunch, we wandered over to Santa Maria Novello shop on Melrose Place, where the always charming manager Jo Montroy and her staff greeted us, more sniffage ensued of both SMN and Villoresi.

Then off to Chado for High Tea (one of my favorite places in LA) and to meet Miryana Babic of i Profumi di Firenze who regaled with with the long history of the line and let us sniff a bunch of them.

Then Marlen of PerfumeCritic.com had an amusing quiz for us about our perfume habits, cheekily asking after we'd admitted that we did not apply scent in the morning "HOW HARD WAS THAT!?!"

Following him was Adam Eastwood of Scent Bar (inexplicably not on the tour) to talk about the store and website.

Finally we departed on foot to West Hollywood institution Palmetto, where the lovely Ms. Babic showed me practically all of her line personally (and most personably I might add) while I enjoyed a glass of white wine. I finally departed my sniffadventure about 11 hours after it started, having met many charming people, made I think a few new pals (and future co-conspirators- you know who you are!) and sniffed more and better stuff that I had done in a while.

Since I am sure you're all wondering, what did I buy? Nothing. Well, a couple of things at each store but no scent. I was trying to be good, thinking that I have waaaaaay too much cologne. I was walking out with IrisLA who totally disabused me of that, so much that I had to mention "well, I have loads of SAMPLES", which makes my low bottle count understandable.

So today I marched into ScentBar and bought the bottle of L'Antimatiere to make up for it.

31 Comments:

Blogger colombina said...

Ah! I would have loved to have been there...Thank you for the wonderful reportage!

11:40 PM EST  
Anonymous Ina said...

Tom, thank you for such a detailed report! How fun! I've only had a chance to be at the Sniffa once - it's a great way to meet great people. Oh, how I wish to visit Scent Bar. Maybe some day. Congrats on your purchase! ;D

11:49 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Columbina-

I would have loved to have you there. It was a wonderful weekend to feature the city: the sniffa on one day, rain overnight with the sun peeping out by noon to clear out the air and make the views from Mulholland clear from Palm Springs on one side to Catalina on the other.

11:56 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Ina-

If you are ever in LA, you have to go. They are soooo nice.

11:58 PM EST  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Tom, thank you for the report. I kept thinking throughout it, "Cheez, LA isn't all that far away." Maybe I'll get myself on the Sniffapalooza mailing list.

You showed such excellent scent-buying self-discipline, but I kept thinking that all those meals--the lunch, the high tea--must have been cutting into your fragrance budget. :-)

1:24 AM EST  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Talks... yadda ya

Perfume... yadda ya

Tea... yadda ya

What I want to know:
Was there any flirting?
Did you get anyone's number?
Who were the perfumista/o hotties?

4:50 AM EST  
Anonymous newproducts said...

Sounds like soooo much fun! I can't wait for the NY spring sniffa. This'll be my first! Any advice??

5:38 AM EST  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Sounds great! I've been to the NY one several times, and it's always fun, though extremely exhausting. Advice for M: wear comfortable shoes!

6:44 AM EST  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Great Post Tom,
I miss Southern California...I am glad you went for the FB of L'Antimatiere. It'll be nice not to be the only one. I'll have to go to ScentBar when I am back.

Keep up all these great posts..makes the working day go MUCH quicker!
Cheers,
Dennis

7:42 AM EST  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

You were SOOO restrained in your purchases...

I'm impressed !

I would have loved to snuggle and fermudgeh you relentlessly-
Also, to catch up with so many lovely madfolk...

Glad you enjoyed.

7:44 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Oh, that sounds like fun!!! Also laughing because it's the sort of description non-fragrance-fans would read and back away from, slowly, in horror -- you spent *how many* hours sniffing perfume?!?!!?

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Thanks for the report! I think I could fall in love w/ Francois. Like Chaya, I'm incredibly impressed w/ your purchasing restraint. Am glad you got L'Antimatiere - love that one.

8:41 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Maria-

You should have come!

9:45 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Lee- Mind out of gutter, please!

Well, Mssr Duquesne was cute as paint and there were some perfume cuties, but let's face it, when confronted by 20% off Santa Maria Novella, I could be naked riding a power mower down Melrose place and no heads would have turned....

9:47 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Dennis-

You HAVE to go next time you're here. They are just too nice there.

9:48 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Lily-

I second the comfy shoes idea. Also if you can arrange it, it's a good idea to have a place to stash the bags you collect. Good thing about LA is you can stash them in your car.

9:50 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

lily-

Yes, they are a bit exhausting. In addition to comfy shoes, I say take your vitamins, I caught a cold (not necessarily from the sniffa, though)

9:53 AM EST  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Thank you for a fun report! Sounds like you had a great time. :)

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Chaya-

I wish all of you boys and girls could have attended, it would have made it perfect.

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March-

Yes, I had to explain it to a couple of people, even the ones who like perfume.

"Yes, I really spent the whole day doing it"

"Yes, I have mostly smelled all of these before"

"Yes, I really didn't buy any perfume"

"Yes, it really was fun!"

9:56 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Elle-

The thing was, I live right in that neighborhood. I didn't travel 500 miles to do it, all these places are on my way home from work and a 20 minute stroll from my house. If I lived even as far as say, Santa Barbara I would have bought more (since I would own less)

10:01 AM EST  
Blogger Patty said...

this sounds like so much fun! I wish I could have gone *pouting*.

10:39 AM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

Tom, so nice to meet you! Thank you for your kind words. I was good too! I only bought the Sniffa t-shirt. Now if we had gone to the Scent Bar things would have been very different. My only regret was not getting a hotel room for the night. Then us rogues could have met up for breakfast and done some real damage. :O)

3:36 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Patty- I wish you could have as well.

5:07 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Victoria-

I was really nice meeting you as well- it would have been nice to meet up at ScentBar. I saw that nicce couple from Arizona crossing the street when I was looking for parking. Hmmm, wonder what they bought?

5:09 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for letting us be part of your Sniffapalooza day, even though we where absent.
You seem to understand l'Antimaière.

All the best

René Schifferle at LesNez

4:22 AM EST  
Anonymous Karenska said...

Thanks for the great recap of our first LA Sniffapalooza! It all feels like a dream to me now, so I enjoy reading all the blog accounts. I didn't realize you lived so nearby, Tom. BTW, we didn't do a formal stop at The Scent Bar because it duplicated many of the lines available at Apothia, and Ron Robinson made it possible for us to bring Sniffa to LA.

7:14 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Mssr. Schifferle-

Merci! J'adore l'Antimaière!

11:52 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Karen-

Thanks! I figured that was the reason. Apothia is a wonderful store, and I like their house line immensely. Ron is wonderfully charming, isn't he?

11:54 AM EST  
Blogger IrisLA said...

It was so nice to meet you, Tom! I'm glad I disabused you of the notion that you have too many bottles. It's never "too many!"

L'Antimatiere is a great choice.

2:26 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Iris-

Greatto meet you too! Compared to you and (especially) Vistoria, I am a total dilletante, bottle-wise!

I am trying not to let that give me license to spend....

5:07 PM EST  

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