A rich, tasteful fragrance sauntered by one evening on long legs. I was at a Fragonard party in Paris with the perfume expert Luca Turin, and he shrugged it off. ''Luxury scent,'' he said. ''Not chic.'' Then he brightened and said, ''Now, Caron, on the other hand, is absolutely proper, proper chic.'' ''What is chic?'' I asked. He said, ''Um,'' and squinted at the ceiling as if the definition were written up there. ''Chic,'' he finally said, ''is when you don't have to prove you have money. Chic is not aspirational. Chic is all about humor, which means chic is about intelligence.'' Then he added: ''And there has to be oddness. Luxury is comfortable, expensive and conformist. But chic, which, of course, must be polite and not incommode others, can be as weird as it wants.''
Update:The people over on Nathan Branch's site seem to think that Turin was being pretentious. I like the quote because I think it shows an excellent precision of understanding in language, as well as a warmth of feeling toward sociable eccentricity. Well, I guess you can't please everyone.