Five iconic fragrances

Five iconic fragrances …

MumptyStyle Chanel No. 5
Photo by Austin Calhoon –

Fragrance is such an essential part of a woman’s allure; to me it feels like the absolute finishing touch of my “getting ready” routine.  Nowadays we tend to have a number of fragrances that we pick and choose from, but I actually love the idea of having a signature fragrance.  I bet if you’re a Makeup Obsessive you’ll have lots of them!

While there have been many classic fragrances released over the years, I think these five are probably the most famous and the most enduring.  I love the heritage and history associated with them and any and all of them would be very welcome additions to Mumpty’s perfume wardrobe (which is sadly a little bare at the moment!)

# 1 – Chanel No. 5 by Coco ChanelMumptyStyle Chanel No. 5First launched in 1921 by the queen of style, Coco Chanel, this timeless fragrance consists of mostly vanilla, may rose and jasmine and is perhaps the most famous fragrance ever created.  It’s certainly the one that comes to my mind when I think of classic perfumes.

Chanel No. 5 has been represented over the years by a galaxy of stars including Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt and Audrey Tautou – the current face of Chanel No. 5 is model, Gisele Bundchen.  The fragrance was given a major publicity boost in the 1950’s by Marilyn Monroe’s unsolicited endorsement – in response to a cheeky question by a radio announcer as to what she wore to bed, Marilyn responded “Chanel No. 5 of course!”   As a result, sales absolutely rocketed! MumptyStyle Chanel KidmanFun fact: Coco Chanel was presented with glass vials containing sample scent compositions numbered 1-5 and 20-24.  She chose vial number 5 and told her master perfumer, Ernest Beaux, that “I present my dress collections on the 5th day of May; the fifth month of the year and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already – it will bring good luck.”  And how right she was!
Fun fact # 2: at the end of the war, Coco Chanel decided to offer free bottles of Chanel No. 5 to American GI’s to take home to their sweethearts.

# 2 – Youth Dew by Estee Lauder  MumptyStyle Estee Lauder Youth DewLaunched in 1953, Youth Dew was the first fragrance released by beauty legend Estee Lauder, and by around 1955, was responsible for 80% of the company’s sales and had transformed the small company into a multimillion dollar business.  It is still one of the brand’s best sellers over 60 years later.

Estee Lauder herself was said to have wanted to change women’s attitudes about perfume being “for best” only, so she released it as a bath oil, and women felt free to wear it and enjoy it every day.  Its combination of opulent flowers, rich spices and precious woods smelled so good that it was a natural progression for women to start wearing it as a fragrance as well, and it has become known by many as “simply the sexiest fragrance ever.” 

# 3 – Miss Dior by Christian DiorMumptyStyle Miss DiorLaunched in 1947, Miss Dior is a chypre floral fragrance that was developed with the “young woman in love” in mind.  In those days, you wore a perfume for life and it became your signature perfume.  Nowadays of course, modern women are likely to have a “perfume wardrobe” that they mix and match for different moods and occasions.  Interestingly, not only the original packaging, but the formula as well, has been completely replaced and yet it still retains its legendary appeal.

Recently the stunning Natalie Portman has become the face of Miss Dior.MumptyStyle Miss Dior Natalie

# 3 – Joy by Jean Patou
MumptyStyle Jean Patou Joy

Released in 1929 by Parisian couturier, Jean Patou, and billed as the costliest fragrance in the world, every ounce (30ml) of this subtle floral bouquet requires 10,600 jasmine flowers and twenty-eight dozen roses.  Goodness!  Perhaps that’s why its said to envelop every women who wears it in a cloud of sophistication and prestige.

I read somewhere that Joy has been described as “a smell for the badly behaved that is ever, ever so good” – that sounds like a perfect fragrance to me, and I must admit, I’m adding this to my “fragrance want list!”

# 5 – Shalimar by Guerlain MumptyStyle Shalimar

Launched in 1925, Guerlain’s Shalimar was known as the “Forbidden Frangrance.”  Shalimar is the name of the place where the love between Indian Prince, Shah Jehan and Persian Princess, Mumtaz was celebrated, and the Taj Mahal was built to commemorate her memory when she died during childbirth.  Jacques Guerlain was inspired to create the fragrance when hearing of the couple’s all-consuming love – awwwww!

The famous art deco-styled bottle was designed to emulate the silhoeuttes of the Indian palaces.  The fragrance itself was one of the first of the oriental fragrances, heavy on leather and incense and with notes of sandalwood and civet.  It was said in the 20’s that there were three things a good girl didn’t do; “bob her hair; smoke cigarettes and wear Shalimar!”  Now if that doesn’t make you want to wear it, I don’t know what will!  Another to add to my list methinks!

What’s your favourite perfume?  Do you love the modern perfumes or, like me, appreciate the heritage and glamour of the classic perfumes? 

Love …


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