As we know, I tend to make up my own mind about things. Still, I am tremendously influenced by other people, although most of them are dead. Travel and art and culture inform my style most of all. For instance, before I went to Rome I seldom wore cosmetics at all. Now, I'm rarely without lipstick and mascara. A few weeks in Paris, where shellac may dull the portrait but the canvas is immaculate, turned me on to moisturizer. Considering a signature, I've been re-reading Perfumes: The Guide (I went to the delightful launch for the book a few years ago at the Ritz, and it's been my Bible ever since). The long-time scent of my heart, Chanel's Cuir de Russie, is "the purest emanation of luxury ever captured in a bottle." But truth be told, whenever I have one, my hand passes over it as often as not. Right now I lean towards Chanel No. 5, which reminds me of London, as I didn't check a bag on the way over and bought it at the airport, deeming it the best offering and one I least minded the TSA potentially throwing in the trash. So now it's the scent of shimmer and satin, Artie Shaw thrumming softly in the background, fluttering curtains in the spring in my favorite place. The evenings belong to Carnal Flower. Last night I looked up reviews of some other bottles on my vanity in the hopes of discovering a unifying theme; some evocative element I could trace and use as illumination on my path to discovery. As it turns out, Boudicca Wode is "raw opium." Magnolia Nobile is "an unmade bed." Some things never change.