If the scads of major label colognes available at your local department store don't appeal to you, then perhaps the new Fragrance Lab at the Selfridges Concept Store in London, which takes your own unique persona and turns it into a scent, will help you find and create your perfect (and totally bespoke) fragrance.
It works like this: At check-in, select your favorite images from a gallery and answer some basic questions about yourself. Based on this, you'll be given one of a number of audio guides that will steer you through a series of spaces where you simply respond to the various stimuli you encounter.
Meanwhile, a master perfumer from fragrance industry leader Givaudan tracks the way you move around the rooms and interact with the different elements you encounter to inform what notes will go into the finished product, and even what the scent's bottle will look like.
Phil Handford, creative director of London-based design studio Campaign, which helped build the space, told Fast Company that the Lab's customers will end up with "a fragrance that, rather than being built up with base notes in the traditional way, is built according to people's character as defined through their thought processes and mindsets."
While the Lab is only a temporary space (open through June), it's likely that we'll actually see more people shopping this way in the future. Chris Sanderson, CEO of The Future Laboratory—another firm that helped build Selfridges Fragrance Lab—said he thinks the future of retail will be more about stores helping customers make decisions than about giving them a wide array of choices.
"Fragrance Lab demonstrates this with the information gleaned about each individual customer, and with the customer's experience as a recipient of a specific, relevant recommendation as opposed to the mass selection offered by the retailer," he said.
Though we have to wonder whether someone with a bad personality will end up with a bad fragrance. And if that's the case, maybe the mall cologne counter is a safer bet.
—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.