Introducing the Saks Fifth Ave Fragrance Library

I love all things fashion and beauty, but I've never really gotten into perfume — in part because I find the process of shopping for scents daunting. There are just so many options, and yet somehow they all smell like variations on a generic floral theme to me. I normally waltz right past the perfume counters at department stores without thinking twice. But after a visit to the newly launched Saks Fifth Avenue Fragrance Library, I'm on my way to becoming a perfume convert as we speak.

The Fragrance Library is located on the fifth floor of the New York City Saks flagship and is distinct from the perfume counters in the first floor beauty department, offering plenty of scents not previously carried by the store. With the Fragrance Library, Saks hopes to reach a new customer, one who is just like me — youngish, fashionable, and totally confused by shopping for scents. In keeping with the bookish theme, Saks has employed a team of "fragrance librarians" (best job title ever), chicly dressed in black and white and trained to help customers find a spirit scent.

A representative from Saks told me that, like myself, many shoppers are overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a perfume. Fragrance librarians know the entire library selection backwards and forwards and are able to introduce customers to multiple brands in hopes of finding a perfect fit.

This is a fresh and unique way to draw in a new audience for perfumes. The selection is well-curated, with hip designer scents like Daisy by Marc Jacobs and Viktor & Rolf's Bonbon represented alongside such classics as Chanel No. 5 and Happy by Clinique. The space is flawlessly arranged along the library theme — think glasses-wearing mannequins, perfumes shelved beside fake books, and towering ladders propped against the walls.

A bespectacled fragrance librarian assists a customer

After perusing the selection for a bit I eventually settled on a bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier Vaporisateur Eau de Parfum, charmed as much by the clever packaging as the scent itself. As a literature lover I recognize that I'm biased, but I was totally taken in by the theme and its execution. Next time you're searching for a new signature scent, hit up the Fragrance Library. You certainly won't be disappointed.

Images: Erin Mayer