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.