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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Sweet Smells Of Springtime

Flowers may be the traditional men's gift to women on March 8, but women often consider these the warm-up to the day's more "serious" presents - perfume being the most popular option.

Perfume, of course, is a perfect accompaniment to flowers - both tickle a woman's delicate sense of smell - and a superior gift-giving alternative on several fronts. It's less likely to induce allergy attacks, for one thing. For another, it's available in a wider and more exotic range of fragrances than the local flower shop can boast. In short, perfume is a stronger and longer-lasting bouquet - a "serious" gift that will keep a woman's life filled with fragrance this spring and summer.

"Forget about the heavy, rich smells that are good for a cold winter," says Vera Ageyeva, the beauty editor of Cosmopolitan magazine's Russian edition. "This spring is a time for light, fruity new fragrances.

Of course, she adds, women have "old" favorites for spring that have been standbys for years - veterans like Kenzo's "Parfume d'Ete" or "L'eau par Kenzo," or "Ocean Dream" from Giorgio. But as a beauty editor, Ageyeva is always advising her readers to try something new and to find their "own" fragrance among the newest offerings.

"Some firms always launch their new perfumes at the beginning of spring," she said. "Escada does it every year; their spring offer this time around is a 'Lily Chic' fragrance. Lanc?me is offering a '2000 et Une Rose' perfume that will sell only in March, so it can be an exclusive gift."

Novaya Zarya, Russia's oldest perfume bottler, is also preparing a special spring surprise for their customers - a small crystal heart pendant containing the fresh aroma of their "Ocean" fragrance ($5 at the Articoli Gallery in GUM).

But Guerlain, the classic French perfume maker, may beat all the competition this season with its new fragrance "Philtre d'Amour," which comes beautifully bottled and ready to intoxicate any sensitive woman.

"Guerlain's earlier 'Aqua Allegoria' series of three fragrances - fresh herbal, orange and vanilla - are also good now, a real breeze of spring and summer smells," Ageyeva adds.

The latest scientific research has also resulted in fragrances that don't merely smell nice but can create positive emotional moods. Such fragrances, Ageyeva says, can be used daily instead of more traditional perfumes.

"As you can guess from the name, 'Aqua Relax' from Bioterm has a relaxing effect," she says. "The special 'Energizing' fragrance from Shiseido, on the contrary, gives a charge of positive mood and energy - so necessary in the springtime."

Articoli Gallery has a wide selection of perfumes and cosmetics at both of its two locations:

? GUM, 1st line, Krasnaya Ploshchad. Open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Metro Teatralnaya, Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 234-0250.

? Okhotny Ryad Trade Complex, 1 Manezhnaya Ploshchad. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Metro Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 737-8328.

Rivoli is another good perfume-shopping option, and has three central locations:

? Okhotny Ryad shopping complex, 1 Manezhnaya Ploshchad. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Metro Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 737-8500.

? Aktyor Gallery, 16/2 Tverskaya Ulitsa, 2nd floor. Open Mondays 11 a.m. through 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Metro Pushkinskaya, Tverskaya. Tel. 935-7775.

? Petrovsky Passage, 10 Ulitsa Petrovka, 1st floor. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Metro Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 292-9005.