Scents of Scandalous Women in History
Long before Instagram and Twitter, scandalous women broke the rules of their society. And their scents are as memorable today as they were in their era. Each was famous for their love affairs and for their love of perfume.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Frida Khalo is best known for her surreal paintings, love affairs and of course for her politics.
Kahlo was known to wear vintage Dana Tabu (which means forbidden). With its earthy patchouli Tabu, a play on the word taboo, also includes complex notes of bergamot, coriander, clove, jasmine, narcissus, ylang-ylang, amber, cedar, civet, musk, and sandalwood.
Josephine Baker (1906-1975)
Born Frieda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, the ex-patriate American entertainer and advocate of social justice “La Baker” found her home in France. She appeared onstage at the Theater Champs-Elysees in 1925 in a state of semi-nudity while performing an erotic dance. An activist, a war hero and long before Angelina Jolie and Madonna, adopted children from many countries, her “Rainbow Tribe” who were born in Korea, Japan, Columbia, Finland, France, Israel, Algeria, France, Ivory Coast, Venezuela and Morocco.
Josephine Baker wore the expensive perfume in the world at that time: Joy by Jean Patou. The name “Joy” The reason for the high price tag is the use of over 10,000 jasmine flowers in every ounce! Joy is a floral erupting in notes of rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, sandalwood, musk, and civet.
The Gibson Girl was based on Elizabeth Nesbitt
Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967)
American chorus girl and fashion muse, Nesbit was famous for being part of a group of models who helped define the look of the “Gibson Girl” from the drawing of Charles Dana Gibson. She began her modeling career in New York City and posed for artists. She had many affairs, but her first at age 16 to a 47 year old renowned architect Stanford White who was almost 3x her age. Later she married Henry Thaw who eventually killed White in a jealous rage in 1906 who was brought to court in what was called the Trial of the Century.
We would choose Shalimar, created in 1925, which was a perfume that set the world abuzz. The notes are a sensual blend of bergamot, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, coumarin and vanilla. When it debuted Shalimar was described as: “racy”, “intoxicating” “bewitching”. All those adjectives could be applied to Evelyn herself.
Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)
No actress in Hollywood today exudes the glamour of Elizabeth Taylor.. From child star to AIDS activist, from ingénue to the woman who ‘stole’ Debbie Reynolds husband, Eddie Cantor, Dame Elizabeth Taylor was larger than life. Famous for her tumultuous relationship with Richard Burton, who she married twice. Of course, her iconic portrayal of Cleopatra; many associate her with that film, but in truth she really didn't enjoy making it, except for meeting Burton of course.
Ms. Taylor built her own fragrance empire…mover over JLo, Britney and Madonna, White Diamonds, composed by Carlos Benaim in 1991, is the bestselling celebrity scent of all time. Whether by design or as a respite from her dramatic personal life, White Diamonds is a clean, soft white floral a little green and although oakmoss is listed in the notes along with lily, rose, narcissus, jasmine, tuberose; and a base of oakmoss and sandalwood it is a dramatic but happy fragrance