Jillie: 2 posts

In Jillie's own words, "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." She lives in the UK.

Trading Senses

Can poor eyesight be compensated by a sharp sense of smell? Our guest writer Jillie shares her story of struggling with poor vision and falling in love with perfume.

Sometimes I believe that when I was born the Bad Fairy cursed me with bad sight, while the Good Fairy gave me a keen nose. I know that it sounds fanciful, but I am convinced that my poor vision is compensated for by a sharp sense of smell. Perhaps, if I hadn’t suffered with severe myopia, I may never have developed into the scent obsessive that I am now.

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I was nine when I realized that I couldn’t see as well as other children, but by then my nose had already been working as hard as Samantha’s in Bewitched. As a toddler, it would lead me around the garden and I would plunge into banks of honey-scented alyssum, drifts of lavender and into the lush red roses climbing up the wall.

Good smells were usually associated with food in my early years , especially my mum’s apple and blackberry pie and my dad’s roast dinners. Christmas would be a feast of aromas: the sunny citrus tang of tangerine peel (a fruit we only saw in the holiday season), the creaminess of chocolate buttons, the licorice darkness of the Christmas pudding, the delicate bitterness of marzipan, the vanilla sweetness of my grand-dad’s pipe tobacco and the boozy tang of port and whisky, which were only ever drunk on special occasions. Add a note of fir tree, and you have my ultimate festive perfume. (I’ll skip the ever present funk of cigarette smoke, one of my least favorite smells.)

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My Ideal Celebrity Perfume

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.

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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.

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