Today we have a guest contribution from Jillie. You’ve probably chatted with Jillie in the comment section both here and other perfume blogs. When I asked Jillie how she fell in love with scents, she replied, “I think I was born a perfumista! I toddled around smelling flowers and shrubs in the garden before I was two, and progressed to climbing up onto relatives’ dressing-tables to douse myself in their perfume. As soon as I got pocket money, I would save to buy cheap scent at Woolworth’s and ended up with a shoe box full of my precious possessions, which I would take out each day and sniff.” As they say, the rest is history.
What perfume would Vivien Leigh have worn? Clark Gable once said that when he first met her at the house of David Selznick, the producer of Gone with the Wind, he noticed that she smelled of violets. I ran through my mental list of favorite violet perfumes and decided that it surely must have been Balenciaga’s Le Dix. A delicate violet wrapped in a veil of amber and vanilla, it would have complemented Leigh’s ethereal beauty. I shattered my own illusion when I discovered that Le Dix was created eight years after Gone with the Wind was filmed, but I still like to think that it would have been the perfect fragrance for Miss Leigh. And you never know, she might have discovered and worn it later in preference to her well documented favorite, Jean Patou Joy.
Le Dix epitomizes glamour for me, as do the stars of old Hollywood, like Leigh. Let me confess right now that I am an old-fashioned girl. I love vintage perfumes for their richness and complexity, much like I love classical cinema for its glamour and style. A celebrity scent for me is one that is worn by an actress who is amazingly striking, although not necessarily beautiful, talented and charismatic. Her perfume is an extension of her personality and a perfect fit. And if you choose to wear the same fragrance yourself, you should feel glamorous too. More than anything, wearing scents is a way for me to fantasize and dream.
The concept of celebrity scent these days is very different from mine. Any famous person (be they a “reality” star or a footballer) can and does have a perfume marketed under their name. Actresses front fragrance publicity campaigns even if they have professed in the past to not actually liking or wearing perfume. Generic scents are rolled out under the name of whichever celebrity the branding agencies feel will appeal to the public. Where is the glamour? Does the perfume they advertise even suit them?
When I look at a photo of Audrey Hepburn, L’Interdit immediately springs to mind, because legend has it that Givenchy created it especially for her. It also helps that its ladylike veil of soft flowers is a wonderful match for Hepburn, one of the most refined women of her day. If I were to assign her another perfume, I would pick Guerlain’s Chant d’Arômes. Just like the beloved star of Roman Holiday, it blends sparkle with sophistication.
The screen goddess turned princess Grace Kelly also had a perfume created for her. Creed was commissioned by her future husband, Prince Rainier, to compose a fragrance for their wedding, and Fleurissimo was born. Its bouquet of iris and jasmine is as exquisite as the rose point lace of her famous wedding gown. I would also pick a Guerlain for Kelly, but this time my choice would be the lush Mitsouko. The perfume might seem a little aloof and distant at first—an icy blonde, but if you look at it closer, you will discover how seductive and alluring it truly is. There is no denying that Kelly has a voluptuous side to her personality.
I could play the game of assigning perfumes to movie stars for hours, and sometimes I catch myself mentally scenting an actor or actress as I watch my favorite films. What would I pick for Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice? Would I put Marilyn Monroe in anything other than Chanel No 5? Do you want to join me? Which fragrance would you choose for your favorite screen idol?
Image: Vivien Leigh.