Canturi Eau de Parfum (Stefano Canturi)

In the art gallery, the changing of the month is a hectic business. The final week of the month brings a flurry of phone calls, work orders, proofreadings and press release mailings; the existing exhibits must come down so that new exhibits can be installed, and the whole thing must be stage-managed with diplomacy and precision.

Installation day! Ladders and carts begin to arrive far ahead of the artists, who are still trying to find parking spaces close to the library. On rare occasions, they all walk into the building together, chatting merrily and helping one another hoist bubble-wrapped artworks into the elevator. Their work begins; often, library patrons gather to watch as canvases are lugged, unwrapped, and wrestled into place. I race from first floor to second floor and back again, delivering wires and hooks and handing out bottles of water, while hastily-sipped styrofoam cups of coffee slowly grow cold on my desk.

At the end of the day, we're all sweaty, dusty, exhausted-- and happy. Everything's arranged beautifully; the galleries look marvelous. For another month, art is alive and well on our walls.

This year, I've made a habit of wearing Canturi EdP on installation days. My little mini-bottle (with its Mondrian-like pattern) came from Suzanne, who also gifted me with the vintage Chanel No. 5 Extrait that I reserve (is it any wonder?) for art receptions. I favor Canturi for gallery work because it surrounds me with a scent so clean and composed, I feel as though I could run a marathon -- no, TWO! -- and go directly to dinner at a fancy restaurant afterwards without the slightest fear of offense. You know that old adage, "Horses sweat, men perspire, but women only glow?" When I'm on the run between two galleries, I may be lit up like a 100-watt bulb-- but the heat I generate in dashing around like a lunatic only seems to increase Canturi's golden, luminous aura. Doubt or panic simply can't break through.

In times of duress, we're always told to go to our "happy place". When the rigors of gallery work begin to overwhelm me, my "happy place" is a fantasy barbershop-- the kind that hosts a ladies' night.

Even as a kid, I preferred the barbershop to the beauty salon, which smelled of burning hair and Aqua Net and rang with endless gossip generated by the gum-crackin', overly-cosmetized hairdressers. Their fitful fussings, distracted clippings, and seeming desire to make up a new hairdo as they went along quite frankly made me fear for my coiffure. I could take no confidence in their art-- whereas I would have trusted the barber with my life. In his shop, quiet reigned; even the sound of a live baseball game broadcast on the shop radio remained at a low and gentle volume. Patrons (my dad included) always seemed relaxed by his ministrations, invariably carried out with the methodical precision of a high priest performing an important religious ritual. The combined scents of hair tonic, shaving soap, hot towels and Pinaud Clubman talcum powder thrilled and appealed to my tomboy sensibilities. Perched in one of the waiting area chairs, I felt as privileged as if I'd been invited to spend an idle afternoon among the gods on Mount Olympus.

No wonder I started shaving my head at age fourteen-- I knew where I preferred to spend my time.

Canturi is a dream come true for me. It's feminine and sweet without doubt, but it seems to contain all the various elements of my favorite "tonsorial parlor": the mellow aromas, the tone of quiet introspection, the sense of total security, of being cared for and set right by an expert hand. This is why I find it absolutely indispensable when the end of the calendar month draws nigh. Any disaster (and art galleries are full of them!) can be faced with calm when I'm wrapped in the boundless tranquility of this fragrance.

Scent Elements: Calabrian bergamot, mandarin leaf, neroli, damask rose, jasmine, Florentine iris, lily-of-the-valley, patchouli, amber, musk, vetiver, Tahitian vanilla, red cedar, oakmoss