Being able to walk along one of the most popular shopping districts, Oxford Street, London, I get to see the comings and goings of many brands and I have become rather blasé about perfume launches.

I am still traumatised from the days when perfume launches were rather aggressive, in your face, and sometime up your nose. Sadly, companies thought that invading our nostrils till we tasted their perfume was the best way to get our attention. I will never forget the Poison launch because my Proust effect evokes perfume induced headaches and an adrenaline rush compelling me to run. Nowadays, as I scurry away from sales assistants, I mutter something to the effect of “You guys are doing a great job, however I prefer to buy my perfume in duty free.”

Apart from the change in location for buying perfumes, I have also become increasingly alienated by celebrity perfumes, yearning for a perfume with a story bigger and more compelling than extending a celebrity brand. There was something different about the Love Story launch.  The new Chloé fragrance created something to talk about. My conversation with Tara, the young shop assistant outside Debenhams drew me in.The narrative surrounding Love Story lends itself to talking about perfume, love and life. I also have to admit that I was rather intrigued by the perfume and tempted by the offer of winning a trip to Paris.

The bridge of love #DEBSLOVESTORY

All I needed to do to win a trip to Paris was to personalise my padlock on the virtual Pont des Arts Bridge (on an interactive touchscreen) take a selfie and upload it to Twitter. The padlocks were also displayed along the Debenhams window.  It is easy to pop to Paris these days (it only takes 2 hours on the Eurostar) however, I don’t visit as often as I could. So, being able to gather with others and add a love lock to a virtual bridge, appealed to my inner tourist

Why does the  Pont des Arts Bridge have a strong magnetic pull for couples? Maybe, it is the romance  associated with the city, or the stunning view of the Seine? Maybe the bridge just serves as a collective focal point to express the intangible. Who knows? Yet this lover’s hotspot has created its own sub plot in the love story as the sheer weight of the padlocks is causing structural damage. The bridge is simply getting to much love! Talk about love bringing you down. I asked Tara about the possessive quality of the padlock. What kind of love is this? Well, we had to come to the consensus that love is … well, complicated.


The Bottle

Although I have become rather lukewarm to perfume launches over the years, my passion for perfume bottles never waned. A perfume bottle holds the promise of a sensual encounter.For me, perfume bottles are the perfume DNA – encapsulating the unique qualities and memories of the perfume. I sold my perfume bottle collection years ago and nowadays, my Pinterest virtual collection is easy on the eye and the wallet. I desire the Love Story bottle. It is simple, elegant and confident.

London, Paris and Love

Talking with Tara and taking a selfie provided a space to talk about the concept of the perfume and develop a relationship with the identity of the perfume before smelling it. We talked about Paris, London and love – a vast improvement on having a perfume thrust in your face. Tara and I compared notes on both cities and after some discussion agreed that London was a kaleidoscope of colour, attitude and confidence and Paris is the love capital with that certain “Je suis belle et élégante” vibe. Love Story is one way to give the public the best of both worlds. Tara’s insights on love story sounded more like philosophy than a sales pitch. She remarked that:

When one imagines Paris, the exquisite, refined scents that float through the air, is captured in the Love Story perfume; with its rich, top note, lingering  yet elusive aura. Love is the same way, it is the spice of life, it is not easily found, but when you do, you just want to wrap yourself up in it for the rest of your days.

Staying Local

Thankfully, love can be found all over the world, not just in Paris, but in London too. Engaging with the Love Story allowed me to be in Oxford Street, Pont des Art Bridge and on Twitter at the same time. Even if I never visit Paris again, I have created my Love Story. Just a whiff of the perfume and the chapters are open again and I can tap into the more spiritual notions of love.

Participating in an online contest is one way to connect with others and share memories. No matter where you are, express love for your city, family, lover, and most importantly, yourself.

How will you write your love story?

What perfume captures your love story?


About Yewande Okuleye

Cultural Historian|Londoner
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