Lila Das Gupta is a former journalist who runs ‘Perfume Lovers London’, a group dedicated to entertaining and informing people about perfume. Their past speakers have included Frederic Malle, Patricia de Nicolai, Mark Buxton, Francis Kurkdjian and Geza Schön, as well as The Candy Perfume Boy and myself.
She now works as a media trainer and communications specialist, working mainly with the Civil Service. Her big ambition is to interview Bertrand Duchaufour, Sophia Grossman, Serge Lutens, Christopher Sheldrake and many more of the lovely perfumers who make our world a brighter place.
A good day starts with… an aromatic cup of coffee brought by my husband.
I’d never leave the house without… khol pencil on my eyes.
I always feel good when… I smell good.
My favorite thing in the world is… my family.
The next thing I want to buy is… Coromandel (Chanel). I have a box where I squirrel away money for fripperies, it takes a while to fill.
The place I always come back to is… Santiago de Compostela where I was at Convent school. It’s an old pilgrimage route and nowadays full of people clutching their ‘Lonely Planet’ guide book, who’ve done ‘El Camino’. When I was young it was a small, sleepy gothic town. We always have octopus with paprika when we go.
My personal style is… pared down and simple, more so as I get older. I wear bright dresses for events so that people can see me, the rest of the time I’m partial to jeans and a good quality grey sweater. My daughter’s godmother gave her a great piece of advice: when in doubt – always try to look like an off-duty ballerina.
My favorite perfume… happens to be whatever I’m wearing on the day. Today it was Kinski (by Geza Schoen) that jumped out of the cupboard. Geza is usually a minimalist, but this is modern baroque. I still marvel at how good it is every time I take it out of the box.
When I travel I always take… a bottle of Infusion d’Iris (Prada) with me. As well as being one of my ‘go to’ perfumes – if you don’t like the smell of a room, it’s marvelous for neutralizing it.
To relax I need… peaceful conditions – I hate noisy or crowded places.
I like to gift people with…things that are beautiful and have a function, otherwise it’s just stuff.
When I have a bad day… I try to hold the ship steady because the storm always passes. In periods of self-doubt I dust down my copy of ‘The Power of Optimism’ (Alan Loy McGinnis). It’s a good tool to help you out of the mire.
I find my inspiration… In people (I always keep a notebook on me to jot down good ideas or recommendations ), Books (I love Amazon reviews and recommendations as pointers), TED talks, magazines, the radio – great ideas are everywhere.
Something I would never want to miss… is the chance to do a course – learning new things is one of the great pleasures in life and always ends up being of use.
My last mistake was… forgetting that I’m not superwoman. Stress comes about when you juggle more balls than you are really comfortable with.
In my fridge there is always… Feta cheese, red peppers, olives, green beans, lettuce, anchovies. If anyone turns up I can make Salad Niçoise or Greek Salad at a moment’s notice.
On my nightstand I keep… Safran Troublant (L’Artisan Parfumeur), I spray some on the pillow, which has a soporific effect.
The perfect weekend starts with… all the day’s newspapers spread out on the bed, my other half to read them with, and a large pot of coffee.
My role model is… Eleanor Roosevelt – wise, compassionate and a pioneer.
Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is…
What would you tell the younger you if you could go back in time?
(If you want the answer: Get some psychometric testing, find out who you are and what your unique selling point is, then you’ll know where you can shine.)
Lila is a powerhouse, a can-do woman full of energy and joy, who doesn’t sit around and wait for things to happen. She makes them happen. She is everything I am not and I admire her drive and engaging manner, her zest for life and infectuous positivity immensely.
When she discovered her passion for perfume she really made it her passion and created PLL to the benefit of so many Perfumistas. Thank you Lila!