Perfume Story: September 2012 Archives

September 2012 Archives

Ambiance of Past and Future, Tianjin
Lady Tu Li Li, Art Editor stationed in Tianjin, China

Good Old China Still Lingers in Downtown Tianjin

Words cannot express how much Downtown Tianjin has changed in the past 25 years. In October 1987, it took two to three hours to get from Tianjin North Station to Beijing Station by diesel locomotive. Now, bullet trains make it possible to travel that distance in about 30 minutes, making me amazed at the passage of a quarter-century.
Something that had not changed caught my eyes and made my heart beat faster as I remembered olden times: women protecting their complexions by wearing veils over their faces.
I'd heard back then that they wore veils to ward off yellow sand, but these days, the veils are probably as good for dust stirred up by cars.
Modern high-rises stand clustered together, but Western architecture also stands out and lends an exotic air to the cityscape. Behind luxury hotels is a morning market, open for business now as it was long ago.
Here in this modern city that hearkens back to good old China, I tried to get an interview with Lady Tu Li Li, a perfume enthusiast.

At a park in Tianjin

Morning Market (Tianjin in July 2012)

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Woman warding off yellow dust with veils (Tianjin in October 1987)

The First Whiff of Perfume

I waited for her at the entrance to a famous department store in the bustling streets of Tianjin, and she called and let me know that she would arrive earlier than the planned time. She reminded me of a model with her tall, handsome appearance. The first floor of this department store sold only cosmetics. We walked through to take a look and then got into the interview.
She completed the master's course at an Art University in Tianjin last year and is currently showing her skills as an art editor. She comes from Wuhan in Hubei Province and is quite talented, counting horseback riding, painting and photography among her many interests. She would like to return to the university as a professor in the future and then open her own shop to sell items of a brand she designed herself and deal art and goods that she found all over the world. She is also interested in selling online.
She got her first whiff of perfume about 12 years ago, when she gave perfume to her mother as her birthday present. Her mother,since then,wore it whenever she went out. She knew her mother by the scent of her perfume and loved her pleasant aroma.
In her first year at the university, a friend gave her "Jasmin Noir" from Bvlgari. The soft, pleasant aroma lasted a long time, and it was then that she decided to collect perfume. Salvadore Ferragamo perfumes not only smell good, but the bottles are also pretty and cute. I was glad to hear that she is very particular about designs of those bottles as someone who is involved with bottle production.
She grew fond of a Shiseido perfume she bought at the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, but she hadn't been able to find it anywhere outside the Expo.
It was probably a limited-edition item. And it's a fact that well-known manufacturers sometimes make perfumes that fail to match her preferences.
Even elderly women can't go without foundation in modern China, but it appears that only a small portion of women use makeup and perfume. However, women in their 20s and 30s are starting to get interested in perfume, and she said that even some men in their 20s, though not many, are using perfume.
I felt like it wouldn't be long before the Chinese perfume market outstrips the Japanese.

One part of her private collection of perfumes

Wrapping Up the Interview

She is a member of the Asia Network Beyond Design ( group exhibition that travels around Asian countries. Every year, the group makes the rounds in urban areas in Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan. Their work is free from the limits of nationality and genre.
She likes quiet places and fields where fireflies gather. She wants to go to Venice someday. She says that she likes old town centers like the ones in Nara and Kyoto.
I have had much experience in China and met many people over the years, but I don't remember ever meeting any woman who speaks as gently, frankly and calmly as she.
I am grateful to have met such a fantastic, talented woman with a mysterious aura who hearkens old, enchanting China with her aroma while giving a glimpse of the future of China.

Finally, I asked her about her impression of Japan.

She has a very good impression of Japan. She feels that Japanese people's gentle manner and modesty are wonderful. She thinks that Japanese wear Western clothes with great style, look clean and are serious about their fashion.
Many problems exist between China and Japan, but they are all political. She said that a grassroots circle of friendship is being built on warm feelings between the people of both countries.
(July 2012 at the ISETAN Department Store in Tianjin, China)

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Her hobbies include horseback riding and taking pictures (Outskirts of Beijing)

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