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Perfume Ideas Make Good Scents

January 05, 1986|JUDITH MORGAN | Morgan, of La Jolla, is a nationally known magazine and newspaper writer

I like magazines that smell of paper. I am tired of magazines that smell of perfume. I am especially tired of magazines that kayo the reader with a wallop of Giorgio.

I don't care how many celebrities wear it or why. I don't want my mail to reek of it. Choosing a scent is a personal matter. One fragrance will not suit all Occupants.

I travel with a favorite perfume, or I travel with none at all. To avoid spillage or breakage, I carry the smallest container that will cover me and my trip. I check to make sure the cap is secure. This is no time for sculpted tops that wiggle loose.

Too many travelers pack an economy-size bottle of spray cologne because it is on the bathroom shelf. I've done that and lost half of it to evaporation or curious hotel maids. With a few spare minutes you can funnel your fragrance into a safe, compact bottle.

Before a trip, go grazing by a mall's perfume counters. They always are pushing samples of some fragrances. If you are wedded to one scent, ask for samples the next time you buy perfume, lotion of bath powder. Then stash them away for your travels.

I always buy perfume and eau de toilette when going to, or through, France. That's where it's made, and the prices are right. The size of the bargain varies with the franc-dollar exchange, but there always are specials of the moment. If you've made a note of friends' favorite fragrances, you can load up on gifts.

Discounts for Americans

To save time in Paris, head for one of the grand department stores behind the opera: Le Printemps or Galeries Lafayette. The main store at Printemps has 16,000 square feet devoted to perfumes. As a foreigner from outside a Common Market country, you can get a refund of between 13% and 23% on purchases totaling 800 francs in one store. When you buy in quantity, samples seem to shower upon you.

Thus, perfume prices downtown can be less than at airport duty-free stalls, and the selection of brands and sizes is greater.

New perfumes often debut in Paris. You can be the first on your block to try them. I was in France in 1964 when Yves Saint Laurent was launching his fragrance called Y. I liked it and wore it for years. Somewhere along the way I wafted into the Caleche column and lived there happily until Oscar de la Renta stirred up a concoction that won me over.

There are certain trips, however, when even Oscar stays behind. I never take perfume to the tropics or on safari, to desert wilds, forest camps or river banks, where gnats or bees may congregate.

Perfume is a joy of civilization, a boon to the great indoors.

For down-to-earth adventure travel, promise me anything, but give me Cutter insect repellent.

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