I briefly entered another world today, a parallel universe where everything is shiny and subtly lit, where everyone is beautiful and where anything can be yours. At a price. I talking, of course, of Selfridges and Harvey Nicks.
The reason I entered these hallowed halls was because it was Mrs P’s birthday today and as usual I was stuck for what to buy her. I consulted our personal shopper, Miss P, before I left for work and she promised to give it some thought and would call me later.
The conversation went something like this: “Hi dad. Joe Malone,” “Who’s he?” “No, she, Jo Malone who makes perfume,” “Oh,” “Pomegranate Noir,” “Pardon,” “That’s the name of the fragrance,” “And where will I find this stuff, Debenhams? Boots?” “Noooo, try Selfridges,” “Where’s that?” and so on.
As it was chucking it down and had been all morning, I settled for a bit of web research first. From the potted history, I discovered that Jo is the daughter of a beautician and an artist. And that black pomegranates don’t come cheap.
Thunder rumbled outside, the rain poured and the clock crept closer to 3pm and I figured that a soaking was preferable to what Mrs P might have in mind if I arrived home prezzie-less, so I hit the streets armed with a small umbrella borrowed from a colleague.
By the time I reached the ‘rich quarter’ the top half of me was dry, but my trouser legs were flapping wetly. I tried Selfridges first, wandering it’s marbled floors, scanning the various brand names without success. An assistant shook a wistful head saying that they don’t stock Jo Malone and I should try Harvey Nicks nextdoor.
Which I did, wondering exactly which exit might lead me ‘nextdoor’ but I chose correctly. There was a bloke in a pink suit and top hat holding the door open for me. Why they can’t have the automatic ones that do at Morrison’s, I don’t know, and since he was better dressed than my bedraggled self, well it should have been me opening the door for him. But I didn’t, smiling sweetly.
Needless to say, the black pomegranate went down a treat with Mrs P. The point of Jo Malone fragrances/scents is that they are equally as much for men as women. And what you do is buy several sorts and overlay them depending on the time of day.
“Her genius is not weightlessness — it is weight that floats and hovers in the air. It is solidity shot through with light.”
Yeah, right. Actually, her real genius is marketing:
- Create a smell that is equally aimed at men as women — doubles the audience.
- Said fragrances costs twice what you’d normally pay.
- And you have to buy four of them to ‘overlay’.
- And use four squirts instead of one.
Genius, but, sorry, when I’m rushing around in the morning getting ready for work, something that says ‘pour homme’ on the bottle does the cheek-stinging, face-slap trick for me.