Beauty confidential: A whiff of nostalgia

A whiff of nostalgia



22:51 GMT, 2 May 2012

New scents launch every year. But it is the old favourites that remain firm favourites. Miss Dior celebrates its 65th birthday this year, while Jo Malone’s Lime, Basil and Mandarin cologne is still a best-seller at 21 years old. Here, we help you choose your classic signature fragrance.


Chanel No. 5, from 59,

No. 5 is still the world’s best-selling perfume, with one bottle sold every 30 seconds.

In 1921, Coco Chanel wanted to create a perfume that would define how she thought women should smell. Perfume designer Ernest Beaux was given the task and, according to legend, on his fifth attempt Coco Chanel approved the scent.

Star backing: Marilyn Monroe famously wore Chanel No 5 perfume

Star backing: Marilyn Monroe famously wore Chanel No 5 perfume

This classic floral contains notes of ylang-ylang and neroli, combined with jasmine, rose, sandalwood and vetiver for a light, fresh feel.

In a 1954 interview, when asked what she wore in bed, Marilyn Monroe provided the ultimate endorsement for the perfume by provocatively responding: ‘Five drops of Chanel No. 5.’

Shalimar by Guerlain, from 37,

The Roaring Twenties saw the launch of Guerlain’s exotic scent — with notes of bergamot, jasmine, iris and rose — which was made fashionable by American silent movie actress Louise Brooks.

The scent has stood the test of time, with a lighter version launched last year called Shalimar Parfum Initial, 37.99 (thefragrance, featuring notes of Italian iris, vanilla and tonka bean.


Vol de Nuit, 198,

Inspired by a poem about a pilot lost during a night-time flight, Guerlain’s dramatic scent was loved by the French-born actress and celebrity Claudette Colbert.

In a gorgeous faceted bottle, it is a spicy yet floral combination of bergamot, lemon, vanilla, orange and violet. Today, this scent is still regarded as one of the most luxurious in the world.

Joy by Jean Patou, from 32.50,

Jean Patou created this fragrance in 1930 after the Wall Street crash. At the time, it used only the most precious and expensive raw ingredients available, earning it title of ‘the costliest fragrance in the world’ — though now, thankfully, it has come down in price.

The name Joy was meant as an escape from the gloom of the Depression. A single ounce of Joy contains 10,600 jasmine flowers and 336 May roses, as well as the distinctive scent of musk.

Miss Dior: Loved by Katharine Hepburn

Miss Dior: Loved by Katharine Hepburn

Miss Dior, from 31.95,

This scent was loved by actress Katharine Hepburn, making it an instant hit when it launched in 1947. Characterised by its citrus top notes and a subtle hint of jasmine, it is very feminine.

In the Forties, over a litre of pure fragrance was sprayed around Christian Dior’s Paris salons to ensure customers left smelling gorgeous.

L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci, from 34.20,

Created in 1948, this scent’s simplicity was revolutionary. It contains no more than 30 ingredients, and is so pure that each flower is almost individually identifiable.

Notes include carnation, gardenia, rose, jasmine, musk, sandalwood and iris root. It’s said that one bottle of L’Air du Temps is sold every five seconds.


Lubin Gin Fizz, 92,

Created in honour of the great beauty of the time, actress Grace Kelly, this chic, sparkling and fresh scent evoked the then fashionable cocktail in the American bars of Paris — the Gin Fizz.

A French composition of jasmine and rose on a bed of precious woods makes a fresh, crisp scent.

Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, from 24,

Estee Lauder’s first fragrance, created in 1953, has sold more than 250 million bottles.

She wanted to create a scent that women could wear every day. With notes of jonquil, lavender, chamomile and bergamot, this fragrance remains a firm favourite.

Y by Yves Saint Laurent: Woody scent

Y by Yves Saint Laurent: Woody scent

Y by Yves Saint Laurent, 73,

The first fragrance by YSL was created in 1964, and has been relaunched by the brand in a collection of five classic scents.

This was the decade the men’s fragrance market was born and, as a result, most women’s scents became more feminine and sweet.

But this is a musky, more woody scent, with notes of bergamot, coriander, iris and patchouli.

Fidji by Guy Laroche, 31.52,

This was created in 1968 and was inspired by its namesake, the South Pacific island. With notes of hyacinth, lemon, rose, violet and carnation, it’s an instantly recognisable summer smell.


Charlie by Revlon, from 4.23,

Named after Revlon creator Charles Revson, this sweet scent, launched in 1973, soon became the world’s best-selling perfume. The ad campaign featured model Naomi Sims, who made history as the first black woman to be featured in a cosmetic campaign.

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, 39.99,

Heavy, sensual and evocative — with a provocative name — its 1977 launch caused a stir when Yves Saint Laurent likened it to the ‘fatal ecstasy’ of falling in love. It remains a popular choice.


Obsession by Calvin Klein, from 39.50,

Launched in 1985, this blend of florals and spices is a powerful scent. The adverts featuring a young, semi-naked Kate Moss made it a worldwide success. With notes of amber, oakmoss, incense and sandalwood, it remains a one-off.

Poison by Christian Dior, from 36.50,

The heady scent was perfect for the era of big shoulder pads, big hair and Dallas. Its notes of coriander, tuberose and opoponax — a type of myrrh — are spicy and unique.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique: The famous corset bottle

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique: The famous corset bottle

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, from 22,

Launched in 1993, this fragrance was almost as famous for its look as its sensuous scent. The ‘corset’ bottle was in keeping with the iconic conical bra Gaultier designed for Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition tour. Four bottles are sold every minute.

Jo Malone Lime, Basil and Mandarin Cologne, 36,

This remains the brand’s top-selling fragrance. It has a fresh note of citrus and peppery basil.


Daisy by Marc Jacobs, from 40,

With its eye-catching bottle, Marc Jacobs brought femininity back into fragrance with this composition of wild strawberry, violet leaves, red grapefruit and jasmine petals.

Be Delicious DKNY, from 29,

Inspired by Donna Karan’s birthplace, New York, this fresh, apple-scented fragrance, launched in 1995, was a hit with the Sex And The City generation.

No 7 Poppy King Rain Drop

Lipstick queen Poppy King unveiled her new collection in London last week — Liptropolis: Volume One of The Lipstick Library (40, SpaceNK).

Originally from Australia, she lives in New York, where she created her latest collection. The set of three lipsticks comes in a box designed to look like a book. Each lipstick is named after a district in New York: Soho, a fashionable red; Central Park, a soft watermelon; and Upper East, an elegant nude.

Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipes

Kleenex’s new range of facial cleansing wipes (2.99 for 24, available at major stockists) and eye make-up remover wipes are perfect when travelling when you want to pack light or if you want to speed up your cleansing routine when removing make-up.

In the Twenties, Kleenex tissues were used to remove cleansing cream or make-up by women looking for a disposable alternative to face cloths.