Star Scents: A Pictorial of Classic Film Star Fragrances

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Sophia Loren is getting the red carpet treatment on Turner Classic Movies tonight (April 28). If you tune in at 8 PM EST/ 5 PM PST you can catch the multi-talented Italian actress in a live interview with her youngest son (Eduardo Ponti) that was recorded during her appearance at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2015. The interview is followed by a number of her films including the short Human Voice (2014) and four full-length features: Marriage, Italian Style (1964), Arabesque (1966), The Priest’s Wife (1970) and More Than a Miracle (1967).

Her most recent starring role is in a commercial for Dolce & Gabana’s new fragrance, ‘Dolce Rosa Excelsa.’ The ad was shot by Academy Award-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso; 1988, A Pure Formality; 1994, The Legend of 1900; 1998, etc.) and features a score by Maestro Ennio Morricone. In this extravagant three-minute production (currently streaming on Youtube) Sophia Loren plays the matriarch of a large family that is restoring a luxurious Sicilian estate. It’s a charming commercial and while watching I was reminded that Loren had appeared in another perfume advertising campaign during the 1980s for Coty’s ‘Sophia’ fragrance, which was named after the actress. This got me thinking and my curiosity sent me on a quest. I decided to try and track down as many movie star scents as I could and what I discovered genuinely surprised me. What follows is a select pictorial of perfumes made famous by the actors who inspired, promoted and occasionally played a part in creating them.

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The earliest example of this phenomenon I could find was from 1919. Silent film star Helen Chadwick (and wife of director William A. Wellman) modeled for and promoted Jonteel beauty products, including their perfume. I don’t know if she was the first film actress to be associated with a fragrance but she seems to have been somewhat of a trailblazer and many actors followed her example

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A series of ‘Colleen Moore’ perfumes were produced by Darnee in 1928. The press photo from Historic Images reportedly shows Moore testing fragrances while helping to create her signature scent.

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Between 1930 an 1931 Colgate’s used a number of popular screen stars to promote their Seventeen fragrance including Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, Lillian Roth, Phyllis Haver, Betty Bronson, Lila Lee, Sue Carol, Alice White and Virginia Vali.

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Another popular scent in the early 1930s was Blue Waltz by Joubert. Their ads regularly appeared in movie magazines from the period and featured stars such as Leila Hyams and Alice White.

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It’s rumored that Greta Garbo inspired the perfumers at Crown Perfumery Co. to create Tanglewood Bouquet in 1932. Recently the actress was also the inspiration for a series of scents by Parfums Grès released in 2009.

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Marlene Dietrich may have inspired Angélique Encens by The House of Creed and she reportedly wore the scent. Like Garbo, Dietrich was also the inspiration for a series of scents by Parfums Grès recently.

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Mae West is associated with a number of perfumes including Gabilla, which named a scent after the actress in 1933. Three years later Elsa Schiaparelli created a perfume called ‘Shocking’ and its whimsical bottle was supposedly inspired by West’s curvaceous figure. West’s curves also reportedly inspired the bottle design for Femme Rochas perfume in 1943.

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In 1934 French perfumer Jacques Guerlain was inspired to create Sous le Vent for the cabaret performer and actress Josephine Baker. It gets its name from the West Indies, which was the setting for Baker’s 1927 silent film, Siren of the Tropics.

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Following the release of The Amazing Mr. Williams and Paris Honeymoon in 1939, Joan Blondell and Franciska Gaal were asked to become the faces of Perfume of the Stars by Warren-Smith Co. The Joan Blondell and Franciska Gaal fragrances both had similar bottles with subtle design differences and were supposed to represent the unique personalities of the stars.

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The historical romantic drama Forever Amber (1947) inspired Kathryn Inc.to create their Forever Amber perfume. The film’s star, Linda Darnell, helped promote the scent in advertisements wearing period costumes from the movie.

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House of Creed’s Fleurissimo fragrance was created for Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier III of Monoco in 1956 and recently Tocca created Graciella designed to ‘invoke the beauty’ of Kelly.

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When Cary Grant was alive he was on the board of directors for Fabergé but after he died in 1986, The House of Creed began associating his likeness with their popular masculine fragrance, Green Irish Tweed.

ahpahp3ahp2One of the most recognizable fragrances associated with Audrey Hepburn is Givency’s L`Interdit, which was first launched in 1957 and featured Hepburn in their ad campaign. Another popular scent associated with the actress is Spring Flower created by The House of Creed as a signature scent for Hepburn when she was alive but it wasn’t released to the public until 1996. Since then many companies have released Audrey Hepburn inspired fragrances including Audrey by Vendara.

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Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. cashed in on the huge success of his hit song ‘(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear’ originally recorded for the movie Loving You (1957) by creating this popular Teddy Bear perfume.

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House of Creed is rumored to have created the perfume Jasmal as a signature scent for Natalie Wood in 1959 and in 2015 Wood’s daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, launched a new scent called Natalie in honor of her mother.

jdp0 jdp1 jdp2Since James Dean’s death many companies have used his likeness to advertise products including various colognes and perfumes. Some of the more recent examples take their names from his films including Rebel Without a Cause (1956) and Giant (1956).

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Elizabeth Taylor built a beauty empire based on her passion for fragrance. Her hugely successful line of perfumes includes Passion, White Diamonds, Black Pearls, Violet Eyes and White Diamond Nights.

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Like James Dean, Marilyn Monroe’s likeness has been used to sell countless products including perfumes. When she was alive, the actress proudly declared that the only thing she wore to bed was Chanel No. 5 and her fondness for this popular fragrance was widely publicized during her lifetime. After her death, many companies have tried to associate the actress with other fragrances such as Vendara’s Marilyn Bombshell and Marilyn Classic.

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Steve McQueen’s likeness has also been used to sell numerous products since his death including a series of masculine fragrances with names like Legend, Extreme and Mythic. Steve McQueen Parfum D’Homme was made available between 2010-2012.

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Brigitte Bardot has inspired a number of fragrances beginning in the 1960s. In 1970 she helped create La Madrague for Y.C.S.A and in 2008 Tocca launched their own Brigitte perfume in honor of the actress.

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Coty’s Sophia fragrance was inspired by Sophia Loren and the actress appeared in commercials as well as ads for the perfume.

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In 2009 the Italian actress Giulietta Massina became the inspiration for Tocca’s Giulietta fragrance.

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Alain Delon launched his own popular line of fragrances in 1979 for men and women. The scents include Le Temps D`Aimer, Lyra, Pharos and Samouari undoubtedly inspired by his role in Le Samourai (1967). Delon has also been the face of Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage Parfum for men, which was originally released in 1966.

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The French actor Jean-Louis Trintigant also inspired a scent that was released in 1984.

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Taking the mantle from Monroe, Catherine Deneuve became the face of Chanel No. 5 throughout the 1970s and 80s. The French actress also launched her own scent in 1986 called Deneuve, which she designed herself.

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The Italian actress Edwige Fenech is best known for her roles in a number of Italian thrillers and sex comedies made during the 1960s and 70s but she also lent her name to a fragrance by S.i.r.p.e.a. in 1991.

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Faye Dunaway became the face of Norell perfume between 1997 and 1999.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this look at some celebrity fragrances but this is just a very small selection of scents that have been associated with film stars. Did I neglect to include one of your favorites? Feel free to share your own recommendations or suggestions in the comments.

Recommended reading:
- Celebrity Scents
- Fragrantica – online encyclopedia of perfumes
- Now Smell This (perfume blog)
- Cleopatra’s Boudoir (perfume blog)
- The Self-Styled Siren blog – home of author Farran Smith-Naeme and prior TCM programmer who often writes about perfume in movies.

13 Responses Star Scents: A Pictorial of Classic Film Star Fragrances
Posted By Flora : April 29, 2016 3:07 am

I am around so many people who have allergies that I don’t wear perfume anymore except at home.

I love the smell of Yves St. Laurant and Estee Lauder, but neither of them smell like a perfume.

I think Drew Barrymore has a set of perfumes now.

Sophia Loren is one of my favourite actresses of all time. I would love to get a whiff of that new perfume.

Posted By swac44 : April 29, 2016 12:14 pm

I have a small promo bottle of Elvis cologne released after his death, authorized by his estate. It stinks worse than a clambake.

By a weird coincidence, yesterday I picked up a used blu-Ray of Scent of Mystery, the first (and last) feature released in Smell-O-Vision. Too bad star Peter Lorre never had a signature fragrance, especially after Joel Cairo’s cologne was a plot point in The Maltese Falcon.

Posted By LD : April 29, 2016 2:01 pm

As someone who has allergies and asthma, thank you Flora. An elevator can be a nightmare experience. No one should be able to smell your perfume unless they are nuzzling your neck. Scents can be life threatening especially for children unable to express themselves what the problem is. But as bad as perfumes can be, the worse products are the air fresheners. They have molecules that attach to everything. Nasty stuff.

Posted By swac44 : April 29, 2016 2:20 pm

We have three pet parrots, so scents are pretty much verboten in our house. Even a scented candle in another room could potentially make one of them sick! Good thing neither one of us was ever big on colognes or perfume.

But it’s still fun to see this rare slice of Hollywood glamour!

Posted By LD : April 29, 2016 2:34 pm

swac-never knew that about parrots. Interesting. I now consider myself one, although my husband refers to me as a canary in a mine. Most people who are into cooking will not allow scented candles in their homes because it interferes with the taste of food. Basically, comes down to people being considerate of others.

Posted By Arthur : April 29, 2016 2:34 pm

These photos are really striking! They seem to get at the essence of these stars. Hmmmm. I guess that is why they were picked.

Posted By “La Otra” : April 29, 2016 4:49 pm

Really enjoyed this article. I appreciated that most of the ads were new to me. One glaring omission..how could you leave out one of the most iconic film figures ever? I mean, have you never seen Moschino’s Olive Oyl tribute? Maybe in a later posting you could rectify this devastating exclusion.

Posted By robbushblog : April 29, 2016 5:06 pm

I wonder when that Teddy Bear perfume was released. It was long after the song was released.

Posted By AL : April 29, 2016 11:12 pm

Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion For Men ! I still have some…

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 7, 2016 2:31 am

Glad folks enjoyed this post. It was fun to put together. I had never heard of Moschino’s Olive Oyl scent. So funny!

Rob, as I mentioned in my post, the Teddy Bear perfume was released in 1957. I also discovered Elvis had a few other perfumes named after him including a religious inspired fragrance called (believe it or not?!) ‘Elvis Jesus.’

Posted By robbushblog : May 9, 2016 5:54 am

Actually, the 1957 printed on the label refers to the copyright of the song. The picture of Elvis on the label is from ’64 or ’65. Elvis Presley Enterprises, also printed on the label, wasn’t formed until 1979.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 9, 2016 4:34 pm

Rob – The perfume was reportedly originally created and released in 1957. It was re-packaged with a new label & picture of Elvis in 1965. Hope that helps answer your question. More info here:

http://www.rare-elvis.de/html/collectibles.html

And here:
http://www.elvisechoesofthepast.com/the-wonderful-world-of-e-p-e-memorabilia-1957-61/

Posted By robbushblog : May 9, 2016 5:24 pm

Ah! The information I found about EPE was incorrect. Thanks!

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