Serving as a metaphysical calling card, something that becomes so inextricably linked to the person who ‘owns it’ that it grows impossible to imagine it emanating from anything or anyone else, a signature scent can evoke memories of people, place and time. Like many things in modern day society, however, we don’t find ourselves happy with the idea of settling down. The exponential growth of consumerism and our fleeting relationships with almost everything new has led to a collective promiscuity with fragrance. We frolick in summer romances with the zesty tones of citrus fruits, we wrap up in the warming earthy tones of sandalwood and cardamom during winter’s wrath and we dabble in sensuous notes of vanilla and tuberose come sundown.
Perhaps a commitment to a single perfume is something we would do well to rediscover. All it takes is a flick back through the pages of yesteryear to find some inspiration. Marilyn Monroe, for example, is renowned for her tumultuous love affairs, but her affiliation with all things Chanel Nº5 is something that remained steadfast. In 1952, Monroe revealed to a journalist that the ylang-ylang and bergamot scent was the only thing that came between her and the sheets each night — it wasn’t long before the scent became synonymous with the 50s siren. From presidents and the monarchy to actresses and even the odd fictional character, we’ve compiled a list of history’s most iconic individuals who were so besotted with their signature fragrance that it almost became a part of their identity.
Winston Churchill: Creed: Tabarome
Winston Churchill, whose devout love of cigars extended to his fragrance, favoured Tabarome by Creed, a bespoke, heady blend heavy on tobacco notes.
Lauren Bacall: Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau
Bacall’s sensual persona, distinguished by her husky voice and exquisite looks, match perfectly with the musky, woody notes of her favourite perfume, L’Ombre Dans L’Eau.
Stevie Nicks: Illuminum Black Gardenia
Say, women, they will come and they will go, but Nicks’ relationship with the beguiling, sweetness of Illuminum Haute Perfume in Black Gardenia is something that remains steadfast.
Princess Diana: Penhaligon’s Bluebell
The People’s Princess was known to have boosted sales of the English borne Penhaligon’s Bluebell exponentially after declaring it to be her scent of choice.
James Bond: Eucris by Geo F. Trumper
The fictitious agent was known to indulge in the earthy and peppery notes of Geo F. Trumper’s Eucris just as much as he was a well-shaken martini.
Ernest Hemingway: Krigler America One
American novelist Ernest Hemingway was an avid user of the black pepper blend Krigler America One, after falling for its bergamot, neroli and mandarin rich notes.
Audrey Hepburn: L’Interdit by Givenchy
Givenchy’s floral fragrance was created especially for Hepburn and later sold to the mass public in the 60s, despite Hepburn’s request for it never to be released.
Elizabeth Taylor: Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles
Elizabeth Taylor favoured Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, notably wearing it on the set of Cleopatra and later gifting it to Michael Jackson, who wore it for the rest of his life.
Brigitte Bardot: Guerlain Jicky
Despite the fragrance’s harsher notes, the unisex Jicky by Guerlain became a fast favourite amongst countless women thanks to its public championing by actress and model Brigitte Bardot.
John F. Kennedy: Eight & Bob
After receiving a sample of Albert Fouquet’s unnamed fragrance, JFK loved it so much he asked for another eight for him and his friends, plus another for his friend Bob.
Grace Kelly: Creed Fleurissimo
Created specifically for Grace Kelly’s wedding day, the bouquet-inspired aromas of Fleurissimo by Creed soon became synonymous with the actress turned princess.