One of the best interviews I have read recently was posted on French blog Simon~says! (thank you for the link, Anissa.) François Simon, a food writer, talks with Catherine Deneuve in his article, Rencontre Avec Catherine Deneuve, about a dizzying range of perfume topics—her first perfume, her role as a fragrance muse, her favorite perfumes on men, the strange scents that she enjoys, etc. The original interview is in French, which I highly recommend reading. For those who do not speak French, I will post a few interesting excerpts. To round out the topic, I will also include mentions of Deneuve’s other scented references from her previous interviews. The legendary movie star is an avid perfume lover, and she even wrote a preface to Frédéric Malle’s new book, On Perfume Making.
Deneuve mentions that she selected Noir Epices by Michel Roudnitska for the role of Princess Marie Bonaparte in the mini-series Princesse Marie (2004.) Noir Epices was a perfect way to slip into the character of a strong, bold, audacious woman.
The actress mentions that she loves Frédéric Malle’s fragrances and regrets that he does not release more perfumes. She selected Lipstick Rose by perfumer Ralf Schwieger for her role in Christophe Honoré’s film Les Bien-Aimés (Beloved).
She was told that Iris Poudré was inspired by Belle de Jour. She loves this creation by perfumer Pierre Bourdon and Frédéric Malle.
Deneuve was the face of Chanel No 5 in a campaign for the American market. Working with photographer Richard Avedon was one of the highlights of this project for her.
Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire for Her
This spicy rose and patchouli blend originated as a bespoke perfume for the actress. According to Marc Chaya, president and co-founder of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, when Maison Francis Kurkdjian was founded, Deneuve and the perfumer agreed to include it in the line.
Fresh Rose Menthée
In an interview with the UK Times Online, the movie star mentions that she “always sprays her pillows with nice scent. Her favourites are Rose Menthée by Fresh, anything by Jo Malone, Frédéric Malle…”
On Seasonal Perfumes
She loves to change her perfume with each season: musk in her hair during the summer, amber in the fall, jasmine and gardenia in the spring…
On Some of Her Favorite Notes
Jasmine and gardenia are among her favorite scents; however, she insists that they must be of great quality, otherwise the results are catastrophic. They must be impeccable, otherwise they are too heady.
She also loves orange blossom and enjoys Serge Lutens’s take on it. Another orange blossom composition she singles out is Frédéric Malle Cologne Bigarade created by perfumer Jean Claude Ellena.
Scents of Paris
Lily of the valley and rose are the quintessential Parisian scents for Deneuve.
Her first perfume, her longest fragrant love affair.
When speaking about certain unusual odors that she loves, Deneuve talks about the scent of helichrysum. In the summer, she loves to wear Sables, which smells like the sun.
Serge Lutens Fragrances
“I also love the perfumes of Serge Lutens. He is also an artist.” In several interviews she mentioned that she loves Ambre Sultan, Un Lys, and Rose de Nuit.
Diptyque Candles and L’Ombre das l’Eau
Deneuve likes to buy candles at Dyptique and some of its fragrances, like l’Ombre dans l’Eau, for her friends. The eaux de toilette are very chic, but for her, Diptyque is associated with its exceptional candles such as Feu de Bois, Mousses (Moss)…
She loves the scent of oud, which she experiences on her trips to Morocco. However, she herself cannot wear it.
How She Likes to Perfume Herself
Deneuve’s famous quote is “You should put scent where you like to be kissed.” She mentions that she usually puts perfume behind the knees and on her neck. However, she does not like to perfume her clothes, because the fragrance remains on them for too long.
On Her Perfume Deneuve (1989)
It was a fragrance created by Avon; however, when the company was sold, Deneuve was dropped. It cost too much. The fragrance was of excellent quality, but there was a technical problem with the bottle due to its low, rectangular shape. The actress believes that it would not work today, with the possible exception of the United States. If it were proposed to her to launch a fragrance, she would be pleased, but she would not want it to bear her name. It resonates with what Deneuve told Elle Magazine in 1994, “I’ve liked working for this fragrance. But today I don’t feel it. Actors and perfume is an impossible match.”
As the actress said on Larry King Live, “I was given the possibility to do my perfume in America. And I had a great pleasure to do that. I loved it. And I learn a lot of interesting things, you know, doing that. I got very involved with that.”
“I once loved a man who wore Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior. I cannot tolerate it on anyone else.”