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  1. #1

    Default Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    I think outside of Paris, London is 2nd in terms of sheer volume of scent selection. Entering the Holy Temple aka Harrods for the first time is a bewildering and overwhelming experience. Almost religious to scent fanatics like myself. One thing I thought was strange is scents are grouped by design house, not sex. So, you had to be careful what you asked for and picked up. Typical SA exchange: "I'm looking for Opium EdP" "Oh, for your girlfriend?" "No, for me!" She would then hand me the women's EdP. I would then wait for her to wander off and grab the men's. It can be confusing to the average male if you're not familar with some scents and end up trying on a ladies' scent.

    Once you get past the rather annoying SAs, it's a treasure trove at the end of your nose. Creed, Bond, L'Artisan, Hermes, YSL's M7 Fresh/Opium Edp, Dior niche - all in the same room. I must admit it got to be frag overload as I tried so many scents. My nose got tired, and I had to go look at clothes for a break. In the end, I couldn't differentiate anything anymore and left somewhat flustered. The SA's seemed pretty tight with the samples too which kind of annoyed me. I walk into Nordstorm here in Chicago, and they practically load me down with decants/samples without me even buying anything. For a store with a reputation (and prices) like Harrods, I was disappointed.
    "I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."

    Egon Schiele - Self-Potrait


    My classics: Dior Homme EdT, YSL Rive Gauche PH, Helmut Lang Cuiron, L'Occitane Neroli (vintage), Davidoff Zino, L'Occitane Eau des Baux

    http://www.basenotes.net/wardrobe/2976

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    yes they generally are tight with samples in the uk, especially near christmas when many sales are not to die hard frag lovers.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    You have to go somewhere a little smaller, and work the SA a little more - Harrods is not the best place for milking an SA. Selfridges is even worse (like one of the layers of hell in Dante's Inferno).

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    Hey!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder
    yes they generally are tight with samples in the uk, especially near christmas when many sales are not to die hard frag lovers.
    I'd have to agree wholeheartedly. However, the SAs in Harvey Nichols have been great to me with samples. On two separate occasions, I bought a SL fragrance and must have been given 20-25 samples (some duplicates) in total!

    However, I have to admit that they were all male SAs (and gay) - I just talked with them about fragrances, showed that I was knowledgeable and allowed my natural charm to shine through.


    P.S. I would only buy a fragrance in Harrods if it was unobtainable elsewhere. For example, they're currently FT selling for £63 - I decided to pop into Harvey Nichols (literally a block away), while thinking about the price, and they had it for £55. Bought one on the spot!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    I much prefer Fortnum & Mason and Liberty over Harrods & Selfridges or even Harvey Nic which are like most other department stores imo. In F&M, Liberty you can browse and test frags forever and nobody (SAs) will bother you, it's joy to shop there.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    I had some good experiences in selfridges where the s.a. seemed more down to earth and normal and happily provided samples. Liberty I found to be excessively stuffy and gave me no samples with a purchase. They actually made me feel unwelcome.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    On Christmas coming to London - heaven of perfumes!!!!!!

    I am already dreaming about smelling No.88, Messe de minute etc..

    I do not like SA in Selfridge (and in Harrods). They just disturb you with silly questions...can I help, can I help...

    Liberty and especially Fortnum Mason - completely different experience
    Last edited by DreamerII; 22nd December 2006 at 01:54 AM.
    "PLAIN LIVING, HIGH THINKING" O.W., De Profundis
    Real beauty: 1) Frederic Malle 1-20 2) Chanel Egoiste 3) YSL Opium pour Homme edp 4) TF Noir de Noir

    Noses: 1) Jacques Cavallier 2) Maurice Roucel

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by manicboy
    I think outside of Paris, London is 2nd in terms of sheer volume of scent selection.
    Last year, I really enjoyed Harrods - but only during their big July sale - and they did have the biggest selection I came across in London (though one shop down the road came close).

    In Paris I didn't come across any shop with as big a range as Harrods - you had to walk around and find individual shops selling the various ranges to get a bigger overall selection.

    In Rome I saw many shops with big selections, but not as big as Harrods.

    But then, back in my parent's home town in northern Italy, I walked into one moderate sized shop that had a greater range of niche and high end designer scents than I'd seen in London and Paris combined!

    As I looked around, I saw dozens of scents I'd only ever heard about on Basenotes, but which I definitely hadn't seen in London or Paris. However, I was a tad nonplussed when, as I was about to leave the country, my cousin told me there was a bigger and better shop further down the road, that I'd missed.

    And in my travels, I came across similar huge ranged shops in the northern Italian cities of Padova and Vicenza (but not in Venice). I've never seen as many perfumeries concentrated in one place as I saw in Vicenza.
    Renato

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by phibess
    I much prefer Fortnum & Mason and Liberty over Harrods & Selfridges or even Harvey Nic which are like most other department stores imo. In F&M, Liberty you can browse and test frags forever and nobody (SAs) will bother you, it's joy to shop there.
    Yeah, Fortnum & Mason pretty much left me alone. Their floor layout is too spread out though. Too much hand cream and bubble bath potions interspersed between the Creeds & L'Artisans. Definitely geared to women. I did manage to try Tea for Two (reminds me of an amp'd up Bulgari PH, but very interesting indeed) and Clive Christian X-Men & 1872 (nothing special IMHO)

    Now, about Harvey Nichols. I was on the fence as to buying M7 Fresh or Opium Edp. M7 Fresh won out, and I had to help the SA find a box in the drawer. She was completely clueless. She also didn't throw in any samples either.

    If I lived in the England, the only reason to go to department stores is to sample the scents and make the purchase online for a cheaper price. Not to sound like Gwyneth Paltrow, but it seems to me the service you receive is definitely lacking in England. I won't even get into the mandatory 12.5% gratuity charged at some restaurants.
    "I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."

    Egon Schiele - Self-Potrait


    My classics: Dior Homme EdT, YSL Rive Gauche PH, Helmut Lang Cuiron, L'Occitane Neroli (vintage), Davidoff Zino, L'Occitane Eau des Baux

    http://www.basenotes.net/wardrobe/2976

  11. #11

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    I'll second the love for Liberty's - ample browsing, help if you want it, nice building.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Cultural observations on England, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by manicboy
    If I lived in the England, the only reason to go to department stores is to sample the scents and make the purchase online for a cheaper price. Not to sound like Gwyneth Paltrow, but it seems to me the service you receive is definitely lacking in England. I won't even get into the mandatory 12.5% gratuity charged at some restaurants.
    Thats what I and most people I know do.

    For many things, England struggles with service. There are some roses amongst the thorns, Selfridges in Manchester have always been excellent when I have visited, for example. However, on the whole we still lag a long way behind our continental friends.

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