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Favorite perfumes of old Hollywood stars

I found this recently and thought some of you would eat it up.

I'm amazed by how many of these I had never heard of before, like Mary Chess Tuberose (supposedly the favorite of Lana Turner). Mary Pickford's favorite, Crepe de Chine, was hugely popular in the 1920s and then seems to have vanished.

I love that he first one listed for Joan Crawford is Jungle Gardenia. She must have worn it with Jungle Red nail polish. (Oddly, this says Frank Sinatra also wore Jungle Gardenia!)

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by Anonymousreply 57June 22, 2022 10:47 PM

I hear the Judy Garland Museum is selling her favorite perfume as part of the memorabilia for her upcoming 10th birthday.

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by Anonymousreply 1June 7, 2022 1:33 AM


by Anonymousreply 2June 7, 2022 1:45 AM

[quote] *Eva Gabor: had the extravagant habit of scenting the pool with Florence Gunnarson #67

Wouldn't that just dilute the perfume so much you wouldn't be able to smell it? Even if you used buckets of it.

This must be an urban legend.

by Anonymousreply 3June 7, 2022 1:46 AM

I wonder though r3, if it might be based loosely on truth. Were home swimming pools chlorinated during Eva’s working years? I could see a wacky actress pouring a small bottle of extrait into a smaller sized pool, and yes, I believe you would smell that. Extrait is strong.

by Anonymousreply 4June 7, 2022 1:55 AM

Larva was the scent loved by Mrs Monkey

by Anonymousreply 5June 7, 2022 1:57 AM

It's interesting to see how several of these were so popular among movie stars but are no longer even made any more: Jungle Gardenia, Givenchy Le De, Coty Chypre.

by Anonymousreply 6June 7, 2022 2:23 AM


by Anonymousreply 7June 7, 2022 2:27 AM

I collect vintage scents, but those are indeed extremely rare. Only way to smell them is a quality decant. This site is actually how I got into it! And I just finished my decant of Jicky!

by Anonymousreply 8June 7, 2022 2:28 AM

#8 - that is really interesting - what is a decant?

by Anonymousreply 9June 7, 2022 4:31 AM

AND - what does Jicky smell like?

by Anonymousreply 10June 7, 2022 4:32 AM

A decant is just perfume that is extracted from an original source bottle, then placed into a secondary container. It is not sold to you in any of the maker’s original packaging, and you are relying on the expertise, care, and commitment to quality on the part of the owner. There are multiple online shops that fit the bill, but proceed with caution too. When I began buying full bottles of vintage Guerlain, I made the mistake of jumping at an amazing deal in an auction….it was from Russia. Yep — it was fake, very embarrassing story of how I let greed overtake common sense, but I learned the hard way as I could not get a refund for counterfeit.

A DL thread pointed us to The Perfumed Court for quality decabts, it is amazing. It is an expensive habit, and truly the most decadent hobby I’ve ever had! But I loooooove it. There are also maybe two or three shops on Etsy (one always had her perfume bottles in front of crystals in background). These Etsy sellers are quite serious collectors, the crystal perfume seller is in Hawaii — that collection is truly worthy of its own museum. That person MUST be part of the actual Perfume-Underground-Noses who works in the industry. As I’ve gotten older, my sense of smell has (oddly enough) improved. I started my fascination with scents by growing tea roses. I don’t buy perfume often as I’m trying to use up what I have as my collection is too big.

If you want to learn everything possible about most perfumes, spend time on Fragrantica. Really do your research on a scent. I actually had a particular book I followed that was the 100 Greatest Perfumes of All-Time or something (by Luca Turin?). I bought decants of the perfumes that had notes that I love the most. But the biggest thing I learned is that you should not buy most perfumes produced after the late ‘90’s to experience the artistry of the old formulas using rare ingredients that are now outlawed. Sure, I love modern scents too — but they are so much flatter, and do not last! Some of the old ones I can sleep and still smell it’s faded dry down on my wrists the next morning. One of the only (likely the only) perfumery producing perfume with the banned/outlawed ingredients is called Rogue Perfumery, which I highly recommend to understand a chypre. And so you can smell actual oak moss!!

The decant of Jicky I had was the oldest I could find, it was in **fine** condition, though likely some of the top notes had been lost to time. When writers describe Jicky, they always speak of lavender. This is true, but this lavender is not astringent at all, there is the lightest sense of a mentholated effect of the lavender, but it is superbly smooth. It smells like lavender mixed into sugar with a half teaspoon of extract of vanilla plus just a little bit of woodsy moss. It smells like a major music chord, a beautiful, complex, major cord.

Ok, I won’t post again til 2023 lololll. My passion takes over.

by Anonymousreply 11June 7, 2022 5:19 AM

I own Jicky, it’s disgusting and I’ve never worn it out.

by Anonymousreply 12June 7, 2022 5:24 AM

First formulated in 1889, Guerlain's Jicky is the oldest perfume marketed today in continuous existence. You can buy it online if you like from Guerlain or from a perfume discounter like FragranceX.

It was the favorite scent of two James Bonds (Sean Connery and Roger Moore), and was also a favorite of Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, and Charlie Chaplin. It is marketed to women but it is famously unisex (and it was named after a man: the perfumer Aimé Guerlain's Uncle Jacques, who went by "Jicky").

The dominant accord is lavender-citrus-vanilla, but it also has rosemary, leather, and other herbs and spices. It also has a touch of civet, which makes it a bit animalic/sexy. It is an acquired taste, but I very much like it.

by Anonymousreply 13June 7, 2022 5:41 AM

It’s disgusting.

I was so excited to get it and I was so disappointed.

It smells exactly like 1889. It smells like it was an oil used to cover up stench in between bathing. When people didn’t bathe too much, it’s like they would use this instead to keep the stink from offending people.

It doesn’t smell like something you’d wear out to party.

by Anonymousreply 14June 7, 2022 5:50 AM

#11 - Whoops - I feel myself selling down the rabbit hole! That is SO interesting! I started jotting down some of the sites and scents that you mentioned. I love things like this - I love old food recipes and ingredients also - I love the history of it. … Again thank you for your thoughtful post - I feel a “hobby coming on!”

by Anonymousreply 15June 7, 2022 5:56 AM

Now I own Mitsouko I love that. It’s a total headache for everyone around you but I don’t care! It’s very old rich bitch with the furs and pearls and the little dog.

That’s Jean Harlow’s favorite perfume.

by Anonymousreply 16June 7, 2022 6:01 AM

Here's my favorite. Oh, gay modern things!

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by Anonymousreply 17June 7, 2022 6:04 AM

I also like Youth Dew for similar reasons to R16 but it’s not rich bitch, it’s just the signature old lady scent to me. When people say “this smells like an old lady” it is Youth Dew! And there’s something I like about that lol.

by Anonymousreply 18June 7, 2022 6:05 AM

Oh and I have to add Swanson and Crawford wore Youth Dew.

by Anonymousreply 19June 7, 2022 6:07 AM

I still have my original bottle of Detchema.

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by Anonymousreply 20June 7, 2022 6:22 AM

[quote]I love that he first one listed for Joan Crawford is Jungle Gardenia. She must have worn it with Jungle Red nail polish.

So she never actually wore Summer Rain?

by Anonymousreply 21June 7, 2022 6:27 AM

Pepper LaBeija along with other trans and drag queens loved Jungle Gardenia.

by Anonymousreply 22June 7, 2022 7:16 AM

Actually Joan Crawford's favourite scent was "Oomph"

by Anonymousreply 23June 7, 2022 7:17 AM

Eau de Cologne Imperiale by Guerlain, in bee bottle, seems to have been popular among the gebtlemen.

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by Anonymousreply 24June 7, 2022 7:29 AM

R3, R4, curiously, it lists the same bit of trivia for Zsa Zsa.

by Anonymousreply 25June 7, 2022 7:30 AM

R11 speaking of old perfumes, what do you think of Ye Olde Perfumes of Arabia? I was given a small vial of musky oil by an appreciative Muslim top. I find it very sexy but maybe it just stirs memories of a great fuck.

by Anonymousreply 26June 7, 2022 7:49 AM

Pouring perfume into the swimming pool sounds more like something Zsa Zsa would do rather than Eva. Eva always struck me as much more sensible than her sister,

by Anonymousreply 27June 8, 2022 1:33 AM

Florence Gunnarson scents are sold as bath/shower oils, not typical perfumes. Just as Youth Dew was originally sold as a bath oil. So there's a certain logic using them to scent a swimming pool. I enjoyed all of them for use in the shower.

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by Anonymousreply 28June 8, 2022 2:04 AM

My friend who went to a girls' boarding school said that when the Mothers arrived dripping in Youth Dew, the girls would side eye each other and whisper in unison, 'here comes THAT SMELL.'

by Anonymousreply 29June 8, 2022 2:16 AM

I always thought "Youth Dew" was a particularly creepy name for a perfume. First of all, no one who was actually young would have ever been caught dead wearing something called "Youth Dew," so owning it was basicalkly an admission you were over-the-hill.

Second of all, it sounds like it was manufactured from the bodies of young virgins.

by Anonymousreply 30June 8, 2022 2:19 AM

Helenesque. The perfume that's also a libation.

by Anonymousreply 31June 8, 2022 2:24 AM

Soir de Paris (Evening in Paris) of course!

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by Anonymousreply 32June 8, 2022 4:53 AM

I want to smell like the captain.

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by Anonymousreply 33June 8, 2022 5:06 AM

Here’s one that I love (for women). I only buy original scents, and I can tell by the color and packaging too.

Jicky smells awful if it’s from the 70’s on up. You have to get 100 year old Jicky that was stored correctly.

On Arabian oils, I will have to dig to find a cool site on this,, but here is what I know. Oils and how they are produced in I’m assuming the Middle East (and into India), so it is literally an entire frontier that I have no experience with.

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by Anonymousreply 34June 8, 2022 5:43 AM

This is bringing me back to Vogue ads in the 60s and my mother's mirrored perfume boudoir tray. A Lalique crystal bottle is essential.

by Anonymousreply 35June 8, 2022 6:24 AM

This may be the site I found many years ago for oils. Once you start researching ouds, it is another world to go to sites for the artisans working with oud.

Mitsouko is amazing and quite unisex.

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by Anonymousreply 36June 8, 2022 2:48 PM

Both Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra used one of my favorites, Creed’s Bois de Portugal. I love the wood essence. It’s one of those scent that lasts until bedtime.

by Anonymousreply 37June 8, 2022 10:16 PM

[quote]I always thought "Youth Dew" was a particularly creepy name for a perfume.

I love Youth Dew. A reference Oriental that inspired Opium and spawned Cinnabar and JHL. A favorite of Joan Crawford, the Duchess of Windsor, and Madonna.

Because nice girls weren't supposed to buy perfume for themselves in the pre-feminist early '50s, Estée Lauder marketed it as a bath oil. It sold like hotcakes because it was a personal-care product, meaning women could buy it without their virtue being suspect. The irony, of course, was that it smelled like an old drag queen.

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by Anonymousreply 38June 20, 2022 12:39 AM

[quote](Oddly, this says Frank Sinatra also wore Jungle Gardenia!)

Yeah, Frankie was butch on the streets, but he was real femme in the sheets...if ya know what I mean

by Anonymousreply 39June 20, 2022 12:44 AM

Hoyt’s Cologne

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by Anonymousreply 40June 20, 2022 12:47 AM

When anticipating a gentleman caller, I always put a little something behind each ear. Namely, my legs.

by Anonymousreply 41June 20, 2022 1:00 AM

Jungle Gardenia is very similar to both Carnal Flower by Frédéric Malle (which is marketed as unisex) and Fracas by Robert Piguet.

Perfume blogger Barbara Herman describes it as a camp icon of scent:

[quote]Billing itself as “the world’s most exotic perfume,” Jungle Gardenia is exotic in the way Hollywood movies set in the South Seas starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were exotic, with all the signifiers of exotic exaggerated and staged just so. (Big flowers, vines, a pile of sand, one coconut tree, tanned women sporting leis.) And yet, I could see how this perfume — like an actual white gardenia affixed to an ordinary 50s hairdo — could have made your average American housewife feel like Dorothy Lamour.

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by Anonymousreply 42June 21, 2022 6:04 PM

[quote] Yeah, Frankie was butch on the streets, but he was real femme in the sheets...if ya know what I mean

Much like Missy Stanwyck, who also wore it!

by Anonymousreply 43June 21, 2022 6:58 PM

A lot of fame women wore Fracas

by Anonymousreply 44June 22, 2022 6:31 PM

This thread stinks 🤢

by Anonymousreply 45June 22, 2022 7:41 PM

Oops, "famous"

by Anonymousreply 46June 22, 2022 7:51 PM


by Anonymousreply 47June 22, 2022 8:17 PM


by Anonymousreply 48June 22, 2022 8:17 PM

I love Fracas--a friend gave me a bottle...a favorite of Isabella Blow too.

by Anonymousreply 49June 22, 2022 8:23 PM

Blown out asshole fragrance

by Anonymousreply 50June 22, 2022 8:28 PM

R11, as a philistine of fragrance I was hoping you would provide a little more information about fragrance ingredients and the timeline (roughly) of when they were altered bc of legalities. Generalizing, were there universal standards for banning (endangered species? Cruelty? ) Any information would be appreciated.

by Anonymousreply 51June 22, 2022 9:04 PM

Toilet water

by Anonymousreply 52June 22, 2022 9:07 PM

R50 - Miss Lindsey's signature scent!

by Anonymousreply 53June 22, 2022 9:57 PM

Jicky is great and Guerlain keeps it smelling modern. It's not your old Jicky. Regulations have forced so many changes on very old perfume creations.

I have many versions of Jicky. Ancient, vintage, pre-2000s, 2010s, and now. I got a recent Bee Bottle of Jicky EDT, not expecting much, and it smells great and refreshing. I have pure parfum, vintage. My favorite Jicky is from around 2000, eau de parfum. It hits all the sweet spots.

It's been reformulated again and is the bottle with the spot now.

I suspect they retired EDT with the bee bottle.

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by Anonymousreply 54June 22, 2022 10:06 PM

I'd kill for a certain vintage bottles in great condition. Fracas. Joy. Certain Rochas and Gres. I'd like a perfect condition vintage bottle of Charlie. There are some 80s scents I'd love to have in unopened bottles stored well. Antaeus, Kouros, Giorgio, Elizabeth Taylor, Diva, Paloma Picasso, several Calvin Kleins, I'd like a perfect bottle of 70s Halston, Grey Flannel, Pierre Cardin. The list in endless.

by Anonymousreply 55June 22, 2022 10:11 PM

R51 - perfumes were altered starting in 2000 with every couple of years stricter restrictions on "allergen" ingredients. Its all bullshit and very discouraging. Some perfumes were also altered because ingredients became too expensive. But the most damage was due to the IFRA restrictions. It's a complex story of art mixing with commerce. Google and dive in.

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by Anonymousreply 56June 22, 2022 10:14 PM

I like Detchema because Rosemary Woodhouse wore it when she ditched the tannis root. It's a big improvement!

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by Anonymousreply 57June 22, 2022 10:47 PM
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