When I was young, I had a very long illness and through this time and for many years after especially during treatment I remember cuddling up to mum in her soft woollen tops safely buried in the heady fragrance which I would later come to realise was Chanel No. 5.
Mum rarely wore any other perfume as this was her favourite and dad always brought it home from business trips or a Christmas or Birthdays.
I since have had it bought for me from my husband and it evokes the memories of ‘safety’ ‘caring’ ‘warm cuddles’ ‘mum’s love’ and ‘tender moments!’
I’m now 44 years old and a mum myself. My lovely mother Elizabeth is 80 and still to this day will wear the same perfume with her pearls!
Most people will remember how their parents smelt – it is part of family bonding. My mother always adored Diorissimo, but it always came with an undertone of cigarettes and face powder, so sophisticated and adult in those days in the late 1950s. I am transported back to childhood whenever someone wears Diorissimo – it is synonymous with full skirted silk taffeta ballgowns, mid- calf length cocktail frocks with long sleeved gloves, matching silk dresses with dress-coats and tiny hats with scraps of lace attached.
But my real love affair, the perfume that I still regard as “mine” is L’Heure Bleue. It is my career fragrance because when I discovered it, I was working with Mary Quant in 1978 and we were developing her new fragrance (improbably called Q by Quant). She was working through some blind tests and called a single sniff of L’Heure Bleue “the ultimate treat”. I started wearing it after that one introduction, and to me it embodies the sensuality that every woman needs to balance her power! I loved it in the extrait best, with dollops of orange blossom, oodles of iris, masses of powdery vanilla and a weave of anis/licorice. I wear it when I want to be happy, when I want to impress, when I am recovering, when I need comforting. I adore it. I am not so enamoured of its rework, and I tend to use that as a light alternative rather than the carnal elemental perfume which really does embody that hour between night and day, when things fall calm and clear.
My first scent memory is from my mum, she always had Yardley Tweed talc in her bathroom which she used daily and if it was a special occasion she would wear the perfume. Both bottles were kept on top of the bathroom cabinets so we couldn’t get our hands on it! My sister (who is five years older) used to wear Anais Anais as she headed out on a Saturday night with her perm and electric blue mascara and I was always so jealous and thought I would never get to be her age or be as cool! Personally, my first fragrance was a gift from my Dad, Gucci Envy. It was incredibly strong and I used to put so much on, I’m sure everyone could smell me before they saw me! I was in competition though, my best friend always wore Chanel Mademoiselle so when we were on the dancefloor of the clubs of my teens we used to smell delightful, which is more than can be said for the venues! So many happy memories from fragrance, you don’t appreciate it at the time but on reflection, I can picture all of us so clearly back in the day, happy times…
My first scent memory was ‘4711’, I received the scented wipes from my mum and kept the papers long after they had dried up, I loved the freshness of this fragrance. I then loved Charlie before progressing to ‘Must de Cartier’; the fragrance that particularly brings back happy memories for me; I love the sweetness and the warmth of this fragrance, it’s like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket…
My first memories of fragrance come from my Grandmother. As soon as I arrived at her house I would run to her bedroom and secretly put on her perfumes; most notably, the original Miss Dior. To this day, this scent reminds me of the cuddle of my best friend in the whole world and the laughs and memories we had together. This scent is unbelievable precious to me.
My earliest fragrance memory is Aramis of course. A true classic. I remember wearing it on a date with the hottest girl in school and it worked. She agreed to a second date!
My first memory of fragrance was Lily of the Valley from Penhaligon’s – it is the fragrance my mother wore & this scent will always make me think of her. In France on the 1st May, La Fête du Muguet is a public holiday to campaign for and celebrate workers rights. It is also an occasion to present lily-of-the-valley to loved ones. I would always give Muguet to my mother.