A Journey Down Fragrance Lane

Glamour is synonymous with Hollywood movie stars, but they’re newcomers to the world of perfume, which goes way back. Perfume is thousands of years old.

The use of herbs and flowers to perfume the air was how a love for fragrance began. It was common for people to wear a garland of flowers, to hang fragrant plants indoors, and add aromatic plants to sweet-smelling rushes spread on a floor.

One of the oldest uses of perfumes comes form the burning of incense and aromatic herbs used in religious services, often the aromatic gums, frankincense and myrrh, gathered from trees. And the word “perfume” comes from the Latin per fume, meaning “through smoke”.

The Egyptians were the first to incorporate perfume into their culture followed by the ancient Chinese, Hindus, Arabs, Greeks, and Romans. The Egyptians invented glass, and perfume bottles were one of the first common uses for glass. The earliest use of perfume bottles is Egyptian, dating to around 1000 BC. That’s right, people have been dabbing their earlobes for more than 3000 years.

From the 9th century, high volume trade between Byzantium and Venice brought perfumes into Europe. There was much trade within Arabia, bringing perfumes from Baghdad to Muslim Spain.

Arabian perfume was a highly developed art. With ancient formulas from the Persians, they used ingredients from China, India and Africa, producing perfumes on a large scale. They had been using distillation since before the 9th century.

“Al-Hawi,” a book by Rhazes, who lived back in the 9th or early 10th century, contained a chapter on cosmetics. It was translated into Latin in France in the late 12th century.

That was about the time, 1000 years ago, that musk and floral perfumes were brought to northwest Europe from Arabia, through trade with the Islamic world and with the returning Crusaders. The trading for perfume was also involved in trade for spices and dyes.

So, there’s a lot more than “Ooo la la” to that next whiff of French fragrance! The exotic factor goes back thousands of years, and Hollywood is buying it.

For 240 years, the Anglo-French House of CREED has been the choice of celebrities, royals and connoisseurs of finesse worldwide. It still employs techniques largely abandoned in the perfume industry, and manufactures its own infusions from the finest botanicals and most precious essences the world has to offer.

The new creation from CREED, Love in White, debuted in 2005. It was the first to be released in the US, and among the first to receive a bottle was actress ANGELINA JOLIE because she and the new scent share a link to the United Nations. Sales of CREED’s Love In White in part support the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It’s also the first time a CREED fragrance has ever supported a charity, and actress Angelina Jolie is a UN goodwill ambassador working on refugee issues.

CREED Jasmal was supposedly created just for NATALIE WOOD, and was a preferred scent of lovely Hollywood classic star. Natalie’s warmth and mystery seem to be a match with the fragrance’s notes of Italian and Moroccan Jasmine.

CREED Fleurissimo is a floral fairy tale of tuberose, rose, violets and iris. A thoughtful groom once presented his bride with the beautiful bouquet in an elegant glass bottle. The bride was GRACE KELLY, and late Prince Rainier of Monaco commissioned Creed to develop a fragrance especially for his princess.

The fragrance was also a treasured favorite of art and culture-loving JACEQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS.

In 1954, Hollywood associated with CHANEL quite by accident. Screen goddess MARILYN MONROE was asked what she wore to bed at night and gave the breathy reply, “Just a few drops of No 5.” As an icon of seduction, she popularized the fragrance,

inspiring Chanel’s then advertising director to begin choosing the world’s most stunning actors to keep Chanel No 5 alive in people’s imaginations. ALI MACGRAW and CATHERIN DENEUVE and most recently NICOLE KIDMAN are among beauties chosen.

Today, MADONNA, JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT and GOLDIE HAWN are among pop world icons who also savor the roots of tradition, all sharing a love for the scent Tuberose Indiana by CREED.

In January 1957, GIVENCHY created the fragrance L’Interdit especially for the charming screen star AUDREY HEPBURN, and allowed Hepburn to wear it exclusively for a year before it was released to the public the next December. It was, after all, Hepburn who, at the peak of her fame, convinced producers of the film Sabrina to let her wear the creations of up-and-coming young designer Hubert de Givenchy.

The tradition of Hollywood beauties associated with perfumes continues but, unlike Hepburn, actors of today are generally not the inspiration for the fragrances they endorse, but are chosen for the way they embody the spirit of the scents.

Today, Lord of the Rings fairy princess LIV TYLER is the face of the new Givenchy fragrance, Very Irresistible.

One of the latest to be the face of Calvin Klein’s fresh, new fragrance Eternity Moment, is fresh starlet SCARLETT JOHANSSON.

But do those faces really wear the fragrances they endorse? Ignited by the spontaneous innocence of Marilyn Monroe, successful marketing campaigns have launched a million bottles.

One would guess, yes, the scents have been worn as advertised at least once. But there are fragrances for every season, for day and for night, and today’s celebrities are launching their own.

So what do they wear behind the billboards? Here are some boudoir moments of who ihas worn what.

As they movie stars walk down the red carpet looking gorgeous, they smell gorgeous, too, and it makes common Zents!

In preparation for Oscar night. CHARLIZE THERON, ANGELINA JOLIE, JADA PINKETTT-SMITH, SHARON STONE, and KATIE HOLMES picked out one of the newest on the scene, ZENTS. The fragrances are created completely by hand in the same tradition as in Paris back at the turn of the century.

UMA THURMAN was the first person ever to receive the “Fresh” Zents scent upon its creation.

LAURA DERN loves Fresh. The delicate simplicity of heliotrope, linden blossom, cucumber and green apple are innocent and pure, contrasting with Dern’s other choice from the line, Fig, which is a warm and spicy blend of Himalayan cedarwood, vetiver, balsam, cinnamon, pimento berry — warm, invigorating and sensuous.

Some other fans of the line include JULIA ROBERTS who loves Ore, a deep, spicy and alluring blend of iris, bay laurel, coriander, jasmine, and patchouli. The style is described as sexy, fiery and euphoric.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA uses the Zents Concreta solid balm in her hair, which is the fragrance line in the form of a pomade.

Every year, perfume designers release new creations, and they compete for the attention of the public and the stars that intrigue the world. Some are passing favorites, and some classics still reign.

The tuberose enchantment of Fracas Parfum by Robert Piguet was cherished in the 40s by legendary diva MARLENE DIETRICH, and is cherished today by MADONNA and KIM BASINGER.

CHARLIZE THERON and KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS are both said to love the magnolia, rose, cinnamon, peachy blend that lifts out of the vanilla and sandalwood bottom notes of DOLCE VITA, created by Christian Dior 1996.

And who can dispute some of these choices reflect the qualities of those who waft them?


GWEN STEFANI, OPRAH and CAMERON DIAZ are among celebrity clients who go for the exotic florals, including gardenia, in Monyette Paris. The scent is created using only the purest perfume oils with no alcohol or cologne base, so it’s long lasting and adapts to the wearer. The insouciant CAMERON is also said to like HAPPY by Clinique.

FRESH, FRUITY and CALM! “Pass the perfume, honey!”

SARAH JESSICA PARKER and MATTHEW BRODERICK is a celebrity couple that has both worn BRANDY Parfums. The unisex appeal of this fragrance is fresh and elegant with top notes of apple and peach, and herbaceous heart notes that help reduce stress. Other celebrity wearers of this scent for every season are NATALIE PORTMAN, JUDI DENCH, GOLDIE HAWN and TOBY MCGUIRE.


Today’s Hollywood divas KATE HUDSON and RENEE ZELLWEGER love ANGEL perfume, designed by THIERRY MUGLER in 1993. Pop star BRANDY and poetic princess VANNA BONTA also reportedly are known to wear this winged journey of a perfume that explores essences of honey, chocolate, and caramel and is blended with notes of vanilla, patchouli, and sandalwood. Sounds like these fragrances give perfect wings to these beauties of page and screen.

Much talked-about Hollywood writer VANNA BONTA is faithful to poetic fragrances from France of ANNICK GOUTAL, who came to perfume making after a career as a prize-winning pianist. A Bonta favorite is the aerial Eau du Ciel, a subtle interpretation of innocence in rosewood, violet, Florentine iris and lime blossom. Goutal’s description is “delicate as the shiver of an angel’s wing.”

BONTA indulges her terrestrial favorite signature blossom, the pure white gardenia, with Goutal’s Gardenia Passion, a fragrance famous for its natural and faithful reconstitution of this untamed flower.

NICOLE KIDMAN is also a fan of ANNICK GOUTAL’s Eau du Sud, an invigorating unisex blend of blend of orange, mint, and basil.


Fragrances are, after all, created to meet the demand of moods, rain, sun, day, night, cold, warm, and every occasion.

Sultry amber and incense blends are perfect for winter, warming cold months. VANNA BONTA is a client of the famous Santa Maria Novella apothecary, run by monks, in Florence, Italy, and the Profumi di Firenze. Both lines use fragrance recipes that are hundreds of years old, some originals unchanged since the Renaissance Medici family commissioned them in the 1300s.

Summer brings out the citrus and vanilla-tropics attacks, and COMPTOIR SUD PACIFIQUE is a favorite of many celebrities for its Vanille variations in pineapple, apricot, lime and milk. A refreshing pineapple favorite is ARTISAN Annanas Fizz.

MICHELLE PFEIFFER loves Acqua di Gio, and the fresh marine notes with seaside floral scent reflect the crisp, refreshing charisma of this beautiful star.

Fans of singing diva WHITNEY HOUSTON and Friend’s famous LISA KUDROW are both fans of BULGARI pour Femme.

MIRA SORVINO and THORA BIRCH love Coco by Chanel, and CALISTA FLOCKHART flounces prettily in So de la Renta.


The new Pilar & Lucy fragrance, Tiptoing Through Chambers of the Moon, was a hit with some stars this year, as was The Exact Friction of Stars, not surprisingly a VANNA BONTA pick if only for the name. Reportedly a big vanilla fan, Bonta was a client of the cosmic friction of vanilla, coconut, and orange weaved with the warmth of clove.

And the dirt on SHARON STONE, always on the forefront of invention, is that she loves DEMETER Fragrances, especially Dirt, which is also a supposed favorite of KATE MOSS. In fact, Dirt is one of their most popular, a fresh and clean potting soil scent with the citrus smell of fresh grass. The Demeter library of food, beverage, and nature scents catalogue comfortingly familiar and less oblivious scents of pleasures, such as Russian Leather, Play-Doh, Laundromat, Grass, Thunderstorm, Ocean, Cotton Candy… Ahhh. We could go on.